Once upon a time, back when we were entry-level assistants, we could barely afford to go out, and we relied on the kindness of strangers--be it a generous bartender or flirtatious gent--to help with our bar bill. But now that we’re in a different tax bracket, we’re not so sure it’s worth the effort. If a guy buys you a drink, he’s buying your time—minimum the 30 minutes it will take you to down it. Now—maybe he’s a hot soccer player from Milan or just finished a stint for Doctors Without Borders in Darfur and you welcome the attention. No question that’s ok.
But the other night at BLT Steak when we were sitting at the bar enjoying our filet and side of creamed spinach, a loud obnoxious group of guys in town for a sales convention offered to pick up our tab. We were torn: let them pay and save the money for next week’s pedi and get stuck talking to them all night? Or pick up the tab ourselves? What would you have done?