Please and Thank You
The other two double deluxes were custom, as opposed "just give me one," which is normal for us, but the descriptions confused the young lady on the other side of the squawk box. "How many double deluxes is that?" "Three," I said, but only one of them is regular (if regular is a term one can apply to a large double burger with lettuce, olives, tomato and mayo). "Ok, please pull around."
No price, but there's only two others, a Honda and a Mazda in line in front of me so I continue to listen to "All Things Considered" coming out of Chicago and looking down the street towards Lake Michigan with a crystal light clear blue sky. My turn comes, she tells me the price and I give her the money with eleven cents, because I don't really want thirty-nine cents back in change. Two more stories from NPR and she slightly smiles while handing me the bag.
So I'm off down Cleveland Avenue heading home when I get that Joe Pesci feeling from Lethal Weapon II. Except Mel Glover isn't driving, I am. And there's nobody in the back seat. So at the stop light I open the bag and check. Wow. Two custom double deluxes. None for dad tonight. Pull into the gas station to turn around and go back to Roxy's but inside this time. "Do you have your ticket?" a different young lady asks. "No, you didn't give me a ticket or a receipt," but looking up at the pricing above the counter I can quickly add up that she didn't charge me for it so I pay for another one. No apology. No thank you.
If you've ever been at Roxy's they hand write your orders and then you wait until they fill them, so I watched and waited. A politely waiting gentleman in his 80's was sitting until his order to go came up. There were around 20 people, almost all beyond retirement age (whatever that is these days) talking at their tables. A tall woman in her late 20's was waiting for her food to come up. A grandmother with her daughter and two grand children came in and ordered. Then another young woman in her early 20's who'd been patiently waiting in line ordered.
The counter help ran her debit/credit card for $8.98 and it was declined. She turned to the cook in the kitchen and not too loudly asked what she should do. "Run it again just to check" he replied. It was declined again, and after the first time I watched the young lady search her purse without finding what she needed. So I handed the counter help a $10 bill. "Is this for that?" she asked. "Yes I replied." I didn't even stop to consider that at the $9 an hour I make on average and less than 20 hours a week it wasn't really a wise investment.
Still holding the debit card in her hand, she looked at the cash register and said, "Ok, I owe you $2.02." Putting the ten in the drawer, she took two dollars and two cents out and handed it to the other customer. That young lady promptly put it in her purse, turned away and stood behind me without a word. I do understand the embarrassment of insufficient funds, even if it was back in the days when banks could hold your checks for three days before depositing them and then charged fees for bouncing checks you'd written after making the deposit. But I don't really remember hearing thank you from anyone but me in the restaurant.
I quietly left when my double deluxe came up, but I think I now better understand why the United States of America has long lost our ability to lead. Clearly there were future congress members in front of me tonight (August 8, 2011).