flat broke

I don’t think this happened to me before. Standing somewhere at a checkout, discovering that I don’t have enough cash left to pay for the goods.

In modern times, this is not really a problem, usually, because just about everywhere, there are direct debit or credit card tills. Hell, even your bus ticket can be bought with plastic money. But not so a doner kebab.

Last night, after work, I rang sweetheart, who is sick with the flu, on my way home to enquire, whether he has gotten any better and was already out of the house during the day. Or if he still is in too bad a way to cook. With the fridge still empty. He wasn’t better and there was no dinner. He fancied doner kebab. So I went around to the doner grill, placed my order, opened my wallet and stared at two single five Euro bills. One Euro short of the total cost of what I had ordered, by my calculation. I was surprised, knowing, there still should have been some cash left. But then it dawned on me, that I had given cash toward a birthday gift for a colleague earlier on that day, as I am going to be on holidays, when that is  due. I asked, if I could pay with a card, but the grill master drew his shoulders up apologetically. Cash only.

I felt somewhat embarrassed, when I had to excuse myself to the line of customers waiting behind me for the hold up, asking the guys to put aside my food and give me some time to organise cash.

First I checked the little dashboard compartments in my car. I thought, I had some coins stored there to use for unlocking shopping trolleys in front of supermarkets. And sure enough, there was some coinage, but only shopping cart chips, no real money coins. So I had to trod down to the next branch of a bank, to draw cash. And it was not my brand of bank, either. To get the one hundred Euros off my account, they charged me 4,50 € on top. That’s how to embarrass yourself and be punished with a 4.5% interest charge just to end up with stale fries and a soggy kebab for dinner, all in one go.