real life

The worst people to have dinner with all have one thing in common.

Times are tough.

Australia’s GDP growth is below forecast. The unemployment rate isn’t shrinking. Australia’s AAA credit rating is under threat and the current price of raspberries is ridiculous.

I can understand how this might spook consumer confidence, and it’s infiltrating social situations. People are more thrifty than ever. Consequently, we have a new crisis on our hands, the GFC has caused the DFC – the Dining Financial Crisis.

Today I went to brunch with a man. It was our first date. There will not be a second. Apart from the very real possibility I could engage in better banter with a bunch of broccoli, the guy took economic conservatism to a whole new level.

Read more: The seven worst things that have ever happened on a first date.

Our brunch total came to 43 dollars. When the bill came, my date conceded he had no money on him and did I mind if he paid on card. Of course I didn’t mind. He plucked out an Amex and tossed it on top of the bill. Then he looked at me… confused. Finally he said, “Ummm… I’m only paying for my half.”

Highly embarrassed, I lied saying, “Oh sorry! I thought I’d already put my card on there! My mistake, thanks for reminding me (you colossal wanker)”. To be clear, I do not expect men to pay for all dates. I think whoever asks the person out on the first date should pay. The second party should offer to pay their half, but not really expect to be taken up on it. And if there’s further dates, it should be taken in turn – 50/50.

The currency exchange with this penny stingy chump got me thinking about people who are under the impression they are decent, when in fact, they really aren’t. They are tight arse turnips and I don’t give a flying fiscal if that offends them.

A few examples:

The Drinkers

As someone who rarely drinks, this is a re-occurring battle for me. I sip on soda water, while everyone else is chugging down bottomless bottles of vino, yet the bill is still split evenly. The worst part is, it’s probably only an extra 30 bucks, so I feel like a cheap skate for saying anything. But it’s the principle of the matter. My advice is to call them on it. You’re right. They’re wrong. It won’t stop until you say something, and chances are they’ll be too drunk to remember you being the bar stool book keeper anyway.

The Smoke Bombers

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There is a type 1 and type 2 ‘Smoke Bomber.’ Type 1 is where everyone takes turns getting ‘rounds’ of drinks. When it’s the smoke bombers turn, they’re nowhere to be seen….The type 1’s are also the most likely to be ordering $20 mojitos when everyone else is on the house wine and tap beer. Type 2 ‘Smoke Bombers’ are the diners who disappear just before the bill comes, escaping costs all together. Once is a mistake, twice is a pattern and three times is highway robbery.

The Number Crunchers

If you’re at a group dinner I’m totally cool with the person who pulls out the calculator to divide the bill evenly. However, I’ve been in a couple of situations where simple maths transform into multi layered, full blown theorems that would rattle Einstein. The ‘share plate’ trend isn’t helping. I was once at a group dinner where the person in control of the calculator declared she didn’t eat much so it would be unfair for her to pay the same amount for her small portion of the lamb shoulder. I appreciated her candour, I did not appreciate her conclusion. I felt like saying, “Well you weren’t exactly frugal with the seasonal greens plate. I noticed you drank more mineral water than anyone else and double dipped on the pate, so I reckon you’re about 76 cents in the red sweetheart.” There is no cure for this person, except to never dine with them again. In fact, ceasing all forms of communication isn’t a bad idea.

The Tip Thieves

The Tip Thieves are the worst. Posing as your friend, they brazenly pickpocket you, bereft of any conscience. The bill comes out. Everyone puts their share of money in the middle, usually with a couple of extra bucks for a tip. Then the Tip Thief does the final cash count. Taking tips into account, their fee becomes drastically lower…. Non-existent if you’re with a generous crowd. So there they are. Parading around like economic trailblazers, when in fact they’re nothing more than a fraudulent buffet bandit. These dinner guests should also be given the boot. You can’t be spending your personal time with hard-core crims.


Sadly, there’s only one way to 100% avoid a DFC – to eat alone. Problem is, I like eating. I like people. I like eating with people. So as miffed as I am about these parsimonious pests I’m willing to take my chances because by and large, (most) people are pretty decent.

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Have you encountered any of the people above? Tell us your story in the comments.