By Anonymous - 15/01/2011 15:33 - United States
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And what kind of moron are you to think that everyone should do things the same way whatever your culture is does them? Hm? As far as I'm aware, at least in many part of the US and Canada, it's fairly customary to treat the friend whose birthday it is. Especially if its the non-birthday people who arranged the dinner. When I do birthday celebrations at restaurants, everyone pays for themselves (except my boyfriend has usually insisted on paying for me, and I reciprocate on his birthday). But even if that's the norm where I live, which isn't necessarily the case, someone who does it the other way is no less correct. AS LONG AS THERE IS AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE SITUATION. Since OP clearly thought her friends were paying, and her friends either thought she was paying or decided to be dicks and just stick her with the bill (which, given their behaviour, seems the more likely of the two), there was a mistake made.
This FML is a bit weird to me, but that is probably because I'm not from the US. Here when someone has a birthday he organises some kind of celebration (at home or restaurant), pays for the food and receives gifts.
If it's a more "traditional" kind of birthday party, then yes. The birthday person provides the food while the attendees come over and provide the gifts. However, if they're all going out to a restaurant? Chances are that being with friends and them getting the birthday person food is what's assumed to BE the gift, in a way. In that case, they should at least pay their share (paying for the birthday boy/girl would be more polite, but eh). Sticking the entire bill onto the person without telling them beforehand is pretty rude.
Both things happen in the US. If you choose to throw yourself a birthday celebration, then you pay. If your friends invite you out (as happened in this post), then they pay. If a dinner is planned collectively (between the birthday celebrator and his/her friends), then either the friends pay or everyone pays for themselves. If a party is planned collectively, then people bring food or drinks. This is usually the case if you're all broke students. :-)
Yeap, I've been in near fights with mates because it's their birthday and they've insisted on paying for their own drink/meal. Aussies are good like that, shouts all round especially on special occasions. I've had many an expensive night on account of my generosity, eeep! PS to OP: I'd be finding new friends o.O