Voucher Etiquette Among Friends

We’ve all been there. We’ve bought a voucher to a delightful dining destination(and if you haven’t, here’s your chance: $15 for $30 at OSushi, get on it, now, here) and brought some friends. That’s the point, right? To try a new hot spot or find a reason to hit your tried and true favorite shabby/chic hole-in-the-wall once again. Well, things often get dicey when it’s time to pay the bill.

I’m not talking about the staff at the establishment in question; we’re proud to say our merchants are nearly always gracious acceptors of CoupMes– they sign a contract saying they’ll be nice to you guys! I’m thinking of the friends, significant others, or Aunt Susan that you’ve brought along with. When it comes down to it, and you throw in your $8 for $16 voucher, or the like, what happens next?

Take, for example, a recent dining experience I had at a German restaurant. I bought two vouchers, which we could use since our party was over 4 people, and contributed them. They were actually two “$9 for $20” vouchers, so I saved $40 off our bill. The total came out to $105– this was our cost minus the voucher value, plus a 20% tip we added on to the original bill amount. So, this works out to $21 per person. I had technically paid only $16 for the vouchers, so I was asked to throw in $3. Fair? I guess. Sort of annoying? Also, yes. Mostly, the annoyance was how complicated I made calculating our bill…but at the end of the day, erm, meal, I was more frustrated that on principal, I’d had the foresight to purchase these vouchers and bring these people here, and I was being asked to cough up more cash?!

I threw in the money, but I clearly didn’t let the issue go– this was a night out in October, and the ethical splitting of a tab plus group-buying voucher is still on my mind. So, what to do? Here are some thoughts:

1)If you’re feeling extra miserly (and I’ll admit, sometimes I am!), split the  voucher cost with your posse. This worked out easily when I brought my roommate to Bull McCabe with a CoupMe a couple weekends ago, and since I paid $12, I asked him to throw in $6 before we split the bill. Seemed fair.

2)If you’re feeling generous, use your voucher as an excuse to splurge! Not recommended for dinner at the Four Seasons for ten, but I gave this method a shot when I bought enough CoupMes to Limelight Karaoke. A mere $54 got 4 of us 2 hours of belting out our favorite guilty pleasure tunes, and a coupla shots of sake. They were stoked, and I didn’t mind!

3) Eat alone. Really!  Treat yourself to a “me” date sometimes, not because you want to avoid financial discussions with friends, but because you’d like to spend some time with yourself. Or, if your voucher allows takeout, go nuts and order a ton of food for just you. Hey, you bought that voucher, you’ve earned it!

I really don’t mean to sound like dining with friends and CoupMes need to be mutually exclusive to work. Take method 4…

4) I scratch your back, you scratch mine. Use your CoupMe to Hana sushi for your dinner date tonight, then the next time you go out, make your guy relinquish his voucher for the Baseball Tavern to treat you! Group buying’s all about getting out and trying lots of new places on the cheap, so have fun with the whole shabang!

Any other funny stories about using your CoupMes? Ever tried to use one on a first date? We’d love to hear more…

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