Friday, September 15, 2006

The Ongoing Deli Saga

Remember the lunchtime deli I mentioned where they like me because I speak a little Spanish? The last time they gave me a break on my salad, they only knocked off 29 cents. Yesterday, my normally $6.79 salad only cost me $5.00!
I have mixed feelings about this-- I don't want the cashiers to get in trouble, and I don't want them to be stealing from their employer. Maybe "stealing from" is a strong way of putting it-- it's not like it is for their own gain. If I owned a deli, I wouldn't mind what they're doing, within reason-- it's good customer relations, and of course I go to that deli more often because the people there are nice and treat me well. But I don't know how the owner of this particular deli feels about it.
Meanwhile, at the other deli, the breakfast coffee and bagel deli, the cashier is still up to her tricks. The usual bagel and coffee cost $2.93. Today she at least gave me SOME change from my $3.00, but she only gave me a nickel! I was not going to argue with her over 2 cents, but it still annoys me that she assumes it's ok.

I kind of feel like adding 2 new budget lines in Quicken: "Miscellaneous: Goodwill" for amounts saved by someone not charging me full price, and "Miscellaneous: Piss-off" for amounts lost by being short-changed. It would be interesting to see which one came out ahead at the end of the year!

14 comments:

Kira said...

I think the deli people are probably just doing a little PR - they are still making money on your trips, and if you like it there, you'll keep coming back even if they don't discount you every day. I seem to recall that people have a much stronger reaction and keep coming more often when rewards are random than when they are known ahead of time (ie them randomly giving you discounts vs a Tuesday discount or something.)

Steve Mertz said...

Every once in a while I go by my favorite mexican deli- chipotles, and they comp my lunch! It's pretty cool and I keep going back.

Anonymous said...

Seems like you have a lot of spare time on your hands to tally up these things. I budget and track expenses as well, but not like that! Good for you I guess. I'd rather spend my time in a yoga class or something, but I guess everyone has their own hobbies.

Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention that because I was at a popular NYC drugstore chain picking up a few items earlier this week. At the checkout counter, my change is supposed to be $0.22 and the guy working the register asked me if I wanted the pennies. I said that it was no big deal if he didn't have any left. But then he said he had only 4 pennies left. I was a little confused as to why he would ask me if I wanted the pennies - as if he was saving the last few for someone who REALLY, REALLY wanted them. Needless to say, he gave me my two pennies! Was I being cheap? To me it was all about the principle...not the money!

optioned unarmed said...

Madame X:

You should try paying the $2.93 deli woman $2.90 and see what happens. If that goes over well you could maybe try graduating to $2.75, and then perhaps to $2.00.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the cashier at the breakfast deli reads your blog and keeps a few cents from you to see what you would say about it.

enoughwealth@yahoo.com said...

I think you should try to be a bit more easy going about the odd 1c here or there - I'm sure it's more just laziness than larceny at work. Anyhow, with inflation constantly eroding spending power, the 1c and 2c pieces already cost more to mint than their face value, so they'll be removed from circulation within a couple of years. (Unless there's too much of a fuss over it - I read that $1 and $2 coins were introduced in the US on a trial basis a few years ago, but were then withdrawn again as people didn't like them! Apparently it was too confusing having smaller but thicker coins that are worth more than larger but thinner coins! (Even though they used a "gold" looking alloy for the dollar coins like we use here and elsewhere around the world). BTW We had the same reaction here in Oz when they first replaced the old $1 and $2 paper notes with coins (mainly it was the "elderly folk" getting confused), but most people adapted in a couple of years and now we wish they'd hurry up and replace $5 notes with a coin.)

We got rid of our 1c and 2c pieces more than five years ago (I forget exactly when). Individual prices can still be in 1c increments (eg. when buying a kilo of bananas), but everything is automatically rounded up or down to the nearest five cents on the total bill. Over all it averages out and makes no difference. (BTW If you're a REALLY frugal person, under the rounding system you could work out the total bill in advance, and then pay cash if the total will get rounded down for coins, but choose to pay with a credit card (which doesn't round the total) to pay the exact amount if it would otherwise get rounded up! Cant' say that I've never been bothered to do it myself)

ps. I think the US currency is great example of how the US can be very progressive with some things (eg. internet usage), and yet is very conservative about other changes (eg. still using market makers in the stock market rather than automated systems like UK, europe, oz etc.). Although I think you're now in the process of starting to introduce some colours into the currency to reduce forgery, they'll probably be an uproar when you go from paper money to polymer ("plastic") notes.

pps. At the rate the US is changing over to metric measurements you'll probably still be using imperial measures (feet, yards, chains, perches...) in one hundred years ;)

mOOm said...

Back in 1996 when I moved to there for a few years the smallest coin in Oz was already 5 cents. It makes sense. I drop all the pennies in my change every day here in the US into a cup and once in a while put it in a coin change machine which allows donation to charity so I guess they have some use :)

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Anonymous said...

enough already about your problem with food and pinching pennies to an extreme!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this Madame X. I've only just started reading your blog, but I agree that you should be "pissed-off" with people keeping your change. Even if it is only 2 cents. It's only a tip if you want to give it.

I live in Tokyo right now (and am from OZ) so no real idea about people in the US, but here in Tokyo, there is no way any shop staff would assume that they could keep part of my change. On the other hand of course, they'd never give a discount either... but the service is always polite and friendly, and no one ever expects a tip, so I don't mind.

ps. great blog!

SMB said...

Wow, sounds like this post touched a nerve with some people! Still, I wonder how they would feel if they went to a deli and the same thing happened to them every. single. time.

Do you suppose tipping off the manager (no pun intended) would help, either face to face or anonymously? You could turn it into more of a joke, but it might still get the point across.

SMB said...

I forgot I wanted to respond to something enoughwealth said. I do agree that it's probably laziness over larceny--with a little subtle manipulation thrown in ("I can't be bothered to give you the right change, and I know you're not going to say anything about it"). That's what gets under my skin. I think I'd prefer larceny so the manager would be forced to deal with it.

Single Ma said...

Why are the most asinine comments anonymous? Damn cowards!!

I'm laughing at your quicken idea. I think it'll be fun to track them just to see what the results would be at the end of the year.

I understand your frustration. It's not about the two pennies, but the principle. Who gives her the right to keep YOUR money? I don't care if it was a half cent. It aint hers to keep! As much as you visit that deli, I'm sure the change adds up over time.

If it were me, I'd put her on blast and say 'excuse me, but this isn't the correct change.' If she still wants to play stupid, I'd play along and give her $2.90 the next day. :-)