At What Price?
Near the end of my freshman year in college, we found out that my boyfriend’s fraternity brother — a guy I knew — was getting married. What was amazing, interesting, exciting was that he was getting married in the town of about 20,000 people where I grew up. The wedding would take place on a Saturday that summer. They college kids I knew would be staying for the weekend to party and enjoy each other’s company right now the street from my dad’s saloon.
My dad was a quiet and generous man who had the wonderful idea that the sun rose and set on my head. He was for almost anything that could bring a smile to me. So when I asked if some of the college folks could come to his saloon that Sunday afternoon for pizza and conversation, his answer was a smile of we can’t have them leaving town hungry. His words were “how many and what time?”
And as it turned out that my estimate of 10-20 and 2 hours for a pizza reunion became something more like 40-60 and 5 hours of talking. Pizza and fried chicken, beer and soda and other beverages were non-stop for the entire time. The whole while, I got to introduce college friends to my dad as sort of held court and sort of worked the bar.
Near the end of the afternoon, I noticed one friend looking a little nervous.
I asked, “How might I help?”
He said, “I’d like to talk with your dad.”
I introduced my friend to my dad. They shook hands.
Then my friend said, “I’d like to pay the bill. Could you tell me what we owe for all of this?”
My dad smiled and nodded. He washed a glass or two and set them on the bar. before he reached out for a small white pad of paper and a tiny orange pencil with no eraser. He began writing, figuring on the pad that was enveloped in his huge hands. He looked up and surveyed the room, then wrote something down. I bet he did that survey five or six times without saying a word, without even a question in his eyes or looking at me.
My nervous friend waited patiently with his wallet out.
I could tell he was wondering whether their would be room on his credit card.
About then, my dad stepped back held the white pad out about arm’s length as if he were doing the math in his head — which could well be. Then he stepped forward again, tore off the slip on paper on which he’d been figuring, and set it in front of my nervous friend.
My dad said, “I’ve been over this twice, and as far as I can figure this is what you owe — no tipping on Sunday.”
The piece of paper read ” $1.50″ — 40-60 people and 5 hours of beer and beverages — one dollar and 50 cents.
“Hope you don’t mind if I rounded it up. We don’t keep pennies in the register.”
I learned a lot watching that sale.
What do you take from this story? Do you see something worth remembering that I might not see?
Be irresistible … like my dad.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!
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