When my sister was shopping at the Prada outlet in Tuscony (Italy) last week, Frank spotted a wallet and asked her if my mother uses this kind of wallet, for he wanted to buy it for her. My sister replied, I don’t know. She’s never ever felt the need to take out her wallet in my presence. I laughed when she told me that. Well, my mother has never felt the need to even bring her handbag whenever she goes out with me, assuming me to pay everything, and to even provide the odd pieces of tissues when needed.
There are some people who are like that, very tight with their wallet and assumes/hopes/expects someone to pay for them, but none more obvious than an ex-colleague I was close to. She would go out during lunch and asked to share yong tow foo because she is a small eater and would not be able to buy the minimum required and promptly forgot to pay. When she travelled to Malaysia for meeting and leisure, which was monthly, she would call the office girls there out for seafood dinner but never once paid. When the girls come down to Singapore and we organised seafood dinners, I would be the one paying, which I didn’t mind, since the M’sian girls and I made a pact that they would pay when I go up and I pay when they come down. So once when the girls were down, I told them that the next time they get asked to go for seafood dinner in KL, none of the were to pay, and I told the married one to stop her husband from paying.
It was the most uncomfortable dinner they had and they chided me for teaching them to do that. After the dinner ended, everyone waited for someone to ask for the bill. One at a time, each got up to go to the toilet and the bill had still not been asked even after all had gone to the loo. Finally, getting the hint, she sheepishly told the Malaysians that she did not have enough ringgits to pay, only credit cards. The seafood restaurants in Malaysia did not accept cards and my friend’s husband ended up paying. When I heard the story, I laughed and laughed. But guess what, that was the last time she asked them out for seafood dinner.
I am blessed that most people around me are a generous lot and bill paying often ends up in fighting for the bill. Sometimes, the meal is paid even before I sit down to order. Many times, I don’t even remember the food, but for the occasion and the camaraderie we had while sharing the food. And that’s how a meal between friends should be.