My post “Why I Lied About Money” went live on Get Rich Slowly on Feb 5. It is a very personal and honest post about my past. Writing it took me some courage and a lot of questioning (to write or not to write type questioning), and “to write” argument won. If you’ve missed my post, make sure to stop by and read it. It provides another glimpse into Aloysa.
I have a control problem. It exhibits itself in an odd way: I have to know what’s going on in our bank account every day. I check our bank account every single morning in order to see what transactions cleared and what is pending. Actually, once this not-so-healthy and somewhat obsessive habit helped me to discover a wrongful charge on the account before it even cleared. But that is a different story.
I am also a receipt hoarder. I stuff receipts for every purchase into my wallet until my wallet looks bulky and feels brick heavy. I also like to check every single receipt for the correctness of charges. I do it in stores buying groceries. I do it in malls buying new clothes or shoes. I do it in restaurants while finishing up dessert.
I think I am starting to sound a bit fixated on the receipts, but it is a part of who I am. Beaker knows this
obsession passion of mine and he always lets me approve our receipts. We are an odd couple.
A week ago, Beaker and I went out to eat. We ordered our drinks, our meals and, later, we ordered some more drinks. Somewhere between finishing my first glass of wine and waiting for a second one, I decided that it was a night for me to unwind.
No, it did not mean I was going to get drunk, and let Beaker carry me on his back to the car after dinner. It meant that I was going to not worry about our bill, and most importantly, I was not going to scan our check at the end of the night. You know… I was chilling out.
Beaker paid, handed me the receipt, and I put the receipt in my wallet, forgetting about it for a week.
This is where it gets interesting.
Sunday night I decided to clean out my wallet. It was pretty fat and not from hundred dollar bills. I took all the receipts out and was going to use the shredder when I saw the receipt from the restaurant from a week ago. I scanned through it, realizing that for some reason we paid much less than I thought.
I looked closer and noticed that our server did not put our meals on it!
My first blatant thought was about how cheap we got off. For a few seconds I was totally okay with it, almost to the point of being proud of it. My second and a more self-conscious thought was “Wow! I feel like we stole money from our server.”
For a few minutes I stood and stared at the receipt, feeling lost. I did not know what to do. It was an ethical dilemma after all, and I regard myself as a highly ethical person. Most of the time.
I had to answer two questions:
Should we go back to the restaurant and pay for the meals that we had ten days ago?
Should we forget it ever happened? It was not our fault that our server forgot about the meals.
I have to admit I wanted to forget it and move on. But it did not feel right. The problem had a face and it was the face of our server. I guess if it would be something more abstract and faceless it would be easier to ignore.
So, this week we are going back to the restaurant to pay for the meals.
I also told Beaker that the next time I decide to chill out, he needs to take upon himself the responsibility of checking our receipts for two simple reasons: