Cheated again

Along my bus route to work is a bakery which serves a cheap breakfast.
Because I need to change busses just outside its window, I usually have
something to eat during the forty-minute lay over. The woman who runs
the shop makes an interesting character study, and she has been
short-changing me for two months.

It may be that she believes me to be wealthy enough to deserve to
pay more for her food. While this is ridiculous (I’ve been a student
for three years, and my wife is still finishing her 5-year degree!), I
guess having to wear a suit gives this impression.

Whatever the case, she always adds a few pence to the total. Over
the past few weeks, she has also taken to giving me less change than
even the additional total would require. So, I might have bought a
sandwich and coffee which should cost £1.50, and she’ll say: “That’s
£1.75, love”. If I give her a five-pound note, I may only receive £1.80
in change. I’ve overlooked this on a number of occasions, not because
the food is great (it is plain, and the bread often from the previous
night), nor because the place is particularly pleasant (It isn’t). No.
I have overlooked it because I couldn’t believe she would consistently
steal from me.

This morning, however, she took it a step further. After giving me
a larger-than-necessary total and subsequently short-changing me (by
£1!), she called me back into the shop to say she hadn’t charged me for
my scone…

Every morning, I hear her say to a customer “There’s no sausages, I
haven’t had time to get them on this morning.” Her display cabinets,
however, are always empty; and she has to put the coffee on for me
(then makes instant anyway). This conflicts strongly with my impression
of early-morning, working eating. During several months of manual
labour, we started the day at 7 with a full breakfast from a cafe which
had been open (and busy) for an hour or more. This shop opens at 7, and
by 8:40, nothing is filled, and “there’s no sausages”.

“I think you have,” I said.

“Well, how much did I charge you?

“£2.70” (with £1.30 change which I didn’t mention)

“£2.70…” after a considerable pause, during which I did not let her look away

“Oh, I have, yes, I remember, I have”

I shan’t be eating there again, I think. Sometimes a quid is too far to budge!

Published by Zach Beauvais

Zach is an amateur greenwood worker, mainly carving spoons, bowls and kuksas. He's worked professionally as an online editor and community manager.

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