October 21, 2009


Hundred Bill Corners

I’ll admit that I am one of those people who unfortunately gets embarrassed quite easily.  Hell, I start to flush & have to change the channel just by seeing someone make a fool of themselves on television.  However, this past weekend I ended up in a situation with my husband that made both of us literally PRAY for the earth to open up and swallow us whole.  I mean, it was one of those moments where all you want to do is run away as fast as you can, but have no choice but to just stay there,  like you’re feet are stuck in mud.  No, this did not involve any sort of intoxicated lewd behavior (although we consumed numerous glasses of wine throughout the whole affair)!


Now hold on, let me just set the scene:  we were at dinner with friends (who WE were visiting from out of town), and another couple (who we had only met once before), after an afternoon of wine tasting & celebrating birthdays.  The chef at this restaurant was our friend’s brother.  The hubs and I had secretly plotted to pay for the whole tab, as a way to say thank you for the hospitality & for the day, and had given the waitress our card on the sly.   People were already beginning to thank us and we were reveling in our grand gesture of kindness!

So, as the waitress comes back and starts whispering to my hubby, I slowly realize what’s happening.  Dread fills every inch of my body, as I watch the wives already leaving the table to head outside with the kiddos.  So, we pass on another card to the girl….no biggie, problem solved!  Unfortunately, she comes back – DECLINED, AGAIN!!  Yikes!  At this point I am so MORTIFIED that I can’t even see straight.   I had to get out of there fast, so I abandon my darling husband by running off to the bathroom, where I shut the door behind me and breathed deeply for several minutes.  I came back to find that we had now split the bill three ways (and strangely no issues this time around).   We shuffled off to the car in silence as my stomach began to turn in knots, as if someone was stabbing me right in the gut.  I was literally physically ill and nauseas!

Now, here’s the kicker – once home (since there was no cell service the entire car ride), calls were made and guess what??  There should never have been any issues!  Plenty of money in the account on the debit card…BAM!  Plenty of cash flow available on the credit card with no problems of any kind….BAM!   So, the only conclusion we can draw is that the waitress somehow fudged things up.  Yes, in hind sight we should have had her re-try with my card or call the bank….but did I mention those many glasses of wine we had guzzled?  Yeah, they didn’t help the situation!

It didn’t matter though, the damage was done.  The IMPRESSION that we were poor slubs who obviously didn’t realize the depth of our seemingly non-existent finances was already made.  Look, I know a lot of people would say ‘so what?  it was an honest mistake’.  But here’s the thing:  having your credit card declined in front of friends after you’ve boasted about paying for everyone’s bill, is  just one of those social embarrassments that really suck ass!   No one wants to appear as if they have no money and/or have maxed out the credit cards. NO ONE!   And the more you try to explain, no matter how valid the reason, the more you look like a schmuck.

Our friends are great, and I know they don’t care & understand.  Still, ugh….embarrassing!  So here’s the question then – from an etiquette perspective, what would be an appropriate gesture/gift/expression to say ‘SORRY ABOUT THE WHOLE MESS AND THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING’? 

Ooofah, what a weekend!  As a side note, the fact that Aunt Flo came on full force that morning  (sorry, TMI) and I subsequently had an “I hate my clothes and feel like a bloated blob” kind of day,  DID NOT  HELP MATTERS!!

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