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  #141  
Old 01.02.2015, 22:33
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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If, on the other hand, there is no credit card surcharge, and one is trying to behave considerately, then one will be cognisant of the externality that paying by credit card imposes on the merchant and other customers, and try to avoid doing so except by accident (ie: accidentally finding oneself short of cash).

To state this a bit more generally: where there is opportunity to impose externalities that would be carried by the merchant and the other customers, it is good behaviour not to deliberately take advantage of this.
Are you seriously saying that we as the consumer should feel a sense of responsibility and obligation towards a business establishment in reducing its payment transaction costs, that it undoubtedly already takes into account in its pricing system?

I am now cognisant of the externality that you are an absolute nut job.
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  #142  
Old 01.02.2015, 23:51
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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Are you seriously saying that we as the consumer should feel a sense of responsibility and obligation towards a business establishment in reducing its payment transaction costs, that it undoubtedly already takes into account in its pricing system?
Many of us cash people aren't too keen on subsidising the credit card brigade to the tune of 3%. If the credit card brigade won't be more considerate about their wasteful behaviour, my prediction is that the rest of us will find a way to price in the extra transaction cost specifically for credit card transactions, rather than share those costs across all customers. The answer to an externality is to find a way to price it in when it becomes significant enough to bother doing so.

The trend for price differentiation around credit cards is clearly already in place, and correlates with the hiking of fees to unreasonable levels by Visa and Mastercard. So I am not going out on a limb by predicting its continuation.

The legal situation in the US has been evolving, and the CC companies can not now contractually restrict merchants from CC surcharges or cash discounts (though the magnitude of the former is bounded by statute and is not legal in all states ...).

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I am now cognisant of the externality that you are an absolute nut job.
Can I offer the following thought experiment? In your mind, allow the transaction cost to vary continuously from 0.1% up to, say, 25%. How do your views on this stuff change as the rate varies? Hopefully somewhat continuously but involving some transitions. Now set the rate to today's real-world rates. Double-check whether your views at that point are the same as before, or whether you've embarked on the journey to becoming a nut-job.

Whatever the outcome, I hope it's an interesting thought experiment.
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  #143  
Old 02.02.2015, 00:14
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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It has just happened to us in our village. It is very annoying as the club had informed the restaurant beforehand that we wanted separate bills. The food and service were excellent, but the head waiter refused to split the bill for us, 17 people and a bill for Fr 640,-- . He claimed he didn't have enough change: we were all furious.

We spent about 15 minutes sorting it all out, and he didn't get much more than a 00.50 tip in total. The annoying thing was we had enjoyed a set meal, everyone was charged Fr 35,-- so it was only the drinks that needed to be split.

We were all muttering under our breath "Not coming here again" but then we would be inconveniencing ourselves. We think next time we will insist on paying for each item as it arrives at the table. That'll learn 'em!
Just say: "Look, we are offering you a method of payment which you are now refusing. We are leaving in 10 minutes, so please feel free to call the police and then explain to them how you refused to accept a perfectly legal and valid method of payment at your restaurant.".

Would love to see how they respond to that.
Generall assessment:
Both business partners have duties.
The seller must provide the service/product as agreed upon or as can reasonably expecte, or as is the custom, etc.
The buyer must pay - in a manner agreed upon, or as is the custom.

The above only works if, additionally, the seller enables the buyer to fulfill his duties - in fact this is an additional seller duty. Generally speaking that's by presenting a bank account number and/or by accepting (immediate) cash payment. For a restaurant that's by (at least) enabling and accepting cash payment as that's the custom around here.

Cash payment that must be accepted consists of any number of in-circulation CHF bank notes with any nominal value. What's more, the seller should(!) accept up to 100 coins.
Währungs- und Zahlungsmittelgesetz WZG (PDF in german)

However, in contradiction to the WZG paragraphs, I suspect a seller probably can refuse to accept a 1000CHF bank note for 20 Rappen chewing gum if he reasons that, one, it's very unusual, and two, he can argue that he won't have enough change left for the remainder of the day. But he may not refuse the 1000CHF bill simply because he doesn't like its color, or because fakes have been identified recently - provide valid reason a particular note is suspected to be fake, or else accept it.

With that said, let's say you're in a restaurant and ask for the tab, multiple times and over a reasonable time span (e.g. quarter hour, which may be subject to circumstance), to no use. That means the waiter/restaurant breaks his duty to enable the guest to fulfill her duty, which in turn means the guest may leave without paying but she must identify herself in writing so the restaurant can snailmail an invoice, lest she commit bilking. It doesn't matter if the personnel is obviously too busy, the restaurant must be organized and staffed in a way that enables swift payment. The restaurant may not invoice for more than the original tab.
(the opinion of a swiss lawyer in a PDF in german, same opinion by the Kassensturz)

I'm extrapolating now:
A restaurant guest can expect the waiter to have enough change on him/her so the customer can pay with bank notes, as defined by the law linked above, this is how restaurant business is done around here - it's custom. Thus I think it's correct to say that by not having enough change the waiter breaks his duty, just as he does by not presenting the tab.

Same goes for individual payment. John need not care if Jack or Joe pay or not. John must be enabled to fulfill his own individual duties so the waiter must accept his individual payment if that's how John wishes to pay.

In all these scenarios I think the guest is allowed to walk away after having identified himself. Of course the guest should make sure it's clear what he owes to prevent follow-on problems.

Last edited by Urs Max; 02.02.2015 at 00:25.
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  #144  
Old 02.02.2015, 07:15
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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Both quotes are nonsensical exaggerations. Just like a Nazi comparison usually is.
The irony of this is delicious.

Perhaps we have Godwin's meta law: "As a [...] discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazi comparisons approaches 1."
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  #145  
Old 02.02.2015, 09:05
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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Many of us cash people aren't too keen on subsidising the credit card brigade to the tune of 3%. If the credit card brigade won't be more considerate about their wasteful behaviour, my prediction is that the rest of us will find a way to price in the extra transaction cost specifically for credit card transactions, rather than share those costs across all customers. The answer to an externality is to find a way to price it in when it becomes significant enough to bother doing so.
Wasteful behaviour? Not carrying always cash around? Restaurants have been using card transactions for years, it is already taken into account in pricing. If a restaurant isn't willing to accept card then they have a sign saying "cash only". In the not too distant future, the vast majority of payments in general will likely be electronic and the less significant ones swiped by your phone. Switzerland is just slower in this area than the rest fof Europe.

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Can I offer the following thought experiment? In your mind, allow the transaction cost to vary continuously from 0.1% up to, say, 25%. How do your views on this stuff change as the rate varies? Hopefully somewhat continuously but involving some transitions. Now set the rate to today's real-world rates. Double-check whether your views at that point are the same as before, or whether you've embarked on the journey to becoming a nut-job.

Whatever the outcome, I hope it's an interesting thought experiment.
No, it's not an interesting thought experiment. In fact, it's about as far from an interesting thought experiment as it is possible to get, simply because you made up this theoretical situation to support your own silly argument.

Lets just agree to disagree.

Last edited by Richdog; 02.02.2015 at 09:17.
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  #146  
Old 03.02.2015, 01:37
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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Just say: "Look, we are offering you a method of payment which you are now refusing. We are leaving in 10 minutes, so please feel free to call the police [...]
I heard on these forums the other day that it was illegal to threaten to call the police. Out of curiosity, does anyone know whether there are also restrictions on inviting someone else to call the police?
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  #147  
Old 03.02.2015, 02:15
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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I predict we'll see less of the "come out in the wash" attitude, and more reflection of the specific payment method in the specific price (probably implemented as cash discounts for psychological reasons), as the Visa / Mastercard duopoly increasingly takes the piss.
I suspect the same cheapskates who aren't happy to pay a few francs more to subsidise their friends are the same ones who are happy to have their credit card use subsidised by other diners.
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  #148  
Old 03.02.2015, 08:44
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

Some of my friends are poorer than me, and I don't want them to feel uncomfortable and stare at me when I order the starter and a second drink.
Unless it's their birthday, we have separate bills, full stop!
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  #149  
Old 03.02.2015, 08:45
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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I heard on these forums the other day that it was illegal to threaten to call the police. Out of curiosity, does anyone know whether there are also restrictions on inviting someone else to call the police?
I'm having dinner with a police person this week, so I will be sure to ask about this exact scenario and let you know.

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I suspect the same cheapskates who aren't happy to pay a few francs more to subsidise their friends are the same ones who are happy to have their credit card use subsidised by other diners.
No-one cares about a "few extra francs" in the context of a large meal. But if the difference is more than 20-50% then it's simply not right.

And yes, I am happy to use credit card and have this use subsidised specifically by armed_neutrality. In fact, I am going to use my credit card five times today just to spite him, muahahahaha...
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  #150  
Old 03.02.2015, 10:18
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

Have you still not paid the bloody bill yet ?
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  #151  
Old 03.02.2015, 10:22
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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Have you still not paid the bloody bill yet ?
Betreibung on its way.
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  #152  
Old 03.02.2015, 15:38
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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Whenever I’m part of a larger group in a restaurant, I take along a piece of paper and draw a plan of the table, and stick-drawings of the people, with their most prominent attributes (long hair, glasses, beard, fluffy pullover) and label the sketches by name. I tell everyone that I would like to pay separately, because I typically order far fewer and less expensive items than the others.

When the waiter arrives, I tell her that I have this sketch because I would like us to pay separately, especially since our consumption is likely to vary considerably from one customer to the next. I ask her whether it would be helpful to her if we wrote our orders next to our pictures. Over many, many years, I have never yet known a waiter not to like this system.

Sometimes I keep the paper and pen and jot down each thing someone orders. No item can go missing, because the waiter and I are cooperating in this system. Other waiters prefer to carry the paper backwards and forwards to and from the kitchen all evening, and write on it themselves. Often, when a waiter brings the food, he or she consults the sketch, and calls out: “Here are the two tomato salads, one for you, Melinda, and one for you, Georg.”

Occasionally, someone in our group keeps a menu, and adds up each person’s bill before the waiter returns. But this is not always necessary. The nice, clear thing is that at any point throughout the evening we’ve always got all the items listed per person (also great in case someone leaves early). It is easy, then, for Jenny to say: “Oh, I’ll pay for Marlene's drinks,” because we can just circle them, with an arrow over to Jenny. In any case, it has never seemed to be a problem to fit that sketch-and-list into whatever billing and cash-register system the restaurant uses.

Roll on the day when this becomes the norm, electronically! But until then, this system has prevented many a headache for me, and for many others, not the least of whom are the restaurant staff.

I’d be very interested to hear comments from those in the restaurant business, about this sketch-and-list way of doing things, and whether it could be improved upon, or perhaps has disadvantages, for the staff, of which I hadn’t thought. Thanks.
That's crazy. All this to save a few francs because you order a bit less? When the bill comes you could just pipe up and say "hey i ordered a bit less" or just live with it. Personally I'd be more than a little freaked out by your system!
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  #153  
Old 03.02.2015, 16:41
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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With that said, let's say you're in a restaurant and ask for the tab, multiple times and over a reasonable time span (e.g. quarter hour, which may be subject to circumstance), to no use. That means the waiter/restaurant breaks his duty to enable the guest to fulfill her duty, which in turn means the guest may leave without paying but she must identify herself in writing so the restaurant can snailmail an invoice, lest she commit bilking. It doesn't matter if the personnel is obviously too busy, the restaurant must be organized and staffed in a way that enables swift payment.
Normally I don't find that it takes long to get a bill, but sometimes it takes a long to hand over the cash for some reason.

If I'm in a hurry, I just put the cash+tip in the wallet thing and then walk out saying goodbye on the way out. I find this much faster than having to wait for payment by card or wait for change.
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  #154  
Old 03.02.2015, 18:53
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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[...] I suspect a seller probably can refuse to accept a 1000CHF bank note for 20 Rappen chewing gum if he reasons that, one, it's very unusual, and two, he can argue that he won't have enough change left for the remainder of the day. But he may not refuse the 1000CHF bill simply because he doesn't like its color, or because fakes have been identified recently - provide valid reason a particular note is suspected to be fake, or else accept it.
[...]
In all these scenarios I think the guest is allowed to walk away after having identified himself. Of course the guest should make sure it's clear what he owes to prevent follow-on problems.
This actually happened to me today after having lunch in a half decent mountain restaurant. Once the waitress had made a scene by flapping it around asking if anyone had the "monnaie", and generally huffing and puffing, declaring that "you have to ask before", I did leave my name and address. We arranged that I'd drop in tomorrow, or leave it with a contact at base camp level.

Later, on a chair lift, it occurred to me that I did have a mastercard in my pocket, so I returned. I was secretly looking forward to joining Richdog's band of credit card ne'er do wells temporarily, so it was a slight disappointment when the waitress declared "now I have the mille", and we settled up.

I have to say the whole experience was more reminiscent of being in the Republic of Toyland than in Switzerland. I thought they didn't make a fuss about this sort of thing?
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  #155  
Old 03.02.2015, 19:36
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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First world problem alert.

I don't know about anyone else, but this drives me absolutely nuts when I go out to a restaurant with a group of six or more and the restaurants insist you all pay together in one single lump. To be clear, it's not receiving a single itemised bill that I am objecting to, it is the fact that many do not allow people to pay separately to the waiting staff based on what they have consumed, like in the way 3Wishes posted below.

While I do of course understand that it is a little extra effort on the restaurants part to spend a total of 10 minutes separating a big bill that we have just spent 2 hours consuming, it inevitably turns into a chaotic mess of people without the right change for their individual costs throwing big notes onto the table and someone owing someone else the change which they will "sort out later". Splitting the bill equally to cut down on the faffing around is simply not always possible if you have people that eat and drink light, or don't drink alcohol... which generally happens in a group of 6 or more people.

What I would be interested to know is what would happen if you insisted on paying separately and refused to give any money until this was done... pretty sure they would change their tune as as far as I know there is no legal basis for forcing people to pay as a whole.

So yeah as I said, I understand its a bit of a pain for the restaurant staff to have to tally it up separately or in couples, but for flips sake, who exactly is the customer and who exactly is paying good money for the bare minimum of service that constitutes the general standard in a Swiss restaurant?

Ahh, that's better.
you can pay any way you desire as soon as it gets payed. If restaurants want you to pay as a group because they are understaffed, that is wrong or they must state this before you even go there.

If you go there and they say they do not allow it, without you having known before, just threaten them you call the police that they do not accept you to pay as individuals and how to proceed.

Ch restaurant drama again, why am I not surprised... I feel ashamed of so many of our CH restaurants as a Swiss...
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  #156  
Old 03.02.2015, 19:57
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Re: Restaurants insisting you pay the bill as a group...

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you can pay any way you desire as soon as it gets payed. If restaurants want you to pay as a group because they are understaffed, that is wrong or they must state this before you even go there.

If you go there and they say they do not allow it, without you having known before, just threaten them you call the police that they do not accept you to pay as individuals and how to proceed.

Ch restaurant drama again, why am I not surprised... I feel ashamed of so many of our CH restaurants as a Swiss...
We had the reverse experience. One of our group collected all the money and was ready to pay and the resto had made out individual checks and insisted each be liquidated separately. Not a problem, just took longer.
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