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Much Less Rewarding Than He Was Hoping

, , , , | Working | September 7, 2021

A few years ago, back when mobile payment apps aren’t around yet, five coworkers and I decide to go out for dinner and drinks one Friday after a pretty brutal week. We go to a restaurant a few blocks away that we all know is good. We like that they have a good system for making tabs for everyone so that you don’t have to figure out the best way to divide the bill at the end.

When we sit down, before the waitress takes our drink order, she asks if it will be on one bill or if we plan to do separate tabs.

Coworker #1: *Immediately* “One tab.”

And he gives his card to the waitress.

The Rest Of Us: “Are you sure?”

Coworker #1: “I don’t mind paying the bill.”

The Rest Of Us: “Thank you!”

We start to order our drinks and food. We are all trying not to buy a lot so as to not cost [Coworker 1] a lot of money, but when he gets a second drink, he insists we all get one, too, and to not worry about the money. We again ask if he is sure and we don’t want to be costing him money, but he says it will be fine.

As the night progresses, we have gotten some appetizers, a good meal and about three or four drinks each when the bill comes. Since there are six of us, the bill [Coworker #1] gets is about $400, with a gratuity included since we are a big party.

The Rest of Us: “Thank you again for the meal!”

Coworker #1: “You’re welcome.”

We start to get up to leave.

Coworker #1: “What are you doing? You owe me for the bill.”

We are all almost drunk at this point and we ask what he is talking about since he said he would buy the meal tonight.

Coworker #1: “I agreed to put the bill on my card, but everyone else still has to pay me for their share.”

We all look at him in disbelief.

Me: “Why did you offer up your card when we all know the restaurant lets you do separate checks, which we were all willing to do?”

Coworker #1: “I offered to put the bill on my card because I wanted the points for the dinner on my card. I’m trying to hit a bonus on my credit card; I figured it would be good because I could put money on my card without actually spending that much.”

[Coworker #2] then stands up and shouts at [Coworker #1].

Coworker #2: “You’re a cheap b*****d! We all kept asking you if you were serious about paying for us, and you kept saying yes! I only have my credit card!”

And then, [Coworker #2] storms out. My other three coworkers all do the same, so it is just [Coworker #1] and me left. I’ve stayed mainly because I am still in shock about how the night has progressed.

Coworker #1: *Looking at me* “Did you think I was paying for everyone, too?”

Me: “Yes. That’s why we were all shocked. You shouldn’t have offered to put it on your card. You should have used your head. You’ve put everyone in a rough spot.”

Coworker #1: “Well, you owe me for your part. It’s [about $60].”

Because I slightly felt bad — and was drunk — I gave [Coworker 1] $25.

Me: “Here. This is all the cash on me.”

Coworker #1: “How dare you spend more money than you had with you?!”

Me: “I planned on using my credit card, like everyone else did.”

I got up and left. [Coworker #1] then texted everyone to bring him the money or a check on Monday and gave everyone’s amount they owed. Some of my coworkers ignored the message, while others had some not-so-kind words for [Coworker #1].

Come Monday, everyone brought in money for [Coworker #1] since he threatened to use his lawyer uncle to sue us in small claims court and we just didn’t want to deal with it. The other five of us had all talked and agreed that it was clear what [Coworker #1] had agreed to and it was unbelievable that he pulled that on us.

He tried acting like everything was okay after we paid, but none of us wanted to talk to him about anything other than work, and we also stopped inviting him to lunch or get drinks. He tried joining us a couple of times but we either ignored him or left. Things got so awkward in the office that [Coworker #1] took a job paying a little less at a rival company and gave us all a rude gesture when he left.

We all talk about how ridiculous it is that, because he wanted maybe $5 in credit card rewards, [Coworker #1] ruined every friendship he had in the office.

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