Four Cents Worth Of EtiquettePosted: July 23, 2012
My sleep ends with alarm clock intervention at 4:30 a.m. on work days. I shave, shower and am at my desk by 5:30. By 6:30, I’ve been briefed by the person I relieve, met with the people I supervise, made assignments, sent them into the field and handled paper work.
At that point, I’m ready for a quick breakfast. I’ve made a habit of getting that breakfast at the same bagel shop. That bagel shop visit is the source of the problem I’m bringing to you today.
My Morning Routine, Gone Awry…
The bagel shop has been like a wholesome version of the bar in the television show, Cheers. I walk in, the people who work there know my name and what I want. The regulars greet me. There isn’t any beer, but I’ve never held that against them
Getting a bagel was a happy ritual of my mornings. It still is, but a few things have changed.
There’s been some turnover at the shop. New people preparing the food, new managers. They’re nice. They still know what I want, and a lot of them know my name. But the new manager is causing me a lot of concern.
…Over Four Cents…
My order is always the same. Every morning, the manager rings it up and says “$5.04, Oma”.
He’s been managing for a month. He asks me for a little over five bucks, and I give him six. He gives me the extra dollar back, keeps the five and says, “I’ve got the four cents”. I thought it was a nice gesture. He keeps repeating the gesture. Days have given way to weeks that have become a month. Four cents turned to twenty over the first week, and multiplied to eighty over the month.
The ritual hasn’t changed over this month. He keeps ringing up $5.04, I give him $6, he says “I’ve got it” and hands me back a dollar. His kindness is becoming a problem
…But The Problem Ends, With Your Help.
He intends to continue returning my dollar and covering my four cents. He’s a good guy, but something has to give.
You see, I do not think that it would be right for me to take it as a given that he will continue this practice. I’d be a jerk to just start handing him $5. He doesn’t owe me a thing. He could start charging me the four cents any time.
On the other hand, I feel kind of dumb going through the ritual of handing him a dollar that he immediately returns to me. I think it looks like I can’t figure out that he does that every day. Perhaps there is a post on a bagel guy blog out there that says “when is this guy going to learn?” I can’t have that.
This problem has to end. I don’t think there is established etiquette for this situation. There are so many options, with no way to know which is right.
- Should I scream at him?
- Should I just give him $5?
- Should I talk to him about it?
- Should I refuse to take the dollar back?
- Should I keep giving him $6, knowing he isn’t going to make change?
- Should I solicit advice from the sharpest readers in the blogosphere? Yes, I think so.
I need your suggestions. Please let me know if one of my ideas is the best solution to my dilemma. Better still, do you have suggestions of your own?
Help me, this is far too much pressure for me to bear.
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