Let me start with an anecdote that happened at a meal in a restaurant with a group of friends, where came He ran and no expense was spared. We all took it for granted that the bill was paid quickly. Or rather, almost all of them. When the painful one arrived, one of the diners said a phrase that I will not forget: “I put 15.” The guy, who was teetotal and only drank water, had made the calculations of what he had to pay, and he settled on that figure, lower than the rest. Divisions had to be redone, payments adjusted and several jaws picked up from the floor.

Although it should be a simple procedure, paying the bill when you go in a group can be a complicated, unfair and conflictive affair, especially when alcohol is rampant, which makes the flocks of adults uncontrollable. Arranging a pack in such conditions is heroic. Furthermore, all this noise is taken advantage of by the little rats and rats who always sneak away when it’s time to pay.

Spain is a country of collective revelry and we have been living with the tensions of group disbursement for eons, which is why we have developed different formulas to release the money without drama. They all try to make things easier for us, but from a financial point of view, they are light years away from perfection. I’m not saying it, he says it Javier Ruizhead of Economy of the SER: “In economics there is the figure of the free rider, the one that rides for free on the attraction, and is present in almost all of these payment systems. Because when you pay in half, it is never in half. You put a figure but the average always goes up, there is always someone who joins in without paying,” he says.

On the boat soon

Although it is older than soda, the bottle is still there, undisturbed. Before leaving, all the members of the band contribute the same amount, and the total remains in the hands of a single person, the purest soul of the group, the least likely to reach into the box. He or she will transport the dough in the bag and pay the bill in all the bars, a way to speed up payments and scare away freeloaders: if at the end of the night there is leftover panicle, it is saved for the next party, and then to drink, which is two days.

In the Basque Country and Navarra, short drinks are popular among groups that spend the night from nightclub to nightclub. The boat is a widely used resource. In these circuits, paying separately is torture: if you go to eight taverns, the night can turn into an ordeal. You start dividing the hell out of it and then demanding each drunk’s share.

It is essential that money is not carried like this on the street
It is essential that money is not carried like this on the streetChristian Dubovan (UNSPLASH)

In these wars, the pot solves problems, as long as everyone consumes the same and the treasurer is up to the task; This person is the key and at the same time the only crack that can compromise the mission. It will not be the first or the last time that the depositary of the money showers inside with panther’s milk and ends up losing the money in some latrine. It is essential to do a good job of casting with this figure and opt, as far as possible, for less alcoholic profiles.

night watch

The boat can work, but when it’s time to go out to bars and tapas, the rounds are a way to satisfy many followers in Spain. However, they require a discipline that is incompatible with the intake of distillates. Even determining who pays each round before exiting – something that is never done – there may come a time when everything falls apart, since there will always be some fool who will act amnesiac when it is their turn and sow doubt about who should serve. to walk the VISA. Pitote assured.

For Javier Ruiz, the rounds are leaking everywhere. “It is the system with the most flaws, in my opinion. “Everyone starts soft, everyone finishes strong.” Whoever pays the last one, pays the most expensive round. “Rounds are the worst thing you can do, the pot would be next and, from there, the most interesting alternatives from a financial perspective begin,” he says. Indeed, the rounds are houses of cards. So that they don’t collapse and everyone spends more or less the same, everyone should consume the same amount in each round and this would have to be stipulated before leaving. Because not only do we have to take into account the alcoholic crescendo, but also those who order a beer when it’s their turn to pay, but switch to the gin and tonic in a balloon glass when it’s someone else who pours out the money. Beware of these scavenging birds.

Rounds, a system to debate
Rounds, a system to debateKarolina Grabowska STAFFAGE

Despite their weaknesses, the rounds are successful in many parts of the country, such as La Rioja. The professor and oenophile Gabriel Cereceda is a native of Logroño living in Barcelona who was shocked by the Catalan custom of dividing the bill. “In Logroño it is unthinkable to go in equal parts: the formula we use in the pinchos area is payment by rounds. Each one pays the bill at a different bar, and we decide on the fly,” he says. The Galician writer and journalist Alba Alvarez He states that in his city, Vigo, payment by rounds is common during partying. He notices a big difference with other communities where he has had to go to pachas. “It shocks me, because we are not at all strict with money: if there are four of us and we do three rounds, whoever remains unpaid will already cover the first round the next day, we do not make him pay the proportional part,” he comments.

He adds that at meals there is also usually the “today I pay and another day you invite” or, if someone invites, those who have not paid are responsible for paying for the subsequent cocktails. A leap into the void that is also usually practiced in Asturias or Andalusia, where the free jazz of these payment formulas so given to improvisation. This does not mean that in Asturian, Andalusian or Galician lands the division grid is not used. In Ribadeo, each one pays or seu. Because you know, they are paid through the nose throughout Spain.

“That pacha “nen”

Dividing the bill equally, regardless of what you have consumed, is the most widespread option in Catalonia, where the rounds and the jackpot are almost science fiction. In fact, in Barcelona, ​​restaurants in the category of Marin Grocery They have programs that automatically divide the ticket by the number of diners, so that customers don’t have to fiddle with the iPhone calculator. In my land, the stab is always the same for everyone.

But it is not only in Catalonia that the bill is divided. Javier Ruiz confirms that he has also seen it in Valencia, and although the rounds and the “I’ll pay for this” are common, in the community of Madrid it is also often paid in pachas; I certify it through Carlos Valentí, from the restaurant Vinegar Brothers. “We have a relatively young clientele and 80% of the groups split the bill. In fact, sometimes everyone pays for what they have consumed,” she comments.

The brave one who pays the total and then divides it
The brave one who pays the total and then divides itClay Bank (UNSPLASH)

Paying outright involves two courses of action: someone will have to pay the full amount and then manage to collect from their colleagues, or the waiter will have to chase after customers with a card in hand. Freeloaders love the first option; The hospitality industry does not have much appreciation for the second, as Carlos Valentí points out. “It is uncomfortable and sometimes takes up a lot of time. Diners can have a good time making the divisions, the waiter has to check at the cashier that everything fits and charge each person separately. The ideal for the hospitality industry is for someone to be in charge of paying the entire bill and then settle things between themselves, but we cannot ask the client for that,” he concludes.

Splitting the bill equally might seem like a sensible solution, but it’s also a powerful magnet for vermin. Don’t forget the one who orders rice with lobster and the most expensive cava, or the worm who always goes to the bathroom when he sees the bill approaching in the distance. Carlos Valentí has ​​seen in Hermanos Vinagre true professionals who get up to go to the toilet and take advantage of the trip to ask for the ticket themselves, before vanishing forever in the urinal. Javier Ruiz highlights these toilet escapees: “Looking at it carefully, the most efficient system for your economy is to hide in the bathroom: you never pay,” he comments.

What you paid for what you ate

In the field of partition, one of the most controversial practices takes place: paying only for what you have consumed. Despite the repulsion it causes, from a strictly economic point of view it is the best option for your finances, as Javier Ruiz assures. “I don’t dare to do it, it’s not the best formula to make friends. It’s not neighborly, but it’s good economics: from a financial perspective, the most efficient way, if not the friendliest, is to pay individually. If you have drunk water, you pay for water. And if you have drunk wine, you pay for wine, everyone is responsible for their own thing,” he says.

Although it represents social suicide, there are still people who shamelessly take the account and make highly precise calculations, with decimals and everything, so as not to give up an extra cent. Don’t tell them that the normal thing is that everyone pays the same: they are real kamikazes. If it is blood that runs through your veins, do not fall into this mistake when you go in a group, think of those four extra euros as a necessary investment so that your friends do not hang the sambenito of grab it forever.

The rat on duty at the restaurant
The rat on duty at the restaurantSteve Buisinne (Pixabay)

Also think about those of us on the other side of the spectrum, the crazy ones who, driven by indecipherable forces of nature, search with open hearts for the bill to pay it in full. The antithesis of the toilet mouse. The nightmare of any sane manager. Javier Ruiz is also one of those who fights to push back. “And curiously, it is a war in which I always win. In fact, if I have ever gotten up to go to the bathroom, it was to pay.” Welcome to the club, Javier.

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