The Totally True Tiverton Dunkin’ Caper, a Case of Little Cents
My paycheck does not contribute to the success of Dunkin' or Starbucks, even though I have an iced coffee occasionally on the weekend, particularly if my wife and I head off for a Sunday afternoon adventure somewhere.
I will even sip a cold brew during my radio program from time to time, but it is not a daily habit.
On a late Saturday morning recently, while dashing from bookstore to bookstore and hunting down some Christmas presents, I gave in to a craving for a Dunk, and there was one right there on the right on Route 81 in Tiverton.
Since the motor on my driver's side window only works when it wants to, and the line at the drive-thru was too long anyway, I parked the car and went inside.
"A medium cold brew, cream only," I told the woman behind the counter. My drink was ready in a jiffy, and I promptly handed the clerk a $5 bill for a $4.07 cup of coffee (the reason I don't do coffee out all that often).
After staring at her cash drawer for a moment, the busy woman proclaimed, "Your change is 93 cents, but I have only a few pennies in the register. Would you settle for three cents?"
"No," I replied. "How about if you give me a dollar, and the company eats seven cents?"
She thought for a second and then reached into her tip jar and offered me 50 cents of her own money.
"Would that satisfy you?" she asked.
Just then, the manager, who was schlepping drinks of her own, leaned in to see what was the matter.
"I owe him 93 cents, but I have no change in the drawer, and he won't take the three pennies that I have," the frustrated clerk stammered.
"Then just give him a dollar, and we'll figure it out later," the manager said before pumping a double squirt of pumpkin spice syrup and disappearing into a crowd of equally harried crew members.
It occurred to me later that neither the clerk nor the manager ever asked if I had the seven cents. That would have solved the crisis instantly. I didn't have it, but no one thought to ask.
I also wondered why the manager of a place as busy as a Dunkin' would not have visited a bank at some point during the morning to be sure there were enough rolled coins on hand for the day.
I suppose this old dinosaur, with his paper money, disrupted a fairly smooth operation accustomed only to plastic cards and digital apps.
Dunkin' makes a hell of a lot more money than I do so they can afford to swallow my seven cents. Let that be a lesson to them anyway for not being better prepared.
By the way, there really is no coin shortage.