CheapPosted: November 4, 2011
I’m not looking for a sugar daddy or a man to support me in any financial way (although I am accepting presents and if you want to pay off my college loans I won’t stop you).
Thrifty is one thing, cheap is another. I love a deal. I’m a total bargain hunter. $2 tacos, happy hours, second hand stores, Living Social, are all things I can get down with. Cheap men are not.
I went on a date last night with James. He chose a bar in the West Village, a bar that he found using Yelp. James has lived in the city for close to ten years so it seemed a little odd that he needed to use Yelp to find a bar but I decided to consider it thoughtful that he was doing some research.
Cocktails were around $14, that’s definitely expensive but in New York it’s not uncommon. Being that James looked up the establishment online I assumed he had a good idea of how much the drinks cost.
Throughout our conversation James brought up more than once that he often eats cereal for dinner. He’s eight years out of college; I should have read this as a warning sign. When the check came the bill was $29. He looked at like it was a speeding ticket and our waitress (who had been incredibly friendly and accommodating) like she was the offending officer.
When I offered to pay for my drink his voice shifted into a deep macho tone and he insisted on paying. He handed the waitress two twenties. She came back with two fives and a one, $11. James made a snide laugh when he saw the change, “Look, look what this waitress is trying to tell me.”
I looked at the money, failing to see any cryptic message. “She brought back two fives and a one because she’s saying the tip should be five dollars. No way,” he said grabbing the two fives and leaving our poor waitress a one dollar tip.
I’ve worked in the service industry for too long to stand for such shitty behavior. I might be a little jaded, I cocktail at a nightclub where bottles of alcohol are wildly expensive and tip is automatically included. Servers don’t make a salary; tips are how they pay their bills. $1 can’t even buy you a pack of gum in the city.
I gave him a disapproving look as I reached for my wallet to put my own money in. “It’s cool, let me pay for my drink,” I insisted.
“No,” he said defensively, “tell me what you would do.”
“Drop the cash,” I instructed. Then I snatched the one and the five up and handed it back to him, leaving five dollars on the table. “That’s 20%, this is New York, that’s what you do.”
“But then the waitress’ plan worked,” he said like a child defeated in a game.
“I’m pretty sure there was no plan on her part. She was just doing her job,” I said.
Needless to say, it was an awkward end to the date. Knowing how much Granny hates a tightwad, I thought she’d be more on board with me when I told her about the interaction.
Over the summer she called me to complain about a cheap date. First he didn’t want to pick her up because of the price of gas. Then he wanted her to meet him at quarter to six so they could make the early bird special (Granny is definitely not an early bird kind of bird). At dinner when she ordered a second glass of wine he asked her, “Are you sure?”
“I’m positive,” she said. Then never went out with him again.
She agreed I shouldn’t see James again but told me, “Don’t criticize kid, no one likes to be criticized. He’d get the message just as easily if ya never went out with him again.”
Urgh, I guess she’s right. I didn’t mean to be rude, I just thought for the better good of every server in the city that James comes across on Yelp, he needed someone to break it down for him. Hopefully we both learned our lesson.