How to pay for dinner

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A US woman living in Melbourne has taken to TikTok begging for help when it comes to paying for the bill in Australia.

The expat, known as Emily Poklar on the social media platform, has been living in the country since December after she moved from Wisconsin with her boyfriend after he got a job as a professor at a university in Melbourne.

But despite having lived in the city for a month before sharing her video, she said she’s “still very confused” when it comes to Australian restaurant etiquette.

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“OK, I just went to a lovely dinner tonight, had a great time, ate some good food, had some wine, all the good things,” Emily began her TikTok video.

“However, in terms of paying, (I’m) very confused still whether it’s at your table, or do you go up to the little computer screen at the exit?” she asked her followers.

Emily said from her experience it perhaps comes down to the time of day and whether a restaurant is busy or not.

“It seems like during lunch times or slow times no one is really around you always go up to the computer, but then maybe dinner you always have it paid (and) brought to you?

“So just let me know because I hate looking like I am inconveniencing everyone.”

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Emily’s post has since attracted hundreds of ‘likes’ and comments from Aussies informing her it actually depends on which state you live in.

“Welcome to melb 🙂 lots of restaurants you pay at (the) table, so I try that first, rather than do a walk of shame back to the table,” one woman told her.

“NSW 90 per cent of restaurant you pay at the counter unless its (sic) some exclusive harbourview restaurant,” another person wrote, while a third said: “Same here in QLD. Generally cheaper places you pay at the counter. Super fancy expensive at the table.”

Others said if it’s a bistro or an RSL you go to the counter and pay in advance.

“I am an Aussie and I will still watch what other people do if I’m at a restaurant I haven’t been to,” one woman wrote.

“It varies I’m confused too and lived here all my life,” said another.

“Good to know. I feel better for doing the same. Thanks!!” Emily responded.

One person suggested she ask the waiter for the bill and how she should pay.

“They’ll either say, ‘When you’re ready we’ll bring the eftpos’ or they’ll say, ‘Oh up at the desk thanks’ and you’ll kn

ow. Small cafe’s can go either lol good luck,” another Melburnian commented.

Victoria is currently in a seven-day “circuit-breaker lockdown” in response to a growing Covid cluster in Melbourne’s northern suburbs – but prior to this, when they could go out to eat, one person told the US expat that because of Covid requirements, most places were only taking bills at the table.

“If in doubt, ask the staff,” they said.

RELATED: Victoria’s seven-day lockdown could be extended

In a separate post which clocked 1 million views, Emily, who is an Australian permanent resident, explained how she and her boyfriend had to undergo two weeks of strict hotel quarantine when they landed in Melbourne in December 2020.

“Once we arrived in Melbourne we were escorted off the plane by police officers, went through health screening, baggage claim passport control and in the bus to our hotel,” Emily said.

“My favourite part was arriving to our hotel in our bus where police had blocked the street and everyone was taking pictures of us like we were zoo animals,” she laughed.

Following the recent Covid outbreak, Melbourne will remain in lockdown until Thursday, June 3.



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