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May 29, 2006

Splitting the tab

How groups divide the tab at lunch says a lot about human nature, and even more about them personally.

A couple of months ago, as is our tradition, the members of my fantasy baseball league took the previous year's winner out to lunch. It turned out that several people couldn't be there, but we had two new members who hadn't played last year.

So how did we divide the tab? First, no one had ordered a huge amount more than anyone else, so we split things evenly. Next, we divided the total by the number of people, in this case six. Then, we divided the one-sixth representing the honoree's share by three, representing the number of people at lunch who were in the league last year, and we added a third of the one-sixth to each of those three people's one-sixth share. The two who weren't in the league last year contributed just their one-sixth. It's actually a lot easier than it sounds.

This is the way guys do things.

If you'd like to see the contrast with how a bunch of librarians (almost all women) split the tab, read Miriam's hilarious account here.