My wife and “Groupon” have become good friends. And now, with places like Amazon and Living Social vying for her online coupon attention, we are happily buying $30 worth of food for $15 at restaurants all over Miami. And while I’ve never been one to “clip coupons,” I am rather fond of eating. I’m happy to say this modern arrangement is helping keep both my belly and wallet full.
It seems to me, however, that many restaurant employees have been caught in a coupon daze. Just the other night, for example, my wife ordered take-out from a nearby Groupon friendly restaurant. As a savvy coupon shopper, she scanned the coupon carefully to see if there were any restrictions. Finding none, she sent me off to collect our meal.
So, with coupon in hand, I cheerfully walked into the restaurant pleased to see our order waiting on the counter. “I’m sorry sir,” the friendly cashier responded as I handed her our coupon, “but this is good only for eating in the restaurant”. I responded with a pleasant, “Nuh-uhh.”
A bit caught off guard by my eloquent reply, she started to hand me back the coupon when I added, “There are no restrictions on this coupon”. She pulled it back and slowly read it over. She seemed a bit confused, but once again shook her head saying, “But we only accept coupons for eating in.”
Without altering the pleasant smile still on my face I responded, “Well then I suppose I need to talk with the manager.” She gave me an awkward look which clearly meant, “The manager is the one who told me the coupon rule, you knucklehead,” but went to fetch the manager anyway. I couldn’t help but consider how our nicely discounted hot meal was rapidly cooling on the counter.
A minute or two later, the pleasant cashier returned with a confused look on her face. “The manager is sleeping,” she said, “and I don’t want to wake him.” With those magic words, a LOL snort escaped my lips before I could catch it. “We’ll I guess we’re right back where we started,” I said pointing to the once hot meal which would now require microwaves to reheat.
She looked over the coupon once again, let out a long sigh, and rang up the order. It came to an even $26. “I’m sorry sir,” she said looking at me, “but you need to buy $30 of food for this coupon.” I must admit that I was now rather enjoying this bit of free entertainment. “And why is that?” I replied bemused. She looked at me confused and said, “Because the coupon is for $30.” Another snort escaped.
“Well, here’s what I was thinking,” I said to the nice young lady, “I’ll give you this $30 coupon which, in this instance, is the same as giving you $30 in cash. Then, I’ll take the $26 dollars worth of food we bought and go home. You can keep the $4 left over for your tip.” I let my suggestion sink in for a moment hoping it would take root, but had no such luck.
“I’m sorry sir,” she said looking as if she was reconsidering waking up the manager, but you have to order $30 worth of food.” I countered, “So, let me get this straight. You’d rather have me buy more food instead of getting a $4 tip just for reaching over the counter and handing me my cold dinner?” Once again, she took a moment to mull this over making me wonder if her elevator was going all the way to the top. “Yes, I guess so,” she said unconvincingly.
“Sold!,” I said with a hungry smile. “What have you got for $4?” Her countenance seemed to brighten as she suggested a fine sounding appetizer.
Several minutes later, as our food was being reheated in the microwave, I recounted my coupon experience to my wife. “So did she get a tip?” she asked feeling a bit sorry for the cashier. “I hope so,” I answered. “I sure hope so.”