Sunday, April 23, 2006

The price of confrontation

Many people have asked me how it feels to have won a game of Weboggle. Well, the only thing on Earth I can think to compare it to would be how Woody Harrelson's character, Billy Hoyle, felt when he finally dunked in White Men Can't Jump. I can't believe it happened. And even though I'll keep trying, I know it probably isn't ever going to happen again. Other times it just makes me feel like this.

Here's a little thing I came across the other day. What's Your Smurf Name? What do you think my smurf name is? Go ahead, take a guess.

My smurf name is, quite fittingly, Heterosexual Smurf! As oxymoronish as that might sound. Can you believe it? Now I'm not the most introspective person on the planet, but if I were to describe myself, that'd be a good place to start. It was too perfect not to share. Other guesses that would have been accepted include Bachelor Smurf, Germophobic Smurf, Blogger Smurf, and Non-Confrontational Smurf. And that is where today's story finds us. The non-confrontational bachelor gets short-changed.

I was at a drive-in restaurant yesterday, which shall remain anonymous, but whose name rhymes with tonic. My order of a cheeseburger, tator tots, and coconut creme pie shake came to $5.56. I chose to pay by the old fashioned method of cash. Greenbacks. Jack. Filthy lucre, if you will.

So when the carhop arrived with my food, I handed her a watermarked photo of my good friend Andrew Jackson, aka Old Hickory. In return, she gives me a ten, three ones, and some change...

Having been short-changed a dollar, I pondered my next move. I recalculated in my head to make sure I had figured correctly. I had. What should I do? It's only a dollar. Obviously it's not a financial hardship issue but the principle of the thing. I sit there for a moment, hoping she'll realize her "mistake" and run back out with my money. She doesn't.

Checking for a receipt, I find none. Very shrewd. Maybe she had this planned all along. Maybe this is a scam she pulls on everyone. Two hundred cars a day, a dollar a car. She'd be pulling tips that would make a Hooters waitress jealous. Not that I know anything about that, nor have I ever contributed to the financial well-being of a Hooters waitress and/or her children.

Oddly, BE had called me just a couple of days before and told me she was shorted $14 at a fast food place. I encouraged her to go back. She did and they had the money set aside waiting for her. The other thing is, if the carhop had given me back too much change, I would have pushed the button and given back the money, no doubt. But somehow its different when I'm the one being shorted.

So there I sit. Can I really do this? Can I really push that button for one dollar? Of course not! I'm non-confrontational Bone. So I let it go. I probably wouldn't have said anything if it had been ten dollars or twenty dollars. Just as long as I don't have to face that scene and confront anyone and take the chance that they might not like me.

So what do I do? There are six trillion people in the world. I can't just let all of them go around shorting me a dollar. That could significantly cut into my Hooters children's college fund.

It's one of those seemingly insignificant situations in life for which there are no rules or instructions or manuals. What do you do? Do you go back for one dollar? What about two? Or five? Or ten? Where do you draw the line?

It's these little everyday distractions in life that keep me from being productive. And working on my bladder system. For oil tankers.

"Go with the flow. It is said, if you can't move to this then you probably are dead..."


  1. In high school my father found over $500 in one of those drive through bank deposit plastic containers. He immediately told the teller and the money got back to the person to whom it truly belonged. It taught me so much about honesty.... having said that I wouldn't have said anything about the $1, but after some encouragement I would have gone back for the $14.

  2. Ummmm, alright . . . .
    At that particular establishment, I always tip anyway.
    Yes, I realize it's unnecessary, but I feel sorry for those poor kids, even though I know they make more than minimum wage and get to keep whatever tips they make tax free most of the time.
    Have you ever worked fast food????
    Trust me, she deserved that dollar.
    It was just a buck.
    More than that, I might quibble with.
    (and before you tell me it wasn't a kid, it was some 30 year old, ummm, then don't you feel even MORE sorry for them that they are 30 yr old carhops????)

  3. I would've pushed the button for a quarter!

    What tip did you leave her? Other than the dollar, of course.

    To Typhoid Mary,
    If the carhop was 30, Bone would've let you know because he would have commented on how she looked and whether she was worthy of dating. In conclusion, she must've been older than the hills.

  4. If I could feel good knowing it was an honest mistake, no I wouldn't say anything. But in our business we are often shortchanged by thousands, not singles (today we got to take a 4K hit...great big thanks to the judge who thinks attorneys should work for free, hey we're attorneys, we can afford it right?...). I am more skeptical. I worked in fast food and knew a drive thru clerk that would short-change by a buck and hide it in her sock. I'd have asked on principle. I'd have had her come back to the car, gone over the mistake, and if she was apologetic, would have tipped her. If she acted like it was a hassle, I'd be getting my Washington back. More gum for me.

  5. Did all of my names, and finally came up with the one and only and perfect for me today
    "stews in his own smurfbowl"

    Think honesty is overrated ;-) Acutually think the oppposite, but I spend way too much time feeling angry at people who think honesty is an old fashioned, no longer needed virtue

  6. OCG: Thanks for sharing. So the line falls somewhere between $1 and $14? :-)

    Should-be-quarantined Mary: I had no idea people even tipped at said establishment, until I dated a girl who worked there years ago. She told me some people did. So I did for awhile. Now I only do occasionally.

    By the way, I think I caught typhoid a couple of times. On Oregon Trail. And died. Um, good luck!

    Buzz: I have no doubt you would have. lol I didn't tip anything. See my response to Typhoid's comment. Do you tip there? Besides, she wasn't noticeably cute.

    Dorothy: I like your theory. It is all about principle. If she had realized her mistake, assuming it was a mistake, I would have probably tipped her a couple of bucks, just for honesty.

    I always felt like if I lost my wallet and someone returned it, I would give them a big reward. Because really, if not for them, I'd have nothing.

    Pia: Are you serious? Or did you make that up? Or am I just being naive?

    Can't deal with dishonesty too much. At least not with friends and relationships.

  7. Hmm... I don't usually count my change at the drive-thru. That's b/c I feel rushed to put away my money, get my food, and get out of the way. Maybe that's b/c that's what I want the people in front of me to do. Maybe I should start checking it though. You know I'd say something!
    Chicken-Fried Smurf

  8. I'm Squanto Smurf.

    Did you give her any additional tip? I would have buzzed her back. I doubt it was intentional, but what if she shorted someone $5? What amount is it worth it to be 'confrontational' over? I don't think any of it is confrontational. Just standing up for yourself.

  9. $1? That's almost a quarter of a triple venti skim latte. Hell yeah, I would have pushed that button.

  10. larsonbuckeyefans4/24/2006 08:20:00 PM

    Hmmmm Bambi smurf....surprisingly fitting.Of course you tip there,no question and yes,I would say something if I were shortchanged.

  11. I have to say I rarely count my change, so this has probably happened and I just didn't realize it. I probably would have asked for the dollar had I realized it. But I'm a confrontational kinda person. I can give you lessons if you'd like.

  12. My smurf name is Stoolie Smurf. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

    I was shorted $10 at a fast food place once when I was in college. That's a lot of money to a college student. The cashier would not admit his mistake so I talked to the manager and made them take the drawer to the back and count it. Sure enough they came up $10 over what they should have been. I probably could have been a little bit nicer but the cashier was really rude to me about the whole thing.

  13. Groovie: Well, this is a drive-in, not a drive-thru. I do the same thing at drive-thrus. They could give me a handful of Monopoly money and I probably wouldn't notice at a drive-thru.

    Chicken fried? I'm hungry.

    Lass: Welcome, Squanto. Yes, it's standing up for yourself, but it's still a form of confrontation, to a very non-confrontational person. I probably would have buzzed had it been $5 or $10.

    Lizzie: I like the way you think. It's also a third of a gallon of gasoline. This week, anyway.

    PS: I got "latte" one day on weboggle.

    Bambi: Aww, that's cute. And I'll begin tipping there from now on, as you wish.

    Carnealian: Yes, but what's your smurf name? I think I'm beyond help.

    Krista: Stoolie? That can't be too good. Although it sort of reminds me of Towlie from South Park. I probably would have buzzed.

  14. Augh! I should have asked who could name the most Smurfs.

    Let's see, there was Handy, Hefty, Smurfette, Baby Smurf, Papa Smurf, Brainy, Vanity, Bashful.... No, I think Bashful was a Dwarf.

  15. my smurf name: Slowly Evaporating Smurf

    I have a hard time with that one as I try very hard to show Darly honest I expect it from everyone. But I'm a skeptic and would have thought that it was on purpose. But do I really call her out over a $1? Normally I tip anyone who brings my food further than the counter...unless they're really bad at it. But I would have probably have been miffed at this gal for "taking her tip."

    We don't do tonic even though we have them here. Not a fan of the food and don't like eating in the car.

  16. My real name rated Slowly-evaporating smurf like Renee. My BlogID got me Jurassic Smurf, so I don't know how to feel about that. I think I may plunge into a Drake's coffee cake coma, full-size, not the junior.

  17. PS- I got "Very Tall Smurf"... how did they know I was wearing heels today...

  18. Call me Dr. Smurf. Not a doctor, but I can make due as a 91WM6 out in the field.

    Thank you for the birthday wishes.

  19. Renee: I have become a bit of a skeptic in my older years. But normally, no one knows about it, because I'm non-confrontational.

    OK, you're starting to fade out. I can barely see you.

    Dorothy: LOL I love when Jerry is shouting right in the guy's face in that episode to make sure he's really out. Martin!!! MAARTIN!!!!!

    OCG: The Smurf Name Generator is quite scientific, I believe. As evidenced by my name.

    Thanks for sharing. About the heels, not the smurf name ;-)

    Cowgirl: OK, I'm gonna have to google that.

    Hope you have a great one!

  20. eUsually when I'm getting fast food it's because I'm either a)in a bad mood, b) too lazy to cook, or c)I needed to get out of the house. So honestly, I probably wouldn't have noticed being short changed a dollar. However, had I noticed, I'd probably say something. Anything under a dollar, I wouldn't bother, anything over, I would.

  21. Jen: Well, I eat way too much fast food, I know. OK, so over a dollar, we're pushing the button. Under a dollar, we're letting it go :-)

    Thanks for chiming in.

  22. You mean it wasn't metrosexual smurf, to go with your counters??
    I know, this post was about much more, but that's what I took away from it :-) In my defense, I'm reading on the "down low" right now rather than working ;-)

  23. Arlene: No! And besides, a tenant cannot decide his/her own counter color. Thanks for reading. Hope you don't get fired.