Fiona Duff: Taking charge of the bill is a calculated risk

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In the lead-up to Christmas Day there seems this irresistible urge for groups of people to get together and eat too much. What with a friend over from Luxemburg, it seemed a good idea for a group of us girls (well females, as not sure at what age one stops being a “girl”) to gather at a restaurant.

We tootled off to Dine with Stuart Muir, which is a bit of a misnomer as he certainly wasn’t sitting at our table.

Unusually for me I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry and when the waitress was taking our orders I asked if I could just have two courses. “It’s £21.50 for three” was the reply and not wanting to miss out on a deal I ordered cheese as well.

Of course all three plates went back to the kitchen as clean as a whistle because the food was absolutely delicious and I do suffer from gluttony.

At the end of all the gluttony the bill arrived. Or rather it was sent back with instructions to remove the ten per cent service charge (how very dare they) and calculator app opened to work out how much each of us had to pay.

Needless to say once the pre-meal cocktails and all the wine was added the alcohol came to lot more than the food. However, I worked out a round figure; cash was chucked about and credit cards produced. Then the manager appeared to say that we were quite a bit short.

I am not sure how this always happens when groups of people meet in a restaurant. I checked my calculations and they were correct. After a bit more rooting around in handbags for extra cash, it was finally sorted although I fear some paid a lot more than others.

I think the moral of this story, if indeed there is one at all, is that everyone should take cash and like having a designated driver when going to a party one invitee should lay off the wine and be in charge of the bill.