Recession Adds Drama to Paying for Lunch

Power diners shy away from picking up big tabs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2009 4:21 PM CST
Some power lunches have become low-rent affairs.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – Power lunches once ended with diners diving for the bill, corporate cards held high. These days, the checks tend to sit there uncomfortably, everyone hoping the other guy will pay, writes Laura Holson in the New York Times. The recession has turned picking the tab into a virtual earnings report. “People are really afraid to spend money,” said one literary agent. “Anything that smacks of too much fun or self-indulgence is frowned upon.”

The lunches themselves are going lower rent, too. The aforementioned agent, accustomed to dining at prestigious restaurants, was recently invited to lunch at McDonald's. In other cases, the power cup of coffee has become a low-cost alternative to the power lunch. “I feel lucky,” said one marketing consultant. “I can afford to take people to lunch, and that makes me lucky.”