This post is sponsored by Serve from American Express. Sign up for Serve and receive $10 credit towards your first use. Comment below until December 31 for your chance to win an extra $100 credit to your account!
I love having dinner with my friends, drinking pink fruity cocktails
and living vicariously through their pursuits as single women in this city full of weird men.
I don’t go out as much as I’d like, mostly because I have two children who would benefit from having their mother around and not prowling every happy hour in Seattle. But when I do go out, I enjoy it immensely. No kids! No daycare drop-off scheduling! No telling little humans that man cannot live on cheese sandwiches alone!
I was given the opportunity to test out Serve from American Express and take out some lovely lady friends to dinner and to examine the most precarious part of a meal–when the bill arrives. Sometimes it feels like a UN negotiation to figure out who pays what and for someone like me who isn’t throwing hundred dollar bills into the air and jumping into that money shower for fun, I hate it when this part causes friction in my friendships.
It can be awkward. One time I split an appetizer with a friend and the waiter charged me more for the plate, as if he had counted how many crab rangoons I had stuffed down my mouth, did he know that I was very hungry? How!? Did everyone in the restaurant hear my jaw unhinge? Was my mugshot behind the hostess counter and the words underneath my picture read: APPETIZER MONGER!
Other times, I’ve paid for the bill when my friends haven’t had cash and have been told by friends that they would pay for dinner the next time. And there’s nothing wrong with this, but it does cause me to remember who paid for the last meal, and how do you bring it up this history without seeming like you have a running tally in your head and are waiting to pounce with a, “NOW IT’S YOUR TURN TO GET THIS!” response. And there are other complications: What if the restaurant cannot split the bill? What if someone has to leave before everyone else and the check hasn’t arrived? So many issues!
So what would happen if I had a meal, split the bill and enjoyed myself because there was a financial platform like Serve to keep my friendships in tact?
We chose an upscale restaurant in West Seattle called Bang Bar, a Thai restaurant and lounge. “Bang” means town in Thai and I was so happy this wasn’t one of my normal family restaurant choices which only offer crayons and paper placemats as entertainment. I had read the menu before we went out and was already elevating over the delicious offerings and that there was no mac and cheese on the menu. Can you tell that I normally dine out with little people who do not have a very sophisticated palate?
I was so glad to be out with some beautiful ladies, talking about how we conduct our lives in this crazy city where men will do nice things for you but not ask you out. Of course, I had to get all the details in a slow recounting because as a mother of two kids, the only dating drama I encounter is my son’s heartbreaking ways in his kindergarten class. We talked about Christmas movies and listed our favorites (Theirs: Love Actually–which I only watched once and maybe I need to watch again because it did nothing for me. My favorite movie: Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Yep, a cartoon! No shame in my game.).
And our conversations of course turned to the food as each beautiful plate was laid before us.
Some of our choices that we shared family-style were Thai fried rice, fried eggplant, crispy mango chicken, chicken panang curry and strawberry vanilla tea. I love the idea of “family-style” when none of my family are present because no one shares with me. Especially my sons who cry out when they see my hand even hover near their plates. Luckily, I had very sweet women who asked how I loved the two-star spice (normally I choose no stars–I know, I’m a wimp) and I loved it. We talked about comedians we loved, how we were going to spend Christmas and why men don’t know that when a woman likes you, it’s okay to make the first move.
Eventually, the night came to an end, the bill arrived and it was split evenly amongst us. But I didn’t have any worry about how I would talk about how we were going to pay for it or who had a nine dollar cocktail versus a glass of water and who should cover the appetizers because she was too busy stuffing her face (spoiler alert: me) because I had a tool in my arsenal that could keep us talking about men and kids and our procrastinated Christmas shopping and no one left thinking, she owes me for this.
After I emerged from my food coma, I logged into my Serve.com account on my computer, entered in my friends’ email addresses along with a short message and the amount they had each paid and it was done. Payment in full. Done! It was harder to choose what to order at dinner than it was to pay my friends back for the meal. I have more trouble figuring out how to add in gratuity without the tip calculator on the phone and counting on my fingers and asking someone around me who looks smart.
Serve is a safe and secure service from American Express that settles up these kind of tabs instantly through email or your mobile device. It eliminates any of the messy layers that come when friends and money mix. No more checks, no more awkward emails with the subject line: “WHERE’S MY MONEY?!”
Visit Serve from your computer to set up an account of your own. You can get $10 just for trying it and if you refer your friends, you can get up to $50. You can make a new friend: money!
Remember to sign up for Serve and receive $10 credit towards your first use.
Comment below and let me know you signed up for Serve within the next 7 days for your chance to win an extra $100 credit to your account! Official sweepstakes rules and regulations may be found by clicking here. Contest ends on 12/31.
I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.