Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stomping on the little guy

So today at around four, I was called down by Joe, the music intern, because the guest band had ordered sushi and they needed a few interns to go down to the visitors center and pick it up from the delivery guy. He handed me a big wad of 20 dollar bills and said "There should be about $300 there. Enough for a good tip." So I rode the elevator downstairs and met up with the other interns and the delivery guy.

As I was counting up the money to pay, I realized that I only had $280 there. This was a problem, as the bill for the sushi was $271.05. Oops. I handed the guy the money and apologized, and he realized he was being severely shortchanged on the tip.

In heavily accented English, he inquired, "I only... I only get eight dollars?"

The tone in which he said this was very much akin to that of a child whose puppy you had just kicked. What made this worse was that he appeared to be in his late sixties, at the very youngest, with a pronounced stoop, and had almost surely made the journey on foot all the way from the restaurant. My heart sank, and I began to stammer out an apology.

"I'm sorry, they didn't give me enough money!"

Looking down at the floor, he silently handed us the bags of sushi and shuffled away without so much as an irritated sigh. He looked dejected, and I immediately felt awful for passing the buck instead of going back upstairs to the studio floor and seeing if I could get the extra $20 from Joe. Alas, the sushi was in our hands already, so there was little we could do.

I talked to Chris (intern coordinator) about it a little while later, and he said it sucked, but there was really nothing they could do, as it was the guest band's money and they had already received their food.

Sorry, elderly Aoki Sushi delivery guy whom I inadvertently ripped off. I totally didn't mean to.

And intern lesson #143 learned: Always make sure you are actually given the amount that people tell you.