I don’t use the Drive-thru lane for coffee. I prefer to go in the store. I like to see what donuts are available and whether they have the brand of orange juice I like (which is any brand other than Tropicana). When I went in last Wednesday, I was behind one customer, a woman who was not standing at the counter. We did that awkward little dance that you do when you’re not sure if you should go around the person or stand behind. I opted to stand behind.
The woman ordered a small coffee and some kind of toasted thing that required moving to the Pick-Up window at the other end of the counter. After she received her coffee, and the request for payment, she reached forward and deposited a huge pile of change on the counter. She turned back and looked at me as if I had a disapproving look on my face. I didn’t. I’ve seen lots of people pay with change. No biggie, legal tender and all that.
When I got to the counter, the clerk, a nice young lady who I had had a conversation with the week before, was still counting the change.
You should know that I’m not the kind of person to randomly strike up a conversation with a sales clerk. It usually takes a couple of visits, a couple of thank you’s exchanged before I even start saying “hi” like I know them. I had broken the ice with this woman because she was wearing an Air-Cast. The bold step was driven by the fact that I had been in an Air-Cast for several months after breaking my foot in 1988.
Anyway, when she finished sorting, counting and depositing the change, she turned to take my order. I noticed that she had a very sad look on her face. I wasn’t quite sure that I knew her well enough to ask, but:
“Are you OK?”
“She shorted me 25 cents…”
I was angry. It’s not like coffee is a requirement. Well, OK, it is, but you can brew your own at home, you don’t have to stop at Dunkin Donuts. And, it’s not like that woman was screwing Dunkin Donuts out of 25¢ – cashiers are responsible for the money in their drawer. I knew the clerk was probably trained not to say anything to the woman. I also knew that I probably shouldn’t confront her either…but I wanted to.
When I got my coffee and donut, I paid with the Dunkin Donuts app, which has no provision to include a tip, or pay a different amount. So, I put a dollar in the tip cup. The resulting smile on the clerk’s face was priceless.
I searched my Flickr photostream for “sad” and, to my surprise, I’ve tagged quite a lot of photo with that word. Here are some that I don’t think I’ve used before: