One of the most common social activities for the thirtysomething professional here in
The general agreement when it comes to paying for meals like this is to divide the total evenly amongst the number of people. It seems to work well, I’ve never heard a complaint, even if someone doesn’t drink or eat much, and since it is generally a group around the same professional level, money (or lack thereof) isn’t really an issue because most everyone makes about the same salary. The cost almost always comes to about fifteen euros a person, which is really a bargain considering the sheer amount of food and drink ordered and consumed.
I don’t know exactly how it happens, but every time we put all the money together (after a tense few seconds where everyone wonders if it will be enough) we end up with twenty euros (or more) too much. So every time, we all redo the math to make sure the per person amount is correct (it always is), question if someone didn’t get change if they had a bigger bill, etc., but we come up with nothing. So if someone did get shorted, they don’t speak up. Of course, since I first started noticing this phenomenon, I’ve watched the money collection process very closely – who pays the exact amount, that people get the change they deserve – and there are no errors. So it is perplexing where this extra money comes from, and what to do with it. Sure, we could leave it as a tip, except most tavernas have a 13% or so tip built into their prices, so the general rule there is to leave a couple of euros extra, certainly not twenty. Most attendees regard the extra money as if it is the plague and leave the table, but I assume someone eventually takes it. But where does it come from? Obviously, there is money just walking around all over