Last updateWed, 22 Feb 2017 10am

The Way It Used To Be: Small transactions make the biggest crises

Reprinted from January 2000

 In the course of the business day in a jewelry store of our size, many transactions will take place. These may involve thousands of dollars through the purchase of loose diamonds from a traveling salesman or the sale to a customer which might involve several thousands of dollars on a large item. Within minutes the jeweler can separate what he needs in loose stones and make a decision. In a slightly longer time the sales personnel can unite a choosey customer with an item suitable to their taste and budget.

On the other hand, the simple transaction of obtaining lunch for six or seven assorted people who have decided to eat on the premises instead of going out can prove to be a disaster. Around our store it tends to go something like this:

“Okay! Lunchtime. What are you all going to have today?”


“Come on now! Time to eat. What do you all want?”


“Okay, I am gong to get something for myself. Does anyone want anything?”


“Fine, I’m ordering chicken.”

“Ah, Gee, Mrs. Williams, I don’t like chicken.”

“Neither do I, can’t we get something else?”

“Why are we having chicken? We had chicken last week.”

“Martha, don’t bother me with that stuff, can’t you see I’m busy.”

“I want tacos, why can’t we have tacos? We never have tacos. We never have what I want.”

“Why should we have tacos? I want pizza. Why can’t we have pizza?”

“But Mrs. Williams, pizza is more expensive than tacos, why should I have to pay more because she wants pizza?”

“Well, I agree with Mrs. Williams, we should have chicken.”

“That’s not fair. We had chicken last week. Why can’t we have corn dogs?”

“Oh phooey. Who wants corn dogs? Let’s take a vote.”

“Good idea. How many for pizza? Two for pizza. How many for chicken? Two for chicken. How many for tacos? One for tacos. How many for corn dogs? One for corn dogs.”

“Okay, we have a tie between pizza and chicken. How about you RB?”

“Martha, you can see I’m busy, don’t bother me with that stuff?”

“Between pizza and chicken, how many for pizza?”

“Mrs. Williams, pizza gives me indigestion. I’d rather have chicken.”

“Well it’s no real choice. I wanted corn dogs, but I’ll settle for chicken.

“I still want pizza.”

“You get your way all the time. Why can’t we have tacos?”

“RB, what about you? Do you want chicken?”

“Don’t bug me Martha. Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“Never mind me Mrs. Williams, I don’t count. You all just decide and I’ll have to go along with the group (sigh).”

“All right, between chicken and pizza let’s see the hands for pizza? Chicken?”

“Okay, it’s chicken.”

“Oh, gee. I really wanted pizza.”

“It’s a majority. We are ordering chicken.”

“I knew you would get your way.”

“Let’s be good sports now. Who wants what?”

“I want all dark, extra crispy with corn and a roll and a large Coke.”

“I’ll have mixed with potato salad and a roll and a small Sprite.”

“Make mine all white with coleslaw and a roll and a large root beer. Make it extra crispy.”

“Well, if I have to have chicken, make it original recipe with mashed potatoes and gravy and milk. All dark meat.

“I don’t want chicken.”

“Come on now, be a good sport.”

“Well, make it extra crispy with corn and orange, a large orange.”

“RB, what do you want?”

“Don’t bother me, Martha. Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“Fine, I’ll place these orders and pay for them and you all can pay me back.”

“Here’s lunch everyone! Come and get it.”

“Where’s mine? This is not original recipe. Mrs. Williams, she is eating mine.”

“Mrs. Williams, I wanted all dark with corn and they gave me mashed potatoes.”

“Mrs. Williams, I wanted coleslaw and they gave me potato salad. Did anyone get coleslaw in error? Well now I have to pay for something I didn’t order?”

“Mrs. Williams, I ordered Coke and this doesn’t taste like a Coke.”

“Martha, why on earth did you get me chicken? You know I don’t like chicken.  Send out and get me something else.”

“Mrs. Williams, can I eat his if he doesn’t want it?”

“Mrs. Williams, I don’t like legs, will you trade with me?”

“Mrs. Williams, I didn’t get my corn.”

“Okay, people, let’s decide who owes what.”

“Mrs. Williams, I don’t have any money, can you take if off my paycheck at the end of the week?”

“Mrs. Williams, I only have a 50 dollar bill, can I open the register and change it?”

“Mrs. Williams, I didn’t get my corn. Did they charge you for it?”

“Mrs. Williams, I wanted corn and I got mashed potatoes. Do I have to pay for their mistake?”

“Mrs. Williams, I’m still hungry. Can I have this piece you have left?”

“Martha, did you send out for something else for me to eat? I’m starving. I can’t understand why you don’t ask ahead of time rather than assume I want something.”

“I told you we should have gotten tacos.”

“Don’t blame me, I wanted pizza, remember?”

“It was all her idea.”

“Mrs. Williams, I got chicken grease on me. Will the store pay for having my dress cleaned?”

“Mrs. Williams, you have down here I owe a dollar eighty three, is there tax on this?”

“Mrs. Williams, I changed with her so figure out what we each owe now.”

“Can we order tacos tomorrow?”

Frankly, I don’t know why the government hasn’t come across the problem of lunch time blahs. Maybe they could rectify the problem with some sort of ruling. Who was the fellow who said,  “A chicken in every pot?” I wonder if he meant original recipe, extra crispy, mixed package, white or dark or what? Does anyone have Tums?