We went to the Olive Garden yesterday and our breadstick-fueled trip to Italy was ruined. Let’s take a moment and rethink what just happened.
It was, for the meal, everything eating at Olive Garden ought to be- glorious as fudge. But then things changed.
It was time to pay and things got weird. While you had zero opposition to instagramming #breadstickpalooza, suddenly, your iPhone was no where to be found. Suddenly, the extra mariana sauce and your dying appetite for stuffed Sicilian sausage is too much to be processed. You are now pouty. Frustrated. Lips pursed like the chef slipped in a sour power straw into your spaghetti. Dollars. Cents. Tax. Tip. It’s all too much!
Suddenly, it hits you. “We’re just going to split the check.”
Oh, really? Split the check?
Explain why that made sense to you. We did not all eat the same amount of food. You wanted red wine. I wanted orange soda. I didn’t judge your beverage choices. You didn’t judge mine. The Olive Garden, however, does. It prices your glass at 7 dollars. I prices mine at 2.
Why then am I subsidizing your drink?
If you see Halley’s Comet chillin’ behind your apartment drinking a margarita like a celestial badass, then, and only then, should you feel comfortable considering the probability for splitting the check. Here’s how. Tell your waiter your groups want to possibly split the check. Instruct everyone in your party to close their eyes and raise a breadstick if they agree to splitting the check. The waiter will then let everyone know if it was unanimous. If yes, feel free. When you return home, you can take satisfaction knowing that, in one day, you’ve seen two unbelievable things: one of the rarest astrological occurrences and the ever rarer split check that didn’t let someone use that breadstick for some ungodly reason.
Listen. Nobody likes to talk about money. If only we were somewhere check-friendly. Individual checks for individual people. That’d solve everything. Still, the only thing worse than talking about money is losing money. When you split the check I lose money. That doesn’t work.
Besides. You knew you were going out with a writer. If you were hoping to inspire me by ensuring my lack of money thus leading me to wonder why I’m always broke and feast on Ramen all week, simply by splitting the check, congrats. You’ve succeeded. But be assured. I have all the material I need without you catching situation amnesia the second the check arrives. I’m a sucky boyfriend. I’m a Millennial. I’ve been abandoned by the Baptist church, my parents, New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey and NBC executives who canceled Parks and Recreation. I’m hurting. I’ve a lot to process spiritually and emotionally. When I need some sort of emotional trigger, I’ll ask you to dinner.
Until then though, do the math. Don’t choose to inconvenience your dinner partners by your unwillingness to do simple arithmetic. Bring an abacus.