Friday, September 5, 2008

#47 Arguing Over the Bill













This needs no explanation. Korean Moms (and Dads) everywhere love to argue over the bill at any gathering. Whether it be a coffee date or an extravagant dinner, rest assured when the bill arrives, all hell will break loose. If you are an outsider witnessing Korean Moms (or Dads) arguing over who pays the bill, it may look like at UFC death match is about to ensue. You are right. In fact, Chuck Liddell has nothing on a Korean Mom who is determined to pay the damn bill. He would run, hide, and cry in the corner rather than face the Korean Mom's all out bill paying wrath and determination. Do not be suprised if your Korean Mom comes away with paper cuts from clutching that flimsy check in her death grip. In fact, those are not paper cuts. They are battle scars. She will wear them proudly because she is gangster. Korean Moms love to argue over the bill because, yes they are generous, but also because everything is a competition...everything; from whose kid has bigger eyes to whose perm cost the least. Here are some words of advice. When a Korean Mom offers to pay for you at the end of a meal, do not, I repeat, do not, readily accept. She is not asking you to accept, she is challenging you to a duel. You must argue with her in a loud voice, and even wave your credit card in the air screaming for the wait staff, until she conceeds or you lose out of sheer humilation. Do not be suprised if she hits you or pushes you in the heat of battle. Just accept the beating...but do not ever hit or push back. If you do; God save you my friend. Actually no, he can't, even God fears stank eye. Be warned, if you do not accept her challenge and let the Korean Mom pay without a throwdown, she will never eat with you again, for you are now deemed 'Jjah'/cheap, and unworthy to dine in her presence.

25 comments:

Julie said...

My parents don't do the shrieking thing anymore...what they do now is full-on reconnaissance and silent terrorism. They will somehow acquire all the financial information of the party they will be eating dinner with (credit report, tax returns, etc.), and through some complicated formula determine whether they will end up paying or if they'll allow the other person to pay.

If it's their turn, they'll pretend to go to the bathroom sometime during the meal, but really sneak their credit card to the hostess. The bill doesn't even get to the table.

ngf said...

"there's no such thing as a free lunch"

psychological warfare: "let's just say you owe me"...oh crap..."one day, though it may never come, i may come to you for a small favor and hope you respond in true friendship"...like get my relative a job at your company, write him/her a letter of recommendation to your alma mater...it's years in the making...

altruistic behaviour is very seldom completely altruistic...

Mrs. Seoul said...

I read your post and couldn't hold in my laughter:)
My (Korean)mother and I used to own a small restaurant and we watched as all of the Korean women would fight it out to the death as to who would pay for the bill.
My mother would just shake her head and then later that week when we'd go out, we'd play the "game" together. I never win, although I do leave with battle scars;)

http://hardkoremom.blogspot.com/

rebecca said...

Haha, it's funny how it's considered bad manners if you just readily accept. You become "ssagaji" or "nunchi upsuh," which in this case the latter is true. It's a game of showing how much consideration and manners you have, not simply because you "want" to do a nice gesture.

Keep them coming! Did you already have an entry on coupons or bargain shopping?

Seoul Brother said...

Actually, Chuck Liddell is an accountant, so I would take his word about the bill. Hell, if that man says that Big & Rich is good country music, I'm with him.

That hoary old chestnut from Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" applies to entering a bare-knuckle-anything-goes match over the bill with a wizened Korean Sith Lord (err... Honorable Mother): "Every battle is won before it is fought." As a sneaky tactic, arrange to give the waiter your credit card on the way to the bathroom.

Elise said...

hahah this is so true. like, ajashis will fight, their black dress socks slipping all over the place. and then if one succeeds then the other will give money to the kid. if you don't accept they'll yell at you. if you do accept, your parents will yell at you.

Anonymous said...

Haha! I love your posts. I'm Indian and my mom is the same way. Haha, perhaps this is an Asian phenomenon.

MBALADY said...

LOL! I stumbled upon this site looking for a recipe for Meeyuk Guk. Hillarious and true.

eejasheek said...

i saw a large gathering at a korean restaurant once and the waitress came by and starting saying "noogah..(who).." then these 3 people started running at here and she put the thing on the table as fast as she could saying "omo-omo-omo!"
awesome.

shri ramesh sadasivam said...

I was looking for a picture which meant comparison in google. I came upon your post about korean mothers compare. very very very interesting, humorous and enjoyable blog. I think I can come here when ever I want to have fun. I read a few of your posts... enjoyed a lot. :)

shri ramesh sadasivam said...

I could feel that this blog is a twisted love letter...even before reading the post where you've admonished about commenting on this blog.... :)

Pajeon Princess said...

I love your blog! I once saw two drunk older guys actually start pushing and shoving eachother to stop the other getting out their wallet and paying. One eventually fell over so the other got to pay!

kwanlau said...

lol...not Korean here (Chinese), but its amazingly similar how our moms are alike!

Anonymous said...

everything on here, so true. what about when you get your first paycheck and being that its tradition to buy your parents a set of undergarments (bban sseuh). only i've had multiple jobs thus according to them requiring multiple gifts. i seriously worked at this place for like a week and a half and they pretty much took my paycheck.

Anonymous said...

i never read your blog at work because i know i'll cause a scene with my laughing. what about your thoughts on free stuff that you'll never use or need and the weird health fads korean moms seem to be experts on?

Anonymous said...

It's been my experience that the check-beatdown only happens between KPs and their friends -- not between KPs and their kids. Oh no. When dining with the children they bore/raised and the check comes, they don't even blink. "I was in labor with you for 72 hours, walked through the snow carrying you on my back to get you medicine, paid for your college tuition while slaving away at the drycleaners for 12 hrs/day. You owe me your life, but I'll settle for this meal for now." Kinda touches on that Jesus thing in #44.

MaryAnn Ashley said...

Hilarious... simply hilarious! I wish my husband could've done his homework using your blog.

Nana said...

Too funny and true!! Lately, I've noticed that they hand the bill to their kids who have good jobs!!

kevo said...

Maybe it's because I'm only part korean... but when my korean mother and I went out to eat dinner and I went to grab the check... she just sat there and smiled. No summoning her infinite post war rage. No grabbing random objects to hit me with. Not even a "YA!"... Just a smile. As if she had been doing this "fighting over the bill" routine for over 25 years as a fakeout; just to condition me so that one day I would pick up the check. I bet she's still laughing about it right now... in her non-fanned room.

By the way.. This blog is awesome!

Connie said...

Ahahaha
And I thought arguing to pay the bill was just a Chinese thing.
This blog ought to be re-titled "Asian Mom"
Awesome.

dianaguay said...

haha, I know it's been probably been said before, but I'm Chinese and my mom is the same way with the bill (when it comes to paying with non-immediate family)

Anonymous said...

Love this topic! My kmil is not as crazy about paying the bill as my chinese parents. In fact, my mil expects us to pay the bill. I do have a funny story to share. One time my aunt was fighting over a bill with my mom. She actually dived across the counter to pay for the bill, since she knew my parents wouldn't dive after her. Even my mom said, "Your aunt is crazy!"

Anonymous said...

I've been laughing, crying, and maybe just a little peeing in the pants over this blog.
On the dad side of the equation, after looking like a Ssagaji in front of my dad too many times, I impressed upon my then-white-boyfriend-now-husband, the importance of picking up the check, especially if he wants any chance in hell of not getting chased out of the house with a extra long shoehorn (korean mmeh-mmeh weapon of choice in our household) when he calls 'acourtin'. So after a lunch, my husband strategically grabbed the check from the waiter's hand, and thinking the battle won, ambled his way to the cashier to pay. My 5'10" dad out sprinted his way to the cash register, hip checked my 6' boyfriend out of the way, and paid the bill.
Things have gotten more devious since that incident.

jeesung said...

My family was in Korea and having dinner with my mom's siblings and their families. At one point my mom looks around and says "Where's your aunt?" I replied "She said she was going to the bathroom." My mom let out this little shriek, jumped up, and ran down the hallway.

It was too late, my aunt had already paid the bill . . .

Anonymous said...

Freaking hilarious!