Never in my life did I think my son share/split...the restaurant tab
June 14, 2014 8:59 AM Subscribe
Indians of me-fi: is it commonly accepted etiquette that splitting a restaurant bill with Indian parents is an insult?
posted by ovenmitt to Human Relations (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Mr. Mitt's (Indian) parents have been in town for over a week and last night we experienced, without a doubt, the strangest meltdown ever. (as an FYI: mr. mitt was born in india, but has lived in the US for thirty years, since early childhood)
The four of us were making a long drive back to our house and we decided to stop for dinner. The restaurant we chose ended up being a little pricier than we expected, so instead of burdening them to pay for everything, we recommended that we split the bill. Dinner seemed to go by without issue, but right before we left his mother snatched the itemized bill from the credit card holder, folded it up and put it in her purse. we made no note of it. Then they stopped speaking to us after the meal was over.
Less than ten minutes later we are on the road and his mom started crying. Unsure of what was going on, we asked why she was crying and were bombarded with straight-on hysterics. "We are your parents! Never in my life did I think my son would share/split!" Then she couldn't stop sobbing. We were so confused. We didn't know if they thought we were splitting the relationship, because why would ever think they were upset that we split the bill? We asked for clarification because we were both flabbergasted. His father started repeating ad nauseum that with friends it was okay (to split the bill), but never with parents. His mom then said (what i believe was the most hateful thing she could say at the moment) that he was too American...which is funny b/c everyone in the car is an American citizen, which is all it takes to be American.
So, two questions:
1. is it a well-known, commonly accepted rule that you don't split the bill with Indian parents (who have lived in the states for 30 years)
2. is it a well-known, commonly accepted rule that if you do attempt to split the bill in Indian culture that the oldest male at the table pays? (This is the only research I've been able to pull up on the subject this morning.)
This is the largest of so many snowflakes from this week, and we would be grateful for any insight.