Thursday, October 9, 2008
I'm So Sorry, I Don't Have 23 Cents...
"That'll be $3.23," he says. The simple statement sends me digging through my coin purse for two dimes and three pennies. Only one dime? Make that one dime, two nickles and three pennies. Only one nickle?
I dip my head apologetically and say, "I'm so sorry, I don't have 23 cents." He looks at me funny, takes my $4 and makes quick change. His response isn't what I was expecting and it reveals, in a small way, how much my thinking has been impacted by the four years we recently spent in South America.
You see, the same situation there would have been met at the very least with a scolding for not having the correct change. And at the most, I would lose whatever change was coming to me. Somewhere in the middle would be a lot of sighing while the cashier went up and down the line seeing if anyone could break a bill for change.
Several times I was actually told I wouldn't be able to buy an item because they couldn't make change for me. I guess they didn't really need the sale?
So I got in the habit of carrying as much small change as I could. And I forgot that in this blessed country, you can hand the cashier a $50 for a purchase of $3.23 and they'll smile and count you back your change. In fact, it seems it's actually more of a nuisance to some of them to have to wait for you to dig through your coin purse for the correct change.
Culture is so interesting...I'm thankful to have experienced another one and learned from it...but you better believe I'll enjoy whipping out that fifty dollar bill next time I buy a latte! :)