On the way out of the grocery store I was pushing big kid in one of those hefty unmanageable car *trolleys (the ones that could really do with power steering) when the smell of coffee permeated my senses and I found myself parking said trolley beside the coffee counter.
(No, sadly not a Starbucks.)
I ordered my regular cheapo boring coffee with milk, and while I'm standing there drooling at the list of fancy Mochas and Frappa-saywhatnows? and pulling funny faces at S-boy I hear:
"Your Mr Bisett's wife, right? I'm Brandy, I used to be his student..."
As soon as she introduced herself I knew who she was (it's a small charter school in a small town), and I plastered a huge friendly smile on my face.
"Oh, hi!" I said warmly in a sing song voice, while thinking:
Aw, crap! I've probably got egg in my teeth, sleep in my eyes - and I know I didn't shower before I left the house!
Thankfully there was a counter between us keeping me and my embarrassing grossness at a safe distance, and with such a cute three year old driving my grocery cart, her attention was caught elsewhere....
She handed me my coffee and the receipt which I needed to sign, and I stared glaringly at the word TIP at the bottom. Now I'm thinking,
Aw, bugger! Should I tip?
After four years hanging around the Target Starbucks like a bad smell, I still don't know what the tipping protocol is when you buy a coffee in Texas. Back home I'd say, "Aw hell no!" (probably without the 'Aw hell' bit) but tipping over here is a different story.
Not tipping - especially an ex-student of the hubs - just seems wrong. But when I deny myself the creamy luxury of a latte because money is tight, going and giving my dollar savings away really hurts.
What would you have done?
I signed my name omitting to tip and (thoroughly ashamed with myself) I tried to hightail it out of there. Only, it didn't go down all that smoothly.
Remember I was pushing S-boy in a fully loaded grocery cart, and trying to speedily maneuver that humongous plastic yellow car out of the coffee booth with one hand while the other was holding my hot steaming cup was not going to happen.
Where's a friggin' cup holder when you need one? God, I wished I was in Target!
So I did something really stupid. I found the flattest part of the trolley I could and balanced my coffee there, freeing both my hands up to push.
Of course my coffee upturned straight away sloshing across the floor right in front of the counter, behind which stood Brandy.
INSTANT. FUCKING. KARMA.
And shit, was it embarrassing!
I righted my coffee and saved about half the cup. If I hadn't needed it before - now I did.
"Don't worry about it!" she was saying kindly as I crouched down and started mopping the floor with paper towels. But my brain heard her saying
'Serves you right, you tight arsed bitch!'
I gulped down the still too hot remainders of my coffee and with the help of my elbows (and my face flaming) I steered S-boy and the cumbersome trolley out of there. As we approached the automatic doors a store attendant came racing up to me with my credit card in hand.
You're kidding me? When did I get to be such a loser?
I used to be so confident and sophisticated and 'pulled together' once upon a time. Stop laughing. I was. Okay, not really. But I wasn't so silly and lacking in self-esteem that I'd fall to pieces in front of an 18 year old. Have I lost that too, along with my figure and my smarts?
I guess it's the price I have to pay (along with trading all my lattes for Americanos) for having the cutest three year old in the world (not bias) chauffeur my grocery cart around. I would gladly have paid higher.
So come on folks. Level with me here. I should have tipped, right? Like 20 cents, at least?
*shopping trolley = grocery cart
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