I always assumed that a split or a shared order meant when two (or more) people at the table elect to order one entree instead of two. And (based on that assumed definition) I'm not going to quibble with being charged some sort of a fee for that - I understand some of the logic behind a restaurant's decision to charge that sum.
But last night (we were out of town) we went to a mid-to-low-range pizza/pasta place. It was clearly stated on the menu that there was a charge for split orders. No problem. There were two of us - we ordered an appetizer (to share - always have assumed that appetizers are for sharing), a sausage sandwich (also to share), and a large pizza (also to share) - also a caraft of wine and a soda. To my count that's an app. and two entrees, plus the wine and soda, for two adults - a decent order.
We were brought two plates for the appetizer (in addition to the serving platter) - when the sandwich arrived we asked for an extra plate (since the app. plates had been removed) - then the pizza arrived with a stack (7!) of plates.
Food was fine (though not 'Hound-worthy) and service was prompt and friendly. But then the bill arrived and we were charge $7.50 for "sharing." When we asked our server about the charge, we were told that it was because we'd asked for an extra plate for the sandwich. I was pretty livid, but my dining companion (who's a lot more cool-headed) asked to speak to the manager - long-story short, the extra fee was removed from the bill but we were told that it's the owner's policy to charge extra for any extra "service items." (Which doesn't explain the stack of plates for the pizza, which I assume have to be washed before being used again for service.) Anyway, the fee was removed, the server got a 20% tip (we had no problems with the service), and the manager said something to the effect that she'd speak to the owner's about changing the policy but that, in the meantime, we'd know better for next time. There won't be a next time for us.