Picture the scene, if you will.
You and a group of friends agree you will go out to dinner somewhere nice – let’s assume it’s to celebrate something. There are 27 of you in total.
In advance, you agree that because the bill will fairly hefty you’ll split it equally between all 27.
The big night arrives and you all meet at the restaurant, where everyone has an aperitif of the same value. Everyone has a starter course and a main course and all are roughly equal in value.
So far so good.
But then some of your group decide they want dessert and coffee, possibly dessert wine or a liqueur too. This causes concern and the group begins to fragment. There are 17 people who want the extra food and drink, 10 who don’t.
Of the 10 who don’t, some are now saying they are concerned that if the dinner doesn’t end soon they’ll miss the last train home. Others are refusing to put in an equal share of the bill – as previously agreed – because they haven’t had the extra food and drink.
So, what to do…?
Those who want to catch the last train home have two basic choices – leave now while some of their friends are finishing their dessert course and catch the train, or stay and find an alternative method of transport. They probably can’t impose their will on the others and deny them their crème brulee though. But nor should they stay and feel resentful.
The division of the bill is a tricky one too. You may well feel that by being asked to pay an equal sum but having consumed less, you are subsidising those of your friends who ate and drank more. But by reneging on the prior arrangement you risk being seen as mean. You may not get invited out again.
In the end one person refuses to pay an equal amount and leaves early in order to get the train, while everyone else stays behind.
Next time the group plans to go out together it is decided that despite the previous spat there’s no reason to exclude the grumpy and impatient friend. But no one is going to feel well disposed if that person starts out saying they won’t put in an equal amount this time, yet still wants to have an equal say in where to go and what to eat.
I think we all know how we’d feel about that one person.
And I don’t think we’d call it bulldog spirit.