1. K.

    I have a question: I was laid off my job a while ago. I contacted an owner/vendor I knew well from my previous job via email to find out if he might need a person to fill a position or if he knew someone else who would. He wrote back “Why don’t we meet for lunch to discuss this and I can better find out what you are looking for.” I replied that that sounded great and he suggested a moderately priced establishment half way between the two of us.

    I plan on ordering a small salad and water, but have known vendors to go a little overboard when they assume someone else is paying. My question is (since I am obviously out of a job and not in a very good financial position) I am wondering who is expected to pay for this lunch. Since I am the one benefiting from the meeting, am I responsible to pay? Since he suggested lunch, is he? Do we each pay our own ways?

    • Jerry

      This is a case where realpolitik controls. It is this vendor’s interpretation of the rules, not the rules themselves, that are most important. Preserving the relationship is most important.

      If you can possibly afford it (i.e., only unless paying for lunch will cause you to miss your mortgage payment), you reach for the check when it comes since you need him a lot more than he needs you. Now he may offer to pick up the tab, and you can certainly let him.

  2. Jody

    Did you have a history with this vendor where you or he consistenly paid for meals? If so, I’d assume this lunch would follow the same pattern. Otherwise I’d assume that each of you pays your own way. He invited you but you’re benefitting from his advice so you’re both coming out ahead. Still, I’d have enough cash (or a credit card) handy in case the vendor makes no move to pay his half of the bill.

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