Wednesday, 9 April 2008

A different level in 'going dutch'

“Mei Kok Sik”

That’s how my parents call it, or used to call it. It simply means ‘going dutch’ which translates to… you pay for your own meal. It is a culture of the west, or that’s what I was made to believe. I am sure it is something very common amongst us nowadays. I mean, you don’t expect others to pay for your own meals right?

When I spent 2 months in London not too long ago, there were a few friends who took me out for dinner and were generous enough to pay for my meals. “You’re a guest”… that’s what they told me. Of course, I met up with them more than once in the course of 2 months and certainly, I don’t expect them to pay for me all the time.

Here in Malaysia, when it is time to pay, one of us will usually have to fork out the money first, either by cash or credit card and he/she will claim the relevant amount from the rest… right? It was in a restaurant called “4 Seasons”, one dubbed to have the best duck in the world where I discovered a very unique way of ‘going dutch’.
In London, people don’t usually carry huge amount of cash around. If you carry £50, that is considered a lot of cash and you risk getting mugged. Therefore, most of the Londoners use debit cards and every transaction has to be verified by a PIN. Same goes with credit cards.

After having a nice dinner in “4 seasons”, we asked for the bill and guess what… everyone started throwing their cards to the bill. I was like… errr… who is going to pay first? Well, ya’ know what? In London, you can actually ask the waiter to swipe each individual card for a specific amount so when the bill comes, everyone just dumped their cards on the paying plate and the captain will come to the table with a wireless credit card machine (which is very common) and he will swipe every single card to the amount requested by the card owner.

Yup… apparently, this is a very common practice and there were instances where more than 10 cards were used to pay a bill and the captain will gladly swipe every card with a smile on his face. Coming back to the meal we had, I paid cash and 2 person paid with cards and some decided to pay for someone and so, it was all different amount… and the captain was patiently swiping the cards and smiling at us…

Just imagine doing that here in Malaysia… anyone want to try? Do share with me your experience thereafter.

45 comments:

Jon said...

Well that's normal, though some restaurants do have minimum sending limit per card. As for duck, I do suggest Magic Wok just down the road.

But there is this cultural etiquette I found odd where people would just split the bill equally, even someone ordered something significantly cheaper.

Anyway the most polite way to dine with friends is for each one to pick up the tab in turn.

Klaw said...

Speaking on behalf of a cousin who waits tables in Chinatown NY, if you try to pull this stunt, there will be very unhappy faces, cuz they rather just charge one card to save time.

Sunshine said...

if try in kl, i think the fella will probably show you a long face... :P

day-dreamer said...

This is a nice way to pay. But sadly not in Malaysia.

Johnson Tee said...

yeah when i was there in 2006, my friends and I went to Greek restaurant. Same thing, everyone threw out their cards and ask the owner to split the bill equally.

A good system if you ask me.

Auntie Gina said...

I don't think that happen here in Malaysia. We were already over paying them service tax for lousy service and.. with this arrangement, they probably will flip!

Anonymous said...

same thing in nz!!! they used eftpos card.. is the same card u used to withdraw your money from the bank.

aSstHa said...

as per comments above... i'll bet they'll either pull a really long face or shoot u a dirty look as if u've just said something really bad and foul mouthed... jz wudn't work here in MY...

let's not even go abt splitting the bill.. i was at nichii's the other day and me being the really picky shopper was looking for the ultimate dress for my dinner function... it HAD to be perfect... i think i went into the changing room abt 3-4 times (not my fault ok... there was a min 5pcs clothing rule) and cos i'm an in-between size person i had to take 2 sizes for everything i tried... dem ppl waiting at the tag was giving me n my friend the dirty look like as if we was gonna steal something... (=.=)

i mean if i don't find the right outfit i have every right to try and try again until i do right... n believe me wen i tell u this... it happend to me in BOTH sunway pyramid and the curve's nichii... am never goin there again unless i need another dress... somehow, i think i digressed again but u get my point rite? (>.<)

angeles said...

u go try first la... kena hantam 9-9 i dunno ohh.. :P

iamikel said...

we should try.. then if the waiter/waitress or whoever that serve us show us that 'annoying face', we then complain for bad customer service.. LOL

Rashikaps said...

Sigh! don't think we can try this here.. Not even five cards, leave alone ten. We've asked for separate bills though, especially if it's a big group and some want to leave early.. Makes sense. Going dutch is the fair way to go. :)

suituapui said...

Over here, with my glutton club members, we'll ask for an itemised bill and we'll pay our own...more or less OR we'll take out our hp and divide the total and share equally! No need to be so calculative among friends mah!!! And if someone wants to use his/her card, we'll pay him/her the cash for our individual share.

But indeed, they're so polite and friendly in the UK! I went to buy shoes...and tried every pair that I thought I might like...and in the end, decided not to buy but the shopkeeper was still friendly and smiling and asked to me to come again and what not. Over here, if u've tried a pair and ask for a second one, if looks could kill...you'd be dead!!!

myop101 said...

hehe... i prefer this method...:)

Seaqueen said...

You can only get away with that overseas. No way that's happening in Malaysia. Not even with the best hotel service. They'll probably smile in your face but as they turn and walk away, try capturing their image. You'll probably see a black face man! haahahahah!!!

But who knows, it's worth a try. Maybe Malaysian can start accepting this kind of payment.

Huei said...

try that in KL n u'll be looked down upon! hahahha or being talked bad about amongst the waiter/waitress! they dun even allow u to split the bill if u're paying by cash..unless..u do ur own math, and give them the total amount!

so sad..sometimes u need to spend a minimum amount in order to use cards..thats y when cc companies tell u as long u have 'n' transactions a year..u'll be waived the annual fee..can be any amount..even rm5...but where on earth do u find a place that lets u swipe rm5??

lynnx01 said...

Yes, usually one person would pay first then everyone passing the bill around, add the tax and pay the friend who paid in full. If not enough change, go to the counter and ask for change. Haahha

sharlydia said...

I think if we do this in Malaysia, we will get hammered & beaten up badly! haha... I wont dare to try!

Elizebeth D.L. said...

Wow.. that's new. I mean I don't see it in Canda or U.S. yet (last trip was 1 year ago, dunno about it now).

Good also with the "London" way. No need to carry cash or small change. hehehe.

melbie said...

Malaysia still have a lot to learn when it comes to hospitality .. hehe .. ask for an extra glass of water, the waitress will pull a long face and put the water on a table with a thud .. just imagine the reaction if we were to throw all those cards when paying the bills ... hehhe

littlepolaris said...

You went to 4 seasons too? I've been there, I've been there. Will go again in June lol. But I don't have card for them to swap. The roast duck there very nice hor? ^^

littlepolaris said...

You went to 4 seasons too? I've been there, I've been there. Will go again in June lol. But I don't have card for them to swap. The roast duck there very nice hor? ^^

Jacss said...

what an eye opener to me....haha
doing it here will definitely be returned with curses & grumpy face!!
if u try doing it here, do remember to share....

jam said...

I believe that will be impossible to practise in Malaysia. First, the waiter will give you a fierce look. Then, he or she will just tell you it cannot be done. I have to say the ang moh service is so much better than we can get in any local restaurants.

Clare said...

I can imagine. Here, no smiling captain, the captain here will show you the kind of face longer than a bittergourd because he has to do so much work and gets confused.

CK Tan said...

haha... in msia? dream on. but will be good to try hahaha

zewt said...

Jon - well, not in malaysia... at least not with ppl u dont meet so often... right?

Klaw - but they still do it?

Sunshine - we should try hehehe...

day-dreamer - why not?

Johnson Tee - one day you come back... we try... 2 cards.

Auntie Gina - flip? nice to see eh?

zewt said...

anon @ 9/4 11.57pm - malaysia is seriously lacking behind.

aSstHa - err... try dress... i think that one too much la... hahahaha...

angeles - aiyoo... we all should try and make malaysia accept.

iamikel - hahaha... what if they say... we dont practise this?

Rashikaps - separate bills... means have to swipe separately too right?

suituapui - yeah... in this day and age, such attitude is not acceptable... hehehe...

zewt said...

myop101 - let's try it one day...

seaqueen - me, you and myop101 should all try... hehe... together!

huei - looked down upon... now, that is something new... but you're right. they will think you're so cheap... rm5... starbucks... they will swipe...

lynnx01 - aiyah.... defeat the purpose.

sharlydia - come on... i shall try with your husband, i think he has the guts.

Elizebeth DL - got try in shanghai? hehe

zewt said...

melbie - maybe you have to go to a really nice restaurant and try. maybe in prime... le meridien hehe...

littlepolaris - i think the one in sunrise, seapark... is way much better...

Jacss - we should all go... sit separate table... decide to pay together... and then... hehe...

jam - but 4 seasons is a chinese restaurant... :)

Clare - if he does it... that's good enough. we all try ok?

CK Tan - let us all make it a point... half year resolution hehe...

seokthong said...

The Germans normally going dutch too unless one of the party invited the others. When paying bills, the waiter/waitress will just ask separate the bill or together. So, i guess it's been practised here for quite a long time.

My hubby uses the debit card all the time since it's accepted in almost all shops and all petrol station. I say that this is very convenient and safe :)

seokthong said...

By the way, the duck looks delicious!!!

pavlova said...

yeap, the EFTPOS system overseas is much better.
just pay for whteva your ordered.

the angmohs will look at u funny if u say u want to "belanja" ( or shout) them... ;p
unless its a very special occassion

Bee Ean said...

I think this system does exist in Malaysia. The mamak store in my town does that. We would be around 7-8 people and the waiter would come collect money one by one.

It exists also in US and France. We went to restaurants, sometimes a group of 15 people, and we would write down the name and amount on the receipt. The waiter will swipe the card one by one. In US, if there is a group more than a certain amount of people, it will automatically add 15% of service charge. They can't complaint and give long face since this is supposed to be their job and they are paid tips in return.

I like this system better than one person pays for everyone. These days when I'm back to Malaysia, my family and friends would treat me and I always think it is too much for one person to pay for everyone. Imagine sometimes RM100++ for seafoods. It can become a burden. In France I don't have pressure of who will pay as everyone will automatically divide the bill.

jlshyang said...

That duck that looks so typically from Four Seasons, Bayswater that i don't even have to guess. lol. Yea, they use the card so often that people carry very little cash when they're out. I must remind myself about the non-existence of debit cards in Malaysia when i'm back otherwise i will only have 10 ringgit with me each time i'm out. lol

zewt said...

seokthong - separate bill or together, means you can swipe a few cards... ?

pavlova - hmmm... i think some still expect the boss to pay...

Bee Ean - it does exist, the going dutch part... but not the swiping a few cards. dividing the bill is one thing, getting the waiter to swipe multiple cards is another...

jlsyang - hahahaha... we have a platform, i.e. touch and go, but malaysia just has not reached the right maturity to use it yet.

seokthong said...

Yeah..like what you mentioned in this post. Hehe! They will just bring the machine to the table and swipe the card, you either sign the bill or enter the pin number :)

Jun said...

wow. that's like, individualism to the max :O even in aus they dun do this. thanks for enlightening!

Seaqueen said...

Yes. 3 of us should try. I wonder what the waiters will do. Hehehhe!!

zewt said...

seokthong - malaysia should really consider this.

Jun - introduce it in aussie then! :)

seaqueen - let's do it... seriously.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

FOUR SEASONS DUCK!!!!!

now i knw why when dis ppl come back to m'sia, they start asking restaurants if they can split the bill..surprisingly they were willing to split it into half!..

obviously the rest i paid 1st then claim for the rest..but not after they ask what in the world u doing!

zewt said...

constant craver joe - split into half? you mean swipe twice????

Otto said...

The card has replaced cash, which I think is a much safer option. Ever heard of using a card to pay for your cab ride? I found that one quite cool.

Imagine paying cut throat taxi driver on Sultan Ismail with a card......

zewt said...

otto - well, the notion was about swiping more than 1 card though.....

Anonymous said...

I am definitely a true supporter of going dutch. When i first joined my company, we usually go out for lunch or sometimes dinner in a group, and they tend to split the bill equally among those who attended. Later on, I start hearing things like "his/her dish costs more", "it's not fair for me to pay for his alcohol", etc. Eventually, everyone starts splitting and i no longer see big groups going for lunch, don't even mention dinner. I was thinking, why so 'susah', order whatever you wanna eat/drink and pay for whatever you have taken and pls include the 15% tax. It all boils down to, whether you dare to speak up or not. If you do not agree with something, SPEAK UP! but not at the back! I am sure everything is workable. Maybe you would be labelled as calculative at first, but it's for the benefits of everyone coz ultimately everyone can hang out together-gether again. I have never studied abroad but i still understand this principle. Remember, at end of day, SPEAK UP!

Cheers,
Sugar

zewt said...

anon aka sugar - hahaha... too true. when the group is too big, it can be a pain. when i was in uni, there was this dinner where a few of us purposely chose the cheapest thing on the menu only to have the bill split... what a whammer.