to pay or not to pay

Want to live happily ever after (and keep your job) dining with bosses, clients, coworkers, family and friends? Learn how to wrestle for the check!

If you’ve been in China long enough, say ten dinners or more, chances are that you’ve caught a glimpse of the special wrestling ritual between locals and foreigners alike. The ritual begins when someone at the table calls for the check by shouting mǎi dān! 买单! (lit. buy list), the phrase which strikes fear into the hearts of cheap bastards everywhere. No matter whether you’re genetically predisposed to wrestling, feeling tempted jump into the fray, or just flat out confused by this strange ritual, we’re here to help.

Momentum escalates when the check arrives. The wrestling can get rough, with one-upmanship, even life threats, and at some point, if the restaurant server does not comply with their demands, the wrestlers may turn on the annoyingly neutral server, threatening to slice him to death with their imaginary credit card blades unless he makes the right choice, which at this point, does not exist. (note to servers: drop the check and run; do not attempt the “and the winner is” announcement!) The game is mental and physical brinksmanship, with fluid rules and spontaneous displays of hutzpah, which anthropologists have identified as rather similar to the mating rituals of certain species of wildebeest.

When you’re not expected to pay the bill

Let’s warm up with the basics. You get to enjoy a free meal when:

  • Visiting someone in his/her home city, country or territory.
  • Responding to a clear “let me buy you a dinner” invitation.
  • Attending a “thank you” dinner you’re happy to accept.
  • Tagging along as a guest of the main company/family group.
  • Recognizing you’re among the junior participants (enjoy while it lasts).

Piece of cake, right? The game becomes trickier, however, when the hidden agendas begin to surface.

The Art of Relationship Building

Chinese people highly value relationships. Buying someone a meal is often the first step towards a closer connection and greater levels of trust. Asking others to a meal can backfire and destroy a good relationship, if not handled with care. For example, “going Dutch” or splitting the bill “AA制” read “A.A. zhì” (lit. Algebraic Average System) is frowned upon, unless you’re with really close friends, as it’s perceived as being too calculating or insincere. In most cases, you’ll recognize who is likely to foot the bill, especially if you’ve been applying our Chinese Dinner Etiquette – 4 Key Insights for Foreign Guests recommendations.

To be clear, you are expected to grab the bill when:

  • Asking someone for a favor.
  • Trying to get in someone’s good graces.
  • Extending a sincere thank you, apology, etc.
  • You’ve already hinted you have something big to celebrate.
  • You’re by far the most senior level person at the table.

If none of those situations apply, you encounter the “to pay or not to pay” dilemma. If you decide to pay and others protest, then you should insist harder and give a reason why. For example, you might say “I just got a pay rise, let me treat you tonight” or “Please allow me the honor” or “I just won the lottery.” Keep in mind the value of Face, the final frontier.

To side step the dance altogether, you can excuse yourself to “go to the restroom” so that you can settle the bill without anyone noticing. If you are on the other end of the dance, you still have your role to play. Reach for your wallet and insist several times that you get the bill. Before giving in say “I’ll get the next one,” which is in line with another thing Chinese people value – lǐ shàng wǎng lái 礼尚往来 meaning “courtesy demands reciprocity.”

Here’s what you need to know in a handy chart:

(guaranteed win)
Avoid the wrestling ritual by sneaking out near the end of the meal and paying the bill. If needed, use excuses such as “I’m going to the restroom” or “I’m making a call in the hallway” to not tip off your intention.
(you want to win)
Call for the check. Grab it fast. Refuse to take a second look at the detail. Insist on paying by saying “Let me have the privilege” or “It’s all on me today” or “Touch this check and there will be serious trouble.” Look angry if anyone wants to wrestle or give you money.
(you want to win, but don’t mind losing)
Let’s get ready to rumble! Call for the check. Let server put the check on the table. Search for your credit card while double checking the breakdowns. Others will try to jump in. Let them see the amount on the bill. Push their offers away. Say something like “Let me take this cheap one and you buy me a fancier dinner later.”
(wrestling as a courtesy)
Wait for someone else to call for the check. Reach for your wallet in the wrong pocket. Not too fast, but don’t delay either. Offer to pay without insisting too much. You might still end up paying, so assess the risk and use discretion.
(you definitely don’t want it)
When the check is about to arrive, go to the restroom. If stuck there, you can’t find your wallet. Maybe it’s in the car. Or take out your credit card in a cash-only place, to stick it to the guy who never pays.

The possibilities are endless, so use your creativity and go for that Oscar winning wrestling performance. The others at your table will appreciate it.

family – the chainsmokers & kygo

[Verse 1]
I know water that’s thicker than blood
That’s deeper than love with my friends
People come and some people go
And some people ride ’til the end

When I am blind, in my mind
I swear they’d be my rescue, my lifeline
I don’t know what I’d do if I, if I’d survive
My brothers and my sisters in my life, yeah

I know some people, they would die for me
We run together, they’re my family
When I get up, they gon’ be high with me
I’ll stay forever, my family

I’ll stay forever, my family
I’ll stay forever, my family

[Verse 2]
Stolen dreams took our, our childish days
Still, ain’t nothin’ changed, now we’re grown
We’re still young, still got our mindless ways
In a timeless phase, kickin’ stones

When I am blind, in my mind
I swear they’d be my rescue, my lifeline
I don’t know what I’d do if I, if I’d survive
My brothers and my sisters in my life, yeah

I know some people, they would die for me (Die for me)
We run together, they’re my family
When I get up, they gon’ be high with me (Gon’ be high with me, yeah)
I’ll stay forever, my family

I’ll stay forever, my family
I’ll stay forever, my family

I know some people, they would die for me (Die for me)
We run together, they’re my family
When I get up, they gon’ be high with me (Gon’ be high with me, yeah)
I’ll stay forever, my family

Written By McClenney, Kygo, Jorgen Odegard, Gradon Jay Lee, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Taggart & Alex Pall
Background Vocals Andrew Jackson
Guitar Gradon Jay Lee
Vocals Andrew Taggart
Mastering Engineer Michelle Mancini
Mixing Engineer Jordan Stilwell
Primary Artists The Chainsmokers & Kygo
Release Date December 6, 2019

“Family” is a collaboration between American electronic music duo The Chainsmokers and Norwegian DJ and producer Kygo.

The song, which predominantly features The Chainsmokers’ Drew Taggart on vocals and production from Kygo, explores the connection between friends and family, with the singer arguing that friendships can become as significant and important as those with blood relatives.


Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (French pronunciation: ​[paʁi sɛ̃ ʒɛʁmɛ̃]), commonly referred to as Paris Saint-Germain, Paris SG, or simply Paris or PSG, is a French professional football club based in Paris. Founded in 1970, the club has traditionally worn red and blue kits. PSG has played their home matches in the 47,929-capacity Parc des Princes in the 16th arrondissement of Paris since 1974.[1][2] The club plays in the highest tier of French football, Ligue 1.[3]

The Parisian club established itself as a major force in France, and one of the major forces of European football in the 2010s. PSG have won a total of 40 titles, 39 of them considered major trophies, making it the most successful French club in history by this measure.[3][4] Paris SG is also the only club to have never been relegated from Ligue 1,[5] the club with most consecutive seasons in the top-flight (they have played 45 seasons in Ligue 1 since 1974),[6] one of only two French clubs to have won a major European title,[7] the most popular football club in France,[8] and one of the most widely supported teams in the world.[9]

Domestically, the Parisians have won eight Ligue 1 titles, a record twelve Coupe de France, a record eight Coupe de la Ligue, and a record nine Trophée des Champions titles. In European football, they have won one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and one UEFA Intertoto Cup. The capital club has also won one Ligue 2, regarded as a minor official title.[4] PSG have a long-standing rivalry with Olympique de Marseille. The duo contest French football’s most notorious match, known as Le Classique.[10]

The State of Qatar, through its shareholding organisation Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), has been the club’s owner since 2011.[11] The takeover made Paris Saint-Germain the richest club in France and one of the wealthiest in the world.[12] As of the 2017–18 season, PSG have the sixth-highest revenue in the footballing world with an annual turnover of €542m according to Deloitte, and are the world’s eleventh most valuable football club, worth €825m according to Forbes.[13][14]


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