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Monday, February 8, 2016

How to Fight for the Bill Against a Chinese Person

If you ever go to a Chinese restaurant for dinner and take a look around, I am positive that you will see at least one table where people are wrestling for the check. This may seem paradoxical since Chinese people are usually pretty frugal (check out the Dishwasher Article) but in Chinese culture, there is one thing that trumps all other Chinese-related behavior. For the Chinese it is all about "face" (面子, pronounced mian zi in mandarin and Meen Ji in Cantonese). Treating for dinner makes you the BMATT (Big Man at the Table) and you are usually showered with thanks and appreciation after the rival part concedes. The fights are especially fierce among parents of children who are dating. Distant relatives or adult acquaintances dining together also have their fair share of check wrestling. Most of the time the battle is between the main "representative" of each group or family, which is usually the father although these duties may be handled by the oldest son/daughter.

So what is the best way to secure the bill? The most common and popular strategy to secure the bill is to grab it from the waiter's/waitresses' hand and then immediately put the check behind your back while fending off the other arms trying to grab for the check. Another more effective strategy is to just approach the cashier and pay for the bill before the dinner ends during one of your "bathroom breaks". For me, I personally like to just sit and watch the action and wait for my chance to shower my appreciation and thanks on the victorious party. Although as I become older and have my own family, I'm sure I will have my share of "end of dinner at a Chinese restaurant" battles.

Good luck to all the people fighting to pay for dinner (what a weird blessing)! May the tips in this article give you the upper hand at your next fight for the bill.

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