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Friday, February 28, 2014

Etiquette : Wait, Who Pays the Check?

Etiquette : who pays the check from Coffee invitations to dates on Gift Style Blog Gave That
“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” ― Emily Post

 The more thing change, the more the stay the same... I know, I know how cliché. It's just so true, especially with something curious that's been happening recently. Not long ago there was a wine fueled discussion going on about the mass uncertainty over just who picks up the tab? Things such as, who makes more?, but it's only coffee, and business lunch checks are always split, right? were followed by lots of stories recalling mood killing awkwardness. Then gender started to be tossed in. Ironically this is a question that many coming here have also been grappling with as well. Keep reading because former VOGUE editor Millicent Fenwick gives the surprisingly simple answer...

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Paying The Check: It was rather interesting to find out the grand dames of etiquette pretty much concur that we've gone through who pays eons ago and the reality is, paychecks, degrees, ageism and gender have zero bearing on the answer. Life doesn't come with an instruction manual, but there are books on etiquette, even really old ones, which can be surprisingly just as good. An absolute favorite is the long out of print tome commissioned by VOGUE. Who picks up the check ended up being sprinkled a few places, from the topic of business lunches to birthday bashes. Here's what former editor of VOGUE, Millicent Fenwick and fellow ladies of etiquette agreed on:

The person who extends the invitation, according to Western etiquette, is the one who pays. Insanely cut and dry. Funny enough, Millicent wrote her book in the 1940's yet still felt the need to add rather emphatically, "When a girl does the inviting, she also does the paying. All of it!"

As a guest, offering to pick up taxi fare, leaving the tip, picking up the tab for after dinner cocktails or some other incidental can be a nice gesture but Millicent points out it's really not necessary. What is, she says, is a sincere word of thanks afterwards.

Wait! What if they refuse to let me pay? Millicent covered that too. First she says to remind them that it was you who invited them out and as your guest, it's your treat. If after that they still insist on paying, she says to acquiesce and let them have at the bill.

Etiquette author Sarah Ivens's touches more on this in the video below:


“Whenever two people come together and their behavior affects one another, you have etiquette.”
 ― Emily Post
Find more Millicent Fenwick and gift giving etiquette here.


Image: mam for Gave That

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