There is a cafe that I have been working at most mornings, and I really enjoy the atmosphere in this place. I have even struck up a little acquaintance with my cute and friendly waiter, sharing small talk about our lives. I learned that he just arrived in NYC a few weeks ago from Arizona of all places. He is just a sweet kid of about 22, struggling to make it in the big city.
This morning I logged into my bank account online (as I do occasionally) and noticed an odd charge from the cafe. It was dated yesterday, the last time I used my card there. It wasn’t a huge difference, but I didn’t remember spending that much there, so I found my folded up receipt from yesterday’s pants pocket and sure enough, my card had been charged more than the total I had filled out including tip. As I said, it wasn’t a huge amount, only 2 dollars more (from 19 to 21, which would have increased my 20% tip to 33%, but I digress).
At first, I thought perhaps there was an old charge that had been dated wrong and had coincidentally come through on this day. But when I checked through my records, every other charge was there and was in the correct amount. So I am left with the following possibilities as to how this happened:
– My waiter added a couple of bucks and put the charge through (purposely or by accident)
– Someone else at the restaurant added a couple of bucks and put the charge through (purposely or by accident)
– There was a bank or credit card error in the amount of two dollars
And now there is a dilemma about what to do about it:
– Take my receipt down to the restaurant and demand to talk to the manager to get them to reverse the charge
– Talk to the waiter directly about it, giving him a chance to investigate
– Pretend it never happened (it is only two dollars after all)
If I go down to talk to the manager, what will happen to my waiter if he is to blame? Will he be fired? The poor kid just arrived in New York and is struggling. I don’t want him to be fired over this if by chance he is at fault, and yet if he is, he clearly should not be engaging in this type of behavior. If he is not to blame and someone else is, what happens to them? Perhaps it would be better to confront the waiter directly, giving him the opportunity to explain or investigate without management knowing?
Maybe it is all just a misunderstanding, an accident easily rectified.
I am a practical person. I don’t believe in making a big deal out of things that are trifling. I am not one of those people who is so wedded to “the principle of the thing” that I lose sight of reality. Life is too short really. And yet, I feel a little as if a trust has been betrayed. I have really enjoyed spending time in this cafe, chatting with my waiter, sipping coffee and working. My image of this place is now a little tainted. I would like to be proven wrong, but can only do so by bringing it up.
On the other hand, I could just let it drop, continue to enjoy the environment and pay cash from now on. I think I like the sound of that best. What do you think? (besides the obvious “Haven’t you just wasted more than 2 dollars worth of time and energy thinking about this?”)