Sunday, January 6, 2008

Change

We were a little hungry at the airport the other day, so we looked for a place to get a bite.

The only cafe past security was inexplicably closed, so we walked back around to the one place that was open.

I offered to go to the counter for Stu and bring something back.

"What do you want?" I asked him.

"I'd like the ham and cheese on a croissant."

"And if they don't have that?"

"Then some medialunas."

I went off to wait in line.

I heard the guy in front of me ask for medialunas. The defeated kid behind the counter said they didn't have any. When I got to the front of the line, I asked if they had ham and cheese on croissant. They didn't.

I laughed, but quickly felt guilty. The poor slob behind the counter thought I was laughing at him.

I asked for two waters and a piece of chocolate cake.

"That'll be 21 pesos." (US$7)

I handed him a 50 peso bill.

"Do you have anything smaller?" he asked.

"I don't," I said.

"Well, I don't have any change."

"I think I have a one-peso coin and then you can just give me 30 pesos even," I offered.

"No. I don't have any change," he said again.

He handed the 50 pesos back to me and waved me away.

"Just take it. I'm giving it to you."

"What?" I said.

"Just take your water and your cake. I don't have any change to give you. But take the water and your cake."

Uh. OK.

There was a tip jar near the register, something I don't think I've ever seen in this country. I stuck 2 pesos in the jar.

It had to really suck to be working on New Year's Day, watching half the country head off on vacation from behind the counter of the only airport snack bar, which had almost nothing to sell and no change to give you if you wanted to buy the few things they did have.

* * *

I bought three figs and a honeydew melon yesterday. The total came to 9 pesos and I handed the woman a 10 peso bill.

"I don't have any coins," she said.

"Well, what do you have that costs a peso?" I asked.

She ran down the list while I scanned the display. My eyes settled on the cherries.

"Can I have one peso's worth of cherries?"

She dug a handful out and weighed them before she came back out.

I got six cherries as my change.

Part of me wants to try to convince a bus driver tomorrow to let me ride for six cherries instead of 90 centavos.

Unfortunately the other part of me already ate the cherries.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how many times I've tried to buy something and been turned away because I didn't have exact change.

I spend a substantial part of each day strategizing how I'm going to get small bills and coins from the ubiquitous $100 peso notes.

This place is totally insane.

Leeann said...

Why can't the "comments" line say "comment" if only one person has posted something? Would the switch really be that difficult to accomplish? Anyway, I felt I had to add a comment, if only to achieve "2 comments."