That Coffee Had Better Be DELICIOUS

, , , , | Working | December 8, 2020

This happens when I’m nineteen and in my first year of college. Naturally, I’m pretty broke at this point, living off a part-time job that doesn’t pay nearly what I need for this education, but it’s all I have. I am NOT a morning person, but I have early morning lectures and that means stopping for coffee to keep me awake to get through them.

There’s a coffee shop built into the building I cross through to get to my lectures, so I stop there every morning. I have the same order every morning so I can keep a close eye on how much money I spend before payday comes, and I very, very rarely, if ever have cash on me. My mother has been gracious enough to give me $20 for food for the week, so I’m paying with that.

Me: “Good morning! May I have [usual order], please?”

Employee: “That’s [amount around $4].”

I hand over the $20 and wait for my change. She punches my order in, hands me $5, and calls for the next person.

Me: “Excuse me, but you didn’t give me all my change. I paid with a twenty and you only gave me $5 back.”

Employee: “You paid with a ten.”

I pause for a second, but she just looks at me like I’m making a problem for her, which irritates me.

Me: “No, I paid with a twenty. I know I did. It’s the only bill I have in my wallet. I want the rest of my change, please.”

Employee: *Shrugs* “I don’t know what to tell you; you paid with a ten. You got your change. You’re holding up the line.”

Having $20 means a lot to me right now, and I need that change back. It’s too early to be arguing about this and I’m starting to get mad. I don’t move.

Me: “No, I paid with a twenty. Give me my change and I’ll leave.”

Employee: *Sighs* “I can’t go through my drawer right now.”

Me: “I paid with a twenty. Subtract [my total] from that and that leaves [amount]. That’s what you need to give me.”

Employee: “I can’t just give you money from my drawer; it’ll be off.”

Me: “Not if you give me my change! Are you serious? I need to get to class, so just give me my change, please!”

Employee: “If you want someone to count the drawer, my manager will be here around 4:00 pm.”

My classes end well before that time.

Me: “Uh, what? No. I’m not going to wait around for someone to count your drawer; I just want my change. It’s [amount].”

Employee: *Irate* “Look, miss, you paid with a ten. I’ve given you the correct change. I’ve served you. You’re holding up the line, so I have to ask you to leave now.”

I was stunned but I still stood there. My two other friends who were in line with me had moved off to the side and were watching this go down. I didn’t move for another minute or so, but the employee was pointedly ignoring me, so I relented and marched to class, but I hadn’t given up.

Unbeknownst to this employee, my uncle is in charge of the company that provides these chain restaurants and food stops for the campus. I’m not aware of his official title, but he does handle employee hiring; I actually worked in a sub shop on this very campus when I was in high school.

I sent him an email explaining the situation and we went back and forth for a bit to figure things out. She didn’t have a name tag, which made things trickier, and she was relentless in saying that she’d done nothing wrong. I didn’t hear from my uncle for a few days and figured the money was lost, but then I got an envelope at home with my correct amount missing and a note saying that the matter was settled.

I’m not sure if she was fired, but I didn’t see her at that particular coffee shop for a while. Unfortunately, that was the only place that had cheap enough coffee and food for my budget, so I kept going there, but I never paid in cash again!

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