An Entry, an Experiment and a Find All for a Penny

So, how is everyone doing out there in L.A.S.  I’m basically fed up with it and will be doing my part come election day to make sure those responsible hear me loud and clear.  Today’s post is actually the result of a single penny.  No, I am not talking about the NOPE initiative.  I actually got a lot of mileage out of this penny as I was able to a) get a blog entry, b) experiment with our new Nikon Macro glass and c) discovered something I did not know before preparing for this post.  Not a bad price if you ask me.

I’ll start with the heart of the blog post, that being the event that started it all.  Last Monday I was coming back from my required Prohibited Harassment training (before you jump to conclusions, it is a required course for all employees whose company gets government contracts).  This is one of those courses where it is best to simply attend and learn while keeping your mouth shut until the event is over.  Why people try to argue this stuff is beyond me, but I’ll spare you that annoying detail.  After keeping my mouth closed that long, I decided to head over to Burger King and catch a bite to eat with some coworkers.  As a general quest I try to keep my lunch  meals around 3 dollars because that is about what it would cost if I bothered to actually bring a lunch.  The success of this personal quest varies significantly from establishment to establishment, but the advent of Value Menus has made this a little easier.  This was the case on Monday, where I ordered a Whopper Jr., 4 chicken nuggets and a drink for a dollar each.  With our crappy fast food tax, that came out to $3.24.  This is a good time to point out something about Arby’s value meal menu.  I snapped a picture for a future post, but in bold letters they have $1 Menu and then about 6 food/drink items under it.  Not thinking I ordered three of those items on a previous visit.  The cashier then proceeds to say the cost which was over the expected $3.24.  Caught off guard, my eyes moved back up to the value meal sign to see what the catch was.  Sure enough, there was little “starting at” lettering before the bold $1 Menu sign.  With both Congress and Arby’s screwing me these days I won’t be able to sit for the next month.  Sorry for digressing, but that peeved me for the rest of the day and figured it would be worth taking the time to warn others.    Back to Burger King.  As the cashier was about to take my $5 bill I remembered I had a quarter in my pocket and decided to fish it out.  Another peeve of mine is change.  Unlike my brother’s friend (who has now passed away) who believed that forcing yourself to break bills will  save money, I try to use up change every chance I get in order to save bills … and keep my pants from rattling all day.  The cashier (who was actually the on duty manager) reaches in the cashier, pulls out $2 and hands me the bills and closes his drawer.  I thought to myself that something was amiss, but the class had left me a little numb.  After a few seconds the mind fogged over the fact that change had been provided causing a false realization that the clerk had given me back too much money and should have only received a dollar and some change.  Trying to be kind and remembering my days when I cashiered at Jewel and having to worry about the till balance I informed the manager that he did not give me the right change back and reached out with the two bills.  The assumption was he would take one of the bills, and replace it with 76 cents.  However, his response was “No I gave you the right change back”.  Like a window defroster, the fog cleared and the memory of digging in my pocket came through.  While waiting for the food, I went to fill my drink with a nagging feeling that something was not right about the change.  Good thing the class was not before a work budget deliverable or there would be some triple checking that day.  I figured out the nagging issue was centered around my missing penny.  Clearly a penny is of little concern to me (the value meal is just a personal quest and not a financial issue) and having cleared up the internal dilemma turned back to the counter to wait for my order.   In mid turn, the manager reaches into his drawer, takes out a penny, shows it to me and proceeds to say “You were right, I didn’t give you the correct change” and places it on my receipt.  Out of curiosity, how would this make you feel?  It felt cheap as hell and somewhat demeaning from my perspective.  Again, the only intent of mentioning it was that I thought he gave me TOO MUCH money back and wanted to pay my fair share.  The trigger for all this was not getting the penny back because that would have immediately told me a quarter was involved.  The food arrived and he called out my name to pick it up while placing the receipt and penny on my tray.  I informed him that it was not about the penny, and that I had forgotten about the extra quarter while putting the penny back on the counter (skipping the step of holding it up for everyone in the restaurant to see) and walked away.  Anybody have any comments on this?  I just hate leaving a place feeling little when the intent was to help someone – not to mention the fact that I was correct in the assessment the change was wrong.

Hit the jump to see the other benefits from the penny incident:

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