Dining On A Dime

Escrow has closed, and with it, so has my wallet. It’s time for depression era ingenuity when it comes to the work place lunch hours, and the absence of community soup lines calls for some strategic planning of ways to stretch this almighty dollar. I wish I could laugh now and say “no, no, just kidding”, but the truth is we’ll be on a pretty strict budget for awhile. Also, the way I see it, If I can cut every possible corner on a daily basis I’ll be able to enjoy the occasional beer or lunch out with friends.

Fortunately for me, Apple has an onsite Cafe that allows me sufficient options to ensure I retain all my excess weight, and still get by for only a few bucks a day. For example, there’s awesome Chili for $2.50 a bowl, and Pasta with a great varieties of sauces for $3. Each of which is a sufficient quantity of food to hold one over. Remember, portions in the US are typically double the amount one needs. In the morning there’s plenty of free coffee to keep me going, there’s often free fruit on hand for the taking, and a couple pieces of toast are just 25 cents. For the mid-day slump, the department I work in tends to have sodas and a few stashes of less-then-healthy snack options on hand, should I grow faint.

Now, there’s a few little extra angles one can leverage if desperation rears it’s ugly head. These are the ones my wife hears about and labels me a “Shyster“. I’ll admit they’re not quite above board but they’re minor infractions. I’m not talking about a classic “Dine ‘n Dash” maneuver, I’m talking about sneaking some bacon bits and extra cheese onto a burger by way of the salad bar, or the occasional refill of soda in a cup that never got filled the first time around. Minor infractions, right? I’m not aggressively breaking the rules, I’m just bending them a tad so I can squeeze through. Or so I rationalize….

I’ve got a great little story that relates to this. Years ago, in the mid-late 90’s, there was an orange juice machine in the cafe. You’d press a button, real oranges would be sliced and squeezed and the juice would poor into a glass. At the time I’d been ‘bending the rules’ a bit more then I would today. I like to think i have a little more ethics now. Or so I rationalize….

So on a day that Dan Meader and I were getting breakfast in the cafe, as we paid for our food, he humorously joked with the cashier, gesturing to me and the cup of coffee in my hand, saying “Don’t trust him he’s really got orange juice in there”, or something to that effect. I laughed, she laughed, he laughed, I paid for my bagel and took it with my coffee to a table, where Dan and I sat down to eat. I briefly berated him for making a joke at my behalf when checking out, then, much to his surprise, lifted the lid on my coffee cup to start visibly drinking the orange juice therein. He had no idea and never seen me do it before. It was a fluke call on his part. He busted out laughing even harder to find out that what was a totally spur of the moment attempt at humor turned out to be ironically true.

It was the last time I did that, and I think it was a warning to start developing more ethics. Or so I rationalize… Luckily, they didn’t stop and check when he made the accusation, but the OJ machine disappeared a short while later.



Written by gsm

03/01/2007 at 8:08 am

Posted in  Journal 

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