A n d r e w W y n c h
A Deal is a Deal
With rent and out-of-state tuition to pay and a gas-guzzling Dodge Durango to satiate, my summer-job desperation had led me to coffee hell. I needed money and I needed it fast.
Each morning my task was simple – reach a $32 threshold in the cash register and be rewarded with a living wage.
With only $7 to go before I reached the threshold and 30 minutes to make it, my optimism was uncharacteristically high. A family of four, each craving the most expensive item on the menu, had offered me my first chance all summer to break the threshold and be paid $8 an hour.
They ordered their sandwiches, and I began slathering peanut butter, fruit and chocolate on the toasted wheat bread. Barely able to balance the four different sandwiches on my arms, I waddled over to their table in the far corner of the otherwise empty café.
“Thanks,” the mother said with a smile. The children’s eyes lit up in excitement.
Knowing my bosses were watching on the Orwellian webcam above, I informed them I was about to break the threshold.
I looked at the clock. My shift was scheduled to end.
As if on cue, my employer entered and examined the register's balance.
“I thought you said you had reached $32,” the Natasha Fatale look-alike said in her thick Russian accent.
“The family in the front hasn’t paid yet. They ordered, though. Doesn’t that count?”
“A deal is a deal, Andrew,” she said. “If it's not in the register, we aren't counting it.”
Dejected, I reached out to collect my measly pay.
As I walked toward the cafe's front door, past the ghost town of vacant seats, the family stopped me. The mother was holding a $10 bill in her hand. Apparently she had overheard my situation.
“You deserve this,” she said, “I'm sorry you have to go through that.”
Smiling, I drove my tank-like car to the nearest Starbucks and ordered a piping hot coffee.
I deserved it.
Andrew Wyrich is the Editor-in-Chief of The New Paltz Oracle. His work can be viewed at andrewjwyrich.wordpress.com. Shoot him an email at: email@example.com.