With the ring of the cash register, our relationship shifted.
The transaction had started, as it always does, with the struggle of getting the attention of someone behind the counter. That is hard enough to get a server’s attention at a joint Dunkin Donuts-Baskin Robbins at any time of day. It’s twice as hard before 9am. At that time of day the staff’s focus wavers only between the growing line and the rapidly depleting coffee pot. But my sister and I are tactical in our pursuit of ice cream, especially when Baskin Robbins – known for offering 31 flavors – is offering a scoop for $1.31 in honor of the 31st day of the month. We split up for a two-pronged attack; she stood in line while I attempted to wave down an employee behind the counter. She got to them first, I joined her, and we ordered our early-morning ice cream.
The cashier, confused but polite, rang up us. “$4.73,” she said.
“No,” I shook my head in confusion, “it’s not.”
“It’s the 31st of the month,” my sister explained. “The scoops are $1.31 each.”
“No, they are not,” the cashier informed us.
She stared at us. For a moment, we stared at her. Then, I glanced down at the ice cream cones we held and knew that in this stand-off we were guaranteed to win. “Don’t worry,” I assured my sister as the clerk kept her eyes on us as the manager warily approached.
On one side of the counter was the cashier and her manager.
On the other side was me, my sister, two ice cream cones, and a coupon:
“We already have the ice cream,” I pointed out to my sister, “and they can’t get it back. As far as they know we could walk out without paying a cent.”
We wouldn’t, but our adversaries didn’t know that.
They looked at our coupon in surprise, looked at the ice cream we were holding on the other side of the counter, and – without looking at us – reentered our order into the cash register.
“$1.31, each,” our cashier said as her manager walked away shaking her head with puzzlement.
We appreciated the customer service. Especially after my sister re-read the coupon and pointed at that not all Baskin Robbins locations were required to participate in the $1.31 scoop day. It’s not every chain store that will honor the promises of its corporate headquarters. So, thank you to
Baskin Robbins at 1342 Amsterdam Avenue
for honoring coupons,
and for knowing when you’ve been out-maneuvered.