When I was little, we had this series of books and tapes geared towards teaching kids morals. Each installment focused on some lesson; responsibility, generosity, honesty, blah blah blah. I don’t even know how we got it. I do
remember it came with popsicle stick puppets that my sisters and I would use to put on ridiculous plays (which usually offered little by way of storyline and definitely didn’t seek to extol any virtue). One particular scene from the “truthfulness” installment sticks with me. A girl walks past a bakery and decides to get a doughnut. A strawberry frosted one (my favorite). She buys one, and realizes that the clerk had given her two much change; now she has enough money to buy another doughnut, but decides to do the right thing and gives the extra change back. Whatever. That story sucks.
Which brings me to the kind of similar but mostly different experience I had the other night at the gas station. I had paid for my gas at the pump already, but went in to get some Gatorade (1 @ $2.09) and Red Bull (3/$5). Don’t judge me. Anyway, when my total came to $4.37, I motioned to my purchases:
Me:”For all this?”
Clerk: “Yeah. Powerades are on sale 2/$2. But you got Gatorade.”
Me (puzzled): “Um, awesome? And you’ve got the 3 Red Bulls?”
Clerk: “Uh-huh. They are 3/$5.”
Me (laughs nervously): “This is a pretty sweet deal.”
Clerk: “Yeah, well…” (looks bored)
I pay with a $10 bill. He gives me $5 and change back.
Clerk: “Hey, that is
a pretty sweet deal.”
Me (laughs nervously again): “Yeah, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
Clerk (shrugs): “Have a nice night.”
I totally felt like I was stealing. I felt bad, but then I remembered that I had just paid $60+ to fill up my Honda Accord, so I felt not so bad. But then I stayed up until 2am on a weeknight, drinking Red Bull and vodka and watching “I Love the 80s” for what must have been the billionth time. In the morning I felt bad again. I should have gotten a doughnut.