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Out for Lunch

August 8, 2008

To say good bye to a summer intern, our whole group went for lunch today.  It was a nice time, but I still pretty much wish I didn’t go.

First, the personal finance reasons.  They took the total and divided it by the number of people who ate and said we each owed that much.  The difference was pennies, but I think that is a stupid way of doing things on principal.  I’ve gone out with large groups for lunch with work in the past, and everyone got their own separate bills.  My share, $15, was about right with tip, I guess, but only because they screwed up and divided by one extra person.  I was suddenly glad I didn’t order a salad to save money.

Second, apparently, company culture here is different than my last job.  I didn’t realize that everyone would be prepared with cash to pay their share.  Since I assumed I’d get my own slip, I thought I could pay with my card, or at least, they’d put $15 on my card.  Instead I ended up borrowing money.  It is fine, but I felt a little awkward about it.  I was surprised everyone else had cash, even all the young people.  Who uses cash these days???

Last, it took almost 2 hours, when my usual lunch takes less than half an hour.  I knew it would take a long time, but 2 hours?  I had to stay later than I planned, and I also didn’t get my extra hour in.  (I’m trying to build up some hours to minimize the impact of my vacation.)  Did everyone else stay an hour later than they usually do?  I wonder.

Plus, we sat outside, and as time went on, the sun moved and shone on me, making me really really hot in my black top.

I hate work lunches.  I felt I would be an outsider if I didn’t go.  Can’t we just all meet in the conference room and brown bag it?

(I did notice my one coworker, who I think is not so bright when it comes to work, ate lunch first and sat and visited for 2 hours.  Is that tacky?  Or smart?)

13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2008 10:32 am

    I guess I’ve had luck in the past with employers, because when they organize a semi-official outing to either introduce a new employee, or say goodbye they’ve footed the bill. (So none of that stuff to worry about). For birthdays and just random outings though I’ve had the same experiences as you.

    As for the cash….thats happened to me A FEW times. (You’d think I’d learn after the first one) Lately though I’ve gotten into the habit of having cash if we’re going out as a group… just in case they don’t separate the bills. I always feel as though I’m getting looked at strangely when I ask the waitress to “put $15 on this card”. I’d rather ask her to separate my bill so as to eliminate any doubt that I’m trying to pay less than I should (this is probably because its happened to me a few times. Someone says “just put $20 on my card” when they should’ve been paying more. I get stuck paying the balance because I don’t feel like making a big deal over $1 or 2)

    I rarely take my full hour for lunch, therefore I don’t feel guilty staying out 2 hours. Most of the people in the office know I don’t either, so its not a big deal to me. I’ve never checked if other people do the same thing though.

    I’m not sure if what your other co-worker did was tacky…I’d be interested to know what others think, because its not a bad idea, lol! Especially if they’re going to an expensive place, or somewhere the food doesn’t particularly excite you. Although they DID lose an extra hour…

    You have to do these social things every now and then. Otherwise you’ll start being known as the grouch, or the person that thinks they’re too good for the group, hehe.

    Wow, sorry…that was long enough to be a post of its own!

  2. August 8, 2008 10:44 am

    @QL – haha, thanks for the long comment. We bill our time daily, and… I don’t know, it feels wrong to not work 8 hours, yet bill 8 hours. Even though we are salaried, our customer contracts require strict billing.

    I personally thought it was a little weird to come and just sit. He said he was in the habit of bringing a lunch. Well yeah, so am I, but I’ll splurge every now and then (like, once every few months!). It was a $15 lunch, so not too bad. But my opinion may be influenced by my general frustration with working with him. 🙂

  3. August 8, 2008 11:02 am

    Ahhh…I see about the billing. In that case…I don’t know, maybe I would’ve stayed later as well. We’re just plain salaried here.

  4. changejar permalink
    August 8, 2008 11:41 am

    I can sympathize. When I was a college student I worked part-time as a lab assistant for a major engineering firm. We all went out to lunch one day to say good by to an intern, and since I was a poor college student, I purposely ordered as inexpensively as possible. To my surprise, they just divided up the bill evenly. Like you, I had expected separate checks. I was really upset, as my share of the divided bill was about $5 more than my meal. I tried not to make a big deal out of it, but since everyone at the table was a full-time engineer, making $60-$120,000 a year and I was making $11 an hour, working 12 hours a week, I felt it was extremely unfair that I should be expected pay for part of their meals. Also, they were all salaried, so a 2 hour lunch was no big deal, however, I was hourly, so my boss expected me to deduct the extra hour for lunch from my time card. So, not only was I getting docked pay, but also had to eat out when it wasn’t in the budget. I later learned to make up excuses to dodge lunch events at work, simply because I couldn’t afford them!

    Even now that I’m a full-time salaried professional, I really feel that in a large group separate checks should always be requested. I don’t know anyone, including myself that carries more than $20 cash at a given time. I always expect to pay by card. Plus I think that when everyone gets their own receipt, it eliminates the inevitable awkwardness when one person decides to not tip or not put in their fair share and everyone else has to compensate.

  5. August 8, 2008 11:47 am

    I hate it when people want to split the bill evenly between all parties. It’s not fair, especially when we usually order something less expensive to save money!

  6. August 8, 2008 1:20 pm

    Changejar, I agree! Even with my good friends, we never split the bill evenly unless it IS even. Or if I’m out with a friend and mine is more expensive, we’ll split the bill, but then I’ll pay for more of the tip, or all of the tip, however it works out. It’s only fair, after all.

    I also kind of hate work lunches, but suck it up and go because it’s good to get to know your coworkers. It’s one of those things you just do. Especially when superiors are involved. My boss often offers to order in (and frequently volunteers to buy), and everyone is invited to join, whether they brought their lunch or want in on whatever she’s ordering. I really like that option. It’s kind of the best of both worlds.

  7. August 8, 2008 4:19 pm

    Great post. I always, always pay with card, occasionally getting ribbed for it by my co-workers. I remember the good old days when restaurants wouldn’t split the bill between card & cash, so if you wanted to pay with card you had to put the WHOLE bill on your card and take everybody else’s cash.

    Nowadays every restaurant here will split up the bill and accept any combination of cash & cards. Just last week our group went out and of ~20 people, ~18 paid with card. I was so proud; felt kind of sorry for the waiter though.

    In my experience people who do not show up are not really missed, nobody really notices (as long as you are not around during office round up), even really important people like the boss. It’s all about the moment. Honestly I love going out for lunch (in moderation), even if I have to pay for it, it’s better than sitting alone in my office eating noodles.

    BTW, $15 for lunch? Where did you go, some sort of luxury steakhouse?

  8. August 8, 2008 4:25 pm

    First of all, I agree with everyone else and hate when people want to just split the bill across the board. Maybe we who dislike this practice are the ones who order less? I suppose it’d be a great! brilliant! idea if I were, say, the one who ordered appetizer, meal, drinks, dessert, etc. Totally unfair regardless, though.

    Second, I get the guy who brought his own lunch although, personally, I’d never have that discipline.

    OK, and two hours? wow.

  9. August 8, 2008 5:44 pm

    @F B – $15 for stupid california pizza kitchen!!! Not my choice, obviously. 2 hours because people show late, food takes forever, driving time. Ug. SO annoying.

  10. August 12, 2008 4:40 am

    We have weekly “lab lunches” at work where we all go out to a different place. I enjoy them but didn’t have cash at first either. Now I go to the ATM and always get a $20 before we leave. We usually split the bill evenly, so I order accordingly. It adds up, but it is fun to hang with everyone. (Our lab is small and really close)

    And I am hourly, and the lunches take a while (hour minimum, usually 2) (my lunch allotment is 1/2 hour normally) but I talked to my boss and he said I could clock the time as working, so I actually get paid to go to lunch.

    I still spend more than I make, usually, but it helps.

  11. Bonnie permalink
    August 12, 2008 9:39 am

    One other thing to consider: Bosses notice when you don’t make it out to the big team lunches. I don’t go to all of them (my dept has quite a few) because I think 2-hour lunches are ridiculous and also due to the fact that not all of them are paid for by the company. But it’s good to make an appearance when you can. At least at my job, if you skip too many of them, you’re not seen as a team player. Same with happy hours and the like.

  12. August 12, 2008 9:46 am

    @bonnie – agreed. I have a nice variety of bosses, so it is confusing which things to go to. However, we have monthly catered staff meetings right on site. that is a no brainer. 2 hours at CPK? No thanks.

    @Les – Yeah, next time I’ll have all sorts of cash! It is kind of your boss not to make you bill the time. I feel like many people probably just billed 8 hours for the day and left at 5 anyway.


  1. And out for dinner too! « Stacking Pennies

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