Monday, March 9, 2009

Cash Only, Please!

Standing in line at the concession stand at a state basketball tournament in Wyoming this past weekend, I found myself in a bit of a bind. My children, of course, were "starving," after a day at the gym, and when I realized it might be quite a while until we could pick up some real food, I relented to their begging and decided dinner would have to come from concessions. We stood impatiently in a very long line, while I wondered to myself why we didn't think of this idea before the half-time rush.

I perused the menu and decided I wasn't hungry. Nachos and hot dogs just didn't sound like they'd hit the spot. Then Hallee ordered a cinnamon pretzel, and as I watched the butter drip off the warm bread, drizzling with the cinnamon/sugar mixture, I found myself saying, "Two, please." We finished our order and stood in front of the cash register to await our fate.

That's when I noticed the sign. Cash Only, Please. Uh-oh. I panicked. I had no cash. Actually, as I found out a few minutes later, I had 35 cents to my name--not even close to enough to pay for our snacks. "Does that mean no checks, either?" I asked, feeling stupid before even hearing the response. Cash only means cash only. I could feel dozens of eyes on me from the customers waiting in line, and I was starting to sweat.

"No problem," I said casually. "I have family here. I'll just go borrow money from them and be right back." I felt like a complete idiot. I knew better than to go anywhere in Wyoming without cold, hard cash. Although I loved my alma mater state, I had to admit it had some major weaknesses, one being it didn't seem to be up to speed on the latest technology--credit cards!! I mean, this is the 21st century, isn't it? What place in all the world doesn't take credit cards? Wyoming!

I left my children at the check-out and hustled back toward the gym. Thankfully, I didn't have to go far. My sister, Katie, was at the end of the concession line. I borrowed $10 and ran back to pay, hoping my misery was over. "That will be $11.50, please," the lady said. You've got to be kidding me! I glanced at our measly dinner and determined this was not the way to get the most bang for your buck. How could this small cluster of snacks add up to $11.50?

I ran back to the end of the line, begging Katie for more money, like a child begging their mother for more candy. She laughed and handed me her last dollar, which meant I was still 50 cents short. I heard a lady in the line ask Katie if I needed some money. This cannot be happening! I dug through my empty wallet to come up with 35 cents before promising I would be right back with the additional 15 cents. They were tired of me by now. "Just go. It's okay. Just take your food and go."

My face crimson red, I gathered up our pretzels and hurried away, promising I would be back with the 15 cents later. Not daring to look around in case I saw someone I recognized, I wiped the sweat from my forehead and looked at Hallee, breathing a sigh of relief.

That's when I first noticed it. Hanging from her shoulder, as if mocking me, was her purse. "Hallee, have you had that purse with you the whole time?" I asked incredulously.

"Yea, why?" She didn't seem to see the irony.

"Why? Because you have money in that purse, and I needed money to buy your dinner just now. Let me see your wallet."

She handed over the wallet, which I found contained $45. "Hallee!! Why didn't you tell me you had all this money when I was up there making a fool of myself?"

"I didn't want to break my twenties," she said, as if to say, "duh!"

I couldn't believe it! Here I was, looking and feeling like a complete idiot, all the while my daughter was standing right next to me, watching me sweat and panic, when she could have easily solved my problem. I wanted to shake her, to square her shoulders and look her in the eye and tell her how much embarrassment she could have saved me, but . . . I found myself laughing instead.

"Well, the next time we find ourselves in a similar situation, and you have a wallet full of money with you, will you please bail me out?" I asked. I shouldn't have been surprised at her answer.

"Yes--unless it means breaking my twenty!"

I had obviously not gotten through to her, so I gave up. I borrowed money from Hallee's purse to pay Katie back and asked her to please pay 15 extra cents since I was definitely not going through the line again. Then I went back into the gym and forced down a now-cold pretzel. I couldn't help but think as I chewed through the dry bread that it had definitely not been worth it.

So, the next time I plan a trip to Wyoming, I am determined to remember three things: first, eating no dinner at all is better than forcing down a cold pretzel at a ball game; second, don't count on my children to bail me out of a sticky situation; and lastly, but most importantly, fill my wallet with cash!


The Websters said...

I was laughing so hard at this post and with all of the craziness of the weekend. It was great and tons of fun to see all of you. Can't wait to come to Cokeville and Utah again.

Melanie said...

I think I need to put Hallee in charge of my wallet...she would do a better job than me keeping cash in it!!!

The Martinez Fam said...

I got the giggles again just reading about that experience!! It was pretty funny. I'm just glad it wasn't me who had to start begging for money while 30 people were waiting in line to complete their orders.:)

Julie Summerhays said...

Oh Lori - that is too funny! Sounds just like my Kendalyn - she hates parting with those big bills!!

Dan said...

Cash only is GOOD, not bad! I wish car dealerships and grocery stores only took cash; maybe the economy wouldn't be where it is now.

Borrowing money from your little tiny baby sister...I just don't know.

Taffy and Tony said...

I LOVED reading this story! How funny! Actually, it sounds like something that would happen to me! Sounds like Hallee is a good saver, too. Good for her not wanting to part with the big bills.

Tucker and Kira said...

Is It necessary for me to mention how much I hate Wyoming?! And I've spent a lot of time there. Never any good came from that place. EW. BUT... I do really enjoy reading your blog! And I wish I could commemt on your comments on mine somehow. Thanks for all the sweet notes. And you're right we BOTH are really cool and should get together!