Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Do-Over Rule

Here’s something I like about people:
This morning, I watched a well-dressed woman leave the Evergreen Coffee House and proceed to trip over her high heels and spill her non-fat latte all over the curb (and her purse and her legs).
She didn’t actually fall, she just kind of stumbled. (This was a latte tragedy, not a medical one). Anyway, she straightened herself up and went back inside the coffee shop.
It just so happened that I was on my way to get my own non-fat latte at the time. I got behind her in line.
“Do you think they’ll give me another one?” she asked.
“Can’t hurt to ask,” I replied.
So she gets up to the counter.
“I spilled this,” she said—holding out her empty cup sheepishly.
“Oh no!” said the girl behind the counter. “What was it?”
“A double skim latte,” the woman replied.
And they proceeded to make her another one—for free.
This post is not necessarily to praise the Evergreen Coffee House, although it is a lovely place, but to praise a certain American phenomenon that I like to call the “do-over” rule. (Actually, this form of lunch-counter empathy may not be exclusively American. If any of my French readers—heh—have had a similar experience with a café au lait, please report back, tout suite!).
The point is: There’s no reason, logically, that this woman should’ve been given a second latte for free. She paid for the first one, dropped it due to her own lousy choice in footwear, and now wanted a replacement.
And yet—they always give you the free latte, don’t they?
They look at that empty cup (or ice cream cone) and think, “Wow, that sucks."
And you got yourself a free latte. God bless America.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

The "do-over" is a very heartwarming phenomenon. I've had my fair share of drinks and ice creams "done over."

I do wonder if this occurs in other countries? I know when I was in Italy and tried to ask a question or get some help, I would get a lot of "There is nothing I can do!" or "It is impossible!" I wonder if they "do" do-overs?

I hope some of your European readers can help!!