I have not been watching too much TV these days, I have watched all the episodes of gossip girl which were so kindly downloaded for me, and have gone through most of the other shows too. But I don’t mind, because I get much entertainment sitting at my spot.
There was a group of guys sitting next to me, they had finished filling their boots when one calls the madam to ask for the bill. She said the price and then this guy calls to his friend and tells him the cost. Charming, he did not even attempt to pay for the drink but I’m sure he drank more than his quota of the tab.
Back in london, when we went to the pub drinks were bought in one of two ways. Either we all contribute some money into the jar, for those that didn’t drink alcohol their contribution would be less (and we knew those people), but for the rest it would be of equal proportion. Once the money finished, then so were we. The second way was we each brought a round. We always knew the one who would pay for the first round when there were lesser people, or would buy a soft drink when it was their round, and we made sure that if that person was around, we wouldn’t slack at leaving at the same time as him so as not to get cheated.
Here, people are quite generous, if someone wants to spread, he will go out and spread, once the bill comes, he pays, no questions asked. Some do it out of being a show off, and others do it because they are just nice people or feel they have the means to do what another person can’t so will do it, but for every one person who is kind to pick up the tab there are about 5 people who will take the piss, and these are not girls, these are your “boys, boys”, they’ll laugh and joke and suck on as many beers as time permits and then when the bill comes they will get up from their seats and head towards the car or the bus (or in some instances take money for transport on top).
A friend of mine came to Ghana for his father’s funeral and a week after the burial he took his in-laws out for a few drinks as he was now in the position to hang out and have a bit of relaxation before heading back home. These two grown men were in a pub in Akosombo with him and it must have been happy hour, buy one get one free. They took 2 beers straight, not the buy one get one free, but the two to get the two free. As if the drinks would short if they didn’t get in fast. At least it was happy hour.
Then there’s my uncle. He is the most gentle person I know, he is not your typical loud Ashanti man and even though he has a lot of cash, he doesn’t flaunt it the way I see some (even those who don’t have do). When he invites me to lunch though, I expect an entourage to follow him. Big grown men with families will leave their office and we would sit at lunch, in front of them a big bowl of fufu and an assortment of meat and fish which looks like an animal farm and they would eat as if their wives don’t feed them. When the bill comes, they will point the waitress to his direction. It seems there is such a thing as a free lunch.
What makes me laugh all the more about the guys at the spot is that if they were to be seated on their own, they would probably drink two shots of Alomo bitters (locally bittered alcohol mixed with some roots and has a bitter taste) or Apeo (the locally brewed very strong alcohol a bit like rum with the power to knock you out cold after a sip). This would be about 50p a shot so 1cedi would make them merry. But knowing someone else will pay, they will go for Guinness or Star beer, the large bottle, maybe 2 or 3 to get them as merry as the local stuff would do. Take them to a place like Rhapsody’s and you’ve had it, they would probably down a bottle of Hennessy at your expense.
Now don’t get me wrong, if you offer to pay for my drink, I would not refuse, but I would not drink extravagantly just because it is not my tab, that kind of greediness is not within me. My Nigerian colleague always used to call me a cheap date as the most he would have to spend on me is 3 cedis, but when I look at some people, those that have the means but are ready to take another persons’ to add to theirs just because, well that just takes the piss.
But this is the world I have chosen to live in, I can get annoyed or I can look on in amusement. Whatever the case, I would say pick your friends wisely, else you might find that your money has short before the end of the month.
The guys are back again, I guess the big man has gone to get some cash, round 2 here they go.