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Sunday 10 July 2016

Bill please!

Do you have the unusual habit of observing people's behavior at the end of a jolly family/ friendly get-together at a restaurant? I refer to that particular moment when it is time to hail the waiter for the check and compensate the gastronomic fare partaken
Well, I happen to derive perverse pleasure in this peculiar observation!

I have managed to segregate people into six categories based on their distinctive reactions upon sighting the bill. I also hasten to add that one cannot be indefinitely slotted into a particular category, after all human reactions vary according to situations, don’t they?

Okay, let’s begin with the sorting shall we? And do take note that this categorization is not gender specific; it’s just a manner of speaking!

Firstly we have the Me-Me or the large-hearted guys. A brouhaha ensues between this dwindling race of individuals, who get their kicks by way of footing the bill. Typically there will two or more contestants vying for the check in this scene. The contestants may even get a little heated on this issue, especially if the participants of the meal include the boss or the prospective girlfriend. 
While the victor proudly settles the bill, the loser good-naturedly back slaps him, ruing his loss and promising that the next victory would be his! You might not want to miss the loser's rare smug smile masked beneath the defeated look!
It’s beside the point, but still these victors may not always continue to vie for that spotespecially after a verbal beat-down from over-zealous better-halves/girlfriends/mommies. ‘Why did YOU have to? Were YOU the only one that ate? Aren’t YOU the most generous one?’ And a good dose of such reprisals ensure that repeat gestures of magnanimity are curbed!

A sub-category in the Me-Me group includes persons who Me-Me to the fore and then lose ground when they knowingly or unknowingly realize that their wallets/credit cards are stretched! It is the thought that counts, right?
The MIA (missing-in-action) guys with their incredible disappearing act belong to the second category. Rather than muscle about or debate over the bill, these chaps prudently avoid any such exchanges by vanishing from the scene the moment they perceive its arrival.
It is as good a time as any other to check out the wash-room facilities of the set-up, have a puff, attend an emergency call or just disapparate, they decide.
They are convinced followers of the opinion – Escape while you still can. 
Of course, they are not shallow enough to gloat over their escape; instead they’ll sadly remark, ‘Oh, paid already? Missed it! It’s on me next time, promise?’

Next we have the third category - the Waiters! Well, obviously I don't mean the ones serving the food but the guys who like to take their time coughing up the dough, even if they are the ones that initiated the luncheon!
The bill arrives and lies unattended. The server anxiously hovers around anticipating the settlement. But nothing fazes the Waiters! Masters of meaningless chatter, slow and steady wins the race for them. They are thicker-skinned than the MIA's; they do not leave the battle-front, they hang on to their seats and still pull it off! Eventually brawling babies, pestilential kids, grouchy dates and sheer civility kick in to ensure that the tab is picked up by anyone else besides the Waiters! Yes, the game's Waiting, simply Waiting!

The fourth category comprises of all those individuals known as Born Losers! Mark me, when I say they differ from the first Me-Me category! They don’t voluntarily opt to foot the expense but it is just that they are the only ones left behind to handle it…blame it on their slow eating speed or their ingrained loser streak!

And now, we have my favorite bunch, the fifth category – the champions of Fair Play - FP! Yes, it is fair play, I haven’t misspelt, tch, tch...perverts and all!

Google explains, 

This is the group that firmly believes in the ‘Going Dutch’ mantra irrespective of whether they or someone else is hosting the occasion! In fact they might not even proceed with the whole feasting agenda, albeit the issue of going Dutch is agreed upon at or before the onset!
So, while the check is on its way to the table under their watchful eye, they will have surreptitiously counted the heads in participation. Displaying their astonishing computing skills in many cases, and occasionally whipping out their calculators, they will deliver the precise figures that each person needs to cough up. Smart and smooth operators, these are!

Then there are further refinements to this category….the FP gurus of this clan with a sense of fair play bordering towards obsession! 
Just splitting the total bill by the number of heads is child’s play! These born accountants believe that true fair play lies in details.
They will intensely scrutinize the bill, figure out who ate/drank what and how much and prepare a customized break-up of the bill, including the split of the waiter’s tip! Neither infant nor geriatric gets a respite under their regime.  It’s all about fair play ain’t it? No kidding these guys!

In fact, judicious individuals of this clan find it unbearable to conceive that all the expense be inflicted on a single person, treats be damned! The Me-Me guys would find it a struggle to battle against this self-righteous troupe while it would be a God-sent for the Born-loser types! No escape for the Waiter goons, their bluff will be called by the FP guys! But I guess the MIA guys would be the most affected by the FP team in action. A true champion of Fair Play is perseverant, patient and unflinching in his task. You may go MIA but it is a lost cause with the tenacious FP guys on your trail. They will eventually track you, sniff you out and present you with your share in the damages and extract it from you! Talk about amazing zeal, focus and faith in one’s belief!

Lastly, you have the solid, sturdy dependables SSD as the sixth category - good ol' fashioned, chivalrous folk who think paying the bill is a norm, no fuss, no tussles, no me-me'ing here, it's all very clear - big Daddy is here!

Well, these are the six categories I could sort out through my observations. And all this talking about eat-outs and treats is making me a trifle famished!

Do join me on the continuing series titled 'Bill please', with little tales of fiction essaying these six categories of interesting folk!

Have you observed any other categories? Do share your views, would love to hear!

1. Bill Please
2. Bill Please - Boss Play
3. Bill Please - To good ol' times
4. Bill Please - Wait a minute  
5. Bill Please - Nobita does it again!

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