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Dear Webby


Dear Webby,

We are entertaining people for dinner in a restaurant next month. My husband wants to use some coupons we got from one of those books. I think it might look tacky.

We both agreed to abide by your recommendation. What do you think?

Signed: The Entertainers


Dear Entertainers,

Thank you for your confidence. Webby can see this one both ways. There are more questions than answers and therefore I will give you some pros and cons. Then you're on your own.

Your husband's idea has its good points. It is not costing your guests anything no matter how you pay. However, if there is any commotion about it when the check arrives it could cause uneasiness at the table.

If you use the coupons check first and make sure how many you can use at one time and what restrictions may apply. You didn't mention how many people are going to be there. Is there any way you can pay away from the table without the guests being aware of how you paid?

Are you choosing the restaurant because of the coupons or would you be going there anyway? Can you afford to pay the whole amount or would you have to choose a less expensive restaurant?

If money is a problem be aware of all that is on the menu (lobster perhaps?) so as not to be embarrassed.

Don't forget the drinks (beer, martinis, etc.) They can make the food bill seem minor. I can hear all the waitresses saying "remember you tip on the whole bill" not just on the discounted part.

Are your guests business associates? Are you trying to impress them, or win a promotion? Are they old, or close friends you want to take out for a good time?

Are they family? How have they, or have they entertained you in the past? Your decision may rest on what the purpose for the dinner is.

If Webby was entertaining for business she would shy away from the coupons unless it was established ahead of time with the restaurant to do it discreetly. Make sure the people working that evening are on the same page.

I almost wish I hadn't said that because normally Webby would just ask 'what's the difference?' and 'whose business is it anyway?' However some may not agree and if you are trying to impress, don't take chances.

If they are old buddies, neighbors, family or peers then go for it. You can even make a joke about it and may be making it easier for them to host next time.

Whichever you decide, Webby likes her steaks medium and her beer cold and could care less how you pay for it - as long as "you" do.

Bottoms up,

Webby

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