Do You Need Your Penny Back? Day 41

10 Feb
Penny by Angie Friedel
Penny, a photo by Angie Friedel on Flickr.

I bribe my kid a lot: much more than any decent parent should. I’ll pay for it in the end, as there is a high possibility of her living in my basement when she is 40 if this continues. But for now, I am enjoying the power that comes with both getting her to do what I need and being the hero who gets to reward her for doing it.

The most recent bribe came last night when I wanted her to go to sleep, heaven forbid. She has been pulling this, “I’m hungry, mommy – I want dinner” stunt where tears run down her face as she perfects the saddest tone. She makes me feel horrible, like I starve her. I could have sworn I saw a fly sucking up one of her tears while I heard Sally Struthers asking me for “only as much change as a cup of coffee.” I couldn’t take it any more since I really wanted to sign off for the day and disappear in the TV. So I told her that I would take her somewhere special the next day if she would just try to sleep: the mall. They have this little area where the kids go crazy like they have never seen the light of day before, while parents play Words With Friends on their iphones and completely ignore them. (By “parents,” I mean, “me.”)

It is a routine to get her a pretzel. I handed the cashier $7 for $6.99 worth of pretzel stuff. She then told me to have a nice day. I stood there with one eye on the kid tugging at my coat and the other eye on the cash register that displayed, “$6.99.” As I must have looked confused, the cashier said, “Oh. Did you need your penny back?”

I didn’t know how to respond. I looked for a penny jar or something of the sort. Couldn’t find one. So I said, “No. That’s okay,” since I didn’t want to feel like a cheapskate, and walked away.

OF COURSE I NEED MY PENNY BACK! If it was five pennies, it would be a nickel, and you wouldn’t ask me if I wanted my nickel back, would you?! I worked an unknown fraction of time for that penny and it belongs in MY wallet. If there would have been a tip jar (I am going to put one in my kitchen – everyone has them) I would have plopped it in there without hesitation. But to ask if I “needed” it back was just weird. I bet she works for the IRS part time. “Oh, Mr./Ms. Taxpayer, do you NEED this money back that I took from you?”


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