Wednesday, August 01, 2007

An interesting idea from the South

Everyone and his mother has had to deal with the problem of how to appropriately split the bill at a restaurant. Some people just divide everything evenly, while others look closely to see if they were charged extra or not for Diet Coke refills. But in the South (at least in South Carolina), they make all these issues moot: they just give each person a separate check. If you split an appetizer, it gets divided. If you got a drink, only you get charged for it. You can figure out exactly how much you owe.

So is this better for everyone? It takes a little bit more time for the waiters to sort out the bill (e.g. having to run 3 credit cards or make change for 2 people), but on the other hand it ends all those nasty arguments and is better at preventing people from shirking their payment responsibilities. Also, it leads to higher tips in general I would guess because people tend to round up on tips, and if 3 people round up, that's better for the waiter. This in turn would lead to slightly higher costs for each customer. But maybe it's worth it? Does anyone else have more considered thoughts? This is just my first impression.


  1. 1 tab per (adult) customer should be the default procedure at every restaurant--in the North or in the South.

    Sadly, Charleston is not representative of all the cities down here in that respect.

    My friend works at a software company that designs POS (point-of-sale, not the other kind) terminals for restaurants and I've been lobbying him to make this change for months ("think of the needless arguing you could eliminate!", etc.).

  2. America's most-published etiquette expert, Marjabelle Young Stewart, has recognized the city since 1995 as the "best-mannered" city in the U.S,[6] a claim lent credibility by the fact that it has the only Livability Court in the country. - Wiki