Humans are social creatures; rarely do we like to spend lots of time with ourselves. While some people find it perfectly acceptable to attend a movie alone, others seek out at least one person to join them at the theatre. The same goes for stage performances and concerts. What do going to the movies, live theatre, and big name concerts all have in common?
Each of these activities costs money.
Technology has made it time efficient for movie-, live stage-, and concert- goers to purchase their tickets online with just a few clicks. Who wouldn’t choose that option over waiting in a long, slow line? The catch: there is only room for one credit card number.
So whose responsibility is it to pay for the tickets? In a perfect world, it would be up to each attendee to cough up the dough, preferably cash or a personal check, to one responsible person who will then purchase tickets for everyone. However, the good seats go fast and it’s easier for one person to charge it and expect to be paid back at a later date. Ideally, everyone will have paid for their tickets before the date of the event, or the date of the event at the very latest.
Chances are we have all been a borrower and/or a loaner. There are three types of borrowers:
1)Those who reimburse the loaner before or on the date of the event.
2)Those who take a few weeks or months to reimburse the loaner.
3)Those who never reimburse the loaner.
There are also three types of loaners:
1)Those who wish to be reimbursed before or on the date of the event.
2)Those who don’t mind being reimbursed within a few weeks or even months.
3)Those who don’t mind or care that they have not been reimbursed.
Loaners are more likely to expect reimbursement if the cost of the ticket is high. In most cities movie tickets cost around 8 or 9 dollars, about the hourly wage of many retail jobs. 8 or 9 dollars can also buy a pretty decent lunch or dinner at a cheaper restaurant. If a friend buys your movie ticket in advance for you, offer to buy theatre treats or a meal after the movie. If you buy the tickets in advance, suggest that your friend buy theatre treats or your meal after the movie. Either way, each individual has contributed to covering costs for your activity.
But what happens when you’ve spent $50 or more for your friend’s ticket and it’s been a few weeks? Before you know it, those weeks can turn into months and eventually a year. Are you still sitting by the phone or waiting for an email? If it’s been this long, you should be fairly confident you are never going to see that money again.
There are a few ways you can protect yourself and your money:
Know your friends. If you know your friends, you know which ones are the most reliable. Don’t be afraid to be picky over whose advance costs you’ll cover. If you are just getting to know a potential new friend, try spending a small amount of money on that person and clearly state you expect to be paid back. On your next outing, cover a larger amount. If you have been reimbursed for each outing, you may have just made yourself a reliable new friend.
Only bring enough money to cover your own expenses. Sometimes you really enjoy the company of a friend, even if that person is financially irresponsible. However, hanging out with this friend might mean losing out on some of your hard-earned cash. For example, your friend is short a few bucks and asks you to loan it to them. You’ve fallen for this before, and still haven’t been paid back. Plan ahead and establish how much you will be spending. When you go out with your friend, only bring enough money to cover your own expenses. If you pay with a debit or credit card and your friend asks you to pay, gently explain you are low on funds and only have enough in your account to pay for yourself. Your friend will get the message that you do not trust him or her, and maybe even get the hint to pay you back.
Sell your friend’s ticket if he or she has not paid up. You’ve been burned one too many times, and now you’re not giving any more chances. If it falls on your shoulders to pay in advance for something, provide your friends with a reimbursement deadline. Gently inform them that if they are unable to pay you back before the deadline you will find someone else who can.
Be aggressive. If you are still waiting for you friend to reimburse you, keep issuing reminders. Make it very clear that you did them a favor by covering the cost for them in advance. If you suspect your friend has financial difficulties, let him or her know it would be acceptable to pay you back in small amounts. If your friendship is valued, you will eventually get your dues.