Author Topic: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?  (Read 4385 times)

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Dr. F.

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s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« on: June 03, 2013, 08:38:00 PM »
I'm combining two threads to ask others where they draw the line in terms of owing others money/being owed money. I tend to not worry about anything less than ca. $5 from people I know, under the assumption that it'll sort itself out over time. I can be more particular with people I don't know well, but won't fuss about anything under $1. Actually, I won't FUSS about any amount, but won't even think about amounts less than $1.

I keep remembering a friend of mine from college, who was, frankly, over-particular with really minor amounts of money - perhaps because her FOO had very little money. I remember one interaction between her and the mother of a mutual friend. Friend had made a local phone call from the mother's phone and spent about 15 minutes trying to offer the mother a quarter to pay for the phone call (which probably cost maybe 5 cents). Finally, the mom said, "Oh, go buy yourself an ice cream!" and refused the quarter. The whole situation made everyone seeing the interaction (and there were several of us - it was a fairly public interaction) very uncomfortable.

Where would others draw the line between standing up for yourself and being responsible and not causing undue fuss?

*inviteseller

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 09:01:05 PM »
I had a co worker who always 'forgot' to give change back.  He would offer to go get coffees and everyone would hand him a $5, coffee/tea was $2-$2.50, he would come back, hand everyone their drinks and walk away.  At first I felt weird saying "where's my money?"  but then I thought, hey, it is my money.  So after the second or third time in a month this happened (and repeatedly happened to another co worker, I asked him why he never gave me my change (he owed me $7 50) and he said "oh, did you want that?  Here, he was keeping our change and buying his coffee and lunch from it!  I quit having him get me anything because he copped an attitude after the last time (after I confronted him about keeping my money) because when he handed me the tea, he turned to walk away and I said 'ahem' and put my hand out.  When I would do our Friday lunch runs, I would write down what everyone gave me and make change immediately...even if it was just change.  It is not my money and I don't want it.

m2kbug

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 09:06:48 PM »
I probably wouldn't fuss over a change, but the reality is, I'm pretty broke, so I would probably be more inclined to fuss about a small amount of money than someone else.  I would have something to say about retrieving $5 or even $2.  A friend of mine was helping me with some computer stuff and kept using up my CDs which can't be re-written.  I started to fuss about that, and his response was they're cheap to replace, only about $8.  Well his $8 is my $80.  I had an equal argument with a bill company who mis-charged me.  Don't tell me it's ONLY.  That's 4 gallons of milk, thankyouverymuch. 

Some things do equal out where I probably wouldn't fuss about small amounts.  I guess it would just depend on who I'm with and how often we get together and trade off buying or treating each other. 

Tea Drinker

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 09:08:01 PM »
If it's someone I see rarely (even if we're good friends) we will each pay our own share unless there's a specific offer to buy the other person lunch/tea/etc. With people I eat with more often, we tend to divide it evenly and figure it will work out in the long run unless the split is obviously unfair: I don't drink wine and rarely order alcohol when dining out, and my friends aren't going to expect me to pay for a share of their cocktails or bottle of wine, for example.

But I have this weird quirk that if I owe you money, I will remember it and make an effort to repay as soon as possible; if you owe me a similar amount, I may forget about it. Not in the sense of saying "forget it" when offered repayment, but simply not remember. Asking someone for money they owe me makes practical sense, but repaying something I owe another person is an active obligation that I need to deal with.
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Slartibartfast

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 09:15:52 PM »
In general, I guess I base it on the amount of money I'd spend on this person for a birthday/Christmas present.  If it's someone I'd spend $40 on, I wouldn't mind $10 or $20 here or there - if things don't shake out in the wash and I feel like I'm being taken advantage of, I'll buy them a cheaper present this year  :P  On the other hand, if it's someone I wouldn't ever really buy a gift for and I'm not in a give and take situation, I'm much more strict about making sure everyone gets the money they're owed.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 09:25:59 PM »
I don't tend to worry about small amounts owed to me.  But I do tend to pay back those small amounts if I'm the one owing.

There are instances, though, where I will demand repayment.  It becomes a matter of principle.  A dorm mate in university asked me for a box of KD, saying she'd replace it.  When I asked her for the replacement a few days later, she told me to grab it the next time I went shopping and she'd pay me back.  I always bought it on sale but paid full price to replace it.  Then, when I asked her for the $0.79, she gave me this look like I was being ridiculous.  So I wrote it (and her) off.  A month or so later, another dorm mate called to ask if I had any eggs and could she buy a couple from me.  When she showed up to get them, she had $0.50 in her hand.  I waved her off and gave her the eggs.  At the time, eggs were probably $1.50/dozen so she was even offering way more than they were worth.
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m2kbug

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 09:42:25 PM »
In college I took to keeping toilet paper, toiletries, shampoo, etc. in my room to use when I needed it.  My bathroom was the guest bathroom and my one roommate kept housing her sisters (3), plus all our friends that would hang out, some of their friends from home might stay a weekend.  They would eat my food, use up my toilet paper, use my shampoo and toothpaste.  Normally I wouldn't mind, but 50 cents here, 75 cents there, it starts to add up, and I couldn't get anyone to reimburse me.  If they provided me with some TP when they went shopping or a gallon of milk or coffee, that would be fine, but that never happened, so I just stopped sharing.  It didn't go over well. 

Add the problem of retrieving money for long distance calls, as the bill was in my name, and so many people would use our phone.  I would highlight the numbers I knew per roommate, then go after the friends to see who claimed the number.  I'm the one that ended up eating the cost of $5 here, $10 there. 

Needless to say, our rel@tionship fizzled at this point.  It's good to try to maintain some even-ness where the money is concerned. 

CakeEater

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 10:19:49 PM »
I'm fortunate enough to be in a position to be able to let small amounts go - probably under a couple of dollars for most people, up to much larger amounts for those I'm very close to.

Another mother at DD's kindergarten invited me for coffee one morning after drop off- we'd spoken two or three times and this was the first time we'd ever done coffee. I put my order in, assuming I'd be paying for it, and she picked up the bill for both of us. It would have come to $12 or so. That made me feel quite uncomfortable,although I thanked her and accepted graciously, but it meant that I really felt like I had to go again and manvouver somehow to be repaying her similarly.

And she turned out to be someone I didn't click with terribly well, although she was a nice person, so it was just a bit uncomfortable all around and I think it's easier to pay my own way, and to be pretty scrupulous about paying people what they're owed.

Possum

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 02:29:08 AM »
I never loan money out I actually expect to get back.  It makes my life much easier if I just mentally call it a gift, and then I'm pleasantly surprised if it's paid back or reciprocated in some way. 

If it's change from food pickup or something, and the change back is more than I'd "tip" to cover their effort and gas, I do expect my change back, within 25-50 cents of what I'm actually owed back. 

And if I offered to grab someone a soda when they left their wallet at the office or something, I don't worry about it too much and I just tell them to return the favor next time. 

menley

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2013, 04:25:49 AM »
I probably make things really confusing in that I don't really care about receiving small amounts of change, especially with good friends, but I am pretty insistent on RETURNING small amounts of change, even with good friends. Haha.

Example: I have some great girlfriends that get together regularly for lunch. Sometimes one of us will need to borrow a coin to make payment easier (we live in an extremely cash-based city where merchants often get annoyed if you don't have exact change). The coins that we would borrow or lend would never add up to more than $1-2 USD. I am very diligent about noting down what I owe and repaying it as soon as possible, but I would never think to ask my friends to repay me if they borrowed from me. Like I said, it's probably confusing because based on my borrowing behavior, you'd think I'd be a stickler, and based on my lending behavior, you'd think I would care at all :)

Unless it's an emergency, though, I tend not to lend out any money to anyone more than a few dollars. I know the quickest way to lose a friend is to give them (or ask them for) a loan.

With the posters above who have had someone say "It's ONLY X dollars"... that would drive me insane. It's my money and my decision as to whether I care about those $X dollars!

darkprincess

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2013, 12:20:24 PM »
I have a few friends and family that never seem to return the change. These same people also will happily give you $10 to cover a meal that costs $9.99 before tax and tip and then everyone else ends up paying the rest. This can add up (tax is almost 10% and then a 15% tip means they underpaid by $2.50)
Because of this, if I see them I always stop and get enough cash in small increments (I get one ten dollar bill, one 5 dollar bill, 4 one dollar bills and 4 quarters.) Then I figure out what I owe and only give that to them. If it involves a tip I give the tip directly to the waitress.

WillyNilly

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 12:37:22 PM »
Among friends I don't care about a dollar or two, or even if a very close friend whom I do a lot with $20-40 - because I know at some point they will get me back and it all will even out. But there are some people, who I want my exact, down to the nickle or so money from.

Mostly I think it comes down to communication. i think my dad was good at instilling the communication aspect. when I was kid he'd hand me money and send me on an errand. I would present the change and he'd let me keep it. But if I ever dared to presume I could keep the change, I'd be made to not only give it back but I'd be punished somehow (not majorly but enough). So essentially I was rewarded for offering change, which of course instilled in me the habit of always saying "and here's your change..." And much like in the other thread (Its only a dollar or two) I've found when the change is offered (by me/to me) the answer is "don't worry about it" but when its not offered, even if only a few cents, there's some bitterness.

One thing with coffee or other small purchases and someone else buying though, is the "I fly you buy" mentality.  From a many responses on eHell, I think not too many people are familiar with this? Basically when its an under $5 thing, the "I fly you buy" mentality is the person who is going to get the coffee is supposed to be treated to it by the person they are getting the coffee for. I know a lot of friends who expect this to be a known norm. This is especially true when its a boss sending their assistant out to buy coffee or whatever - the boss hands over $5 and expects the assistant to get the boss' coffee but also to use the change to get themselves one. Any change after that would go back to the boss. The big problem of course is when someone expects it to be a norm but fails to communicate it!

NyaChan

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2013, 12:47:25 PM »
If it is a close friend and I'm not choosing to treat them, I will let up to $5 go because it will even out eventually.  After that, I usually expect that they'll pay me back or buy me something of that worth later in the evening.  Usually, doesn't require any thought or effort on my part.  Once it goes past $5, my friends (and I if I'm the one owing) will make a point of either indicating that we will cover the next coffee or that we'll have cash tomorrow. 

Now there is a certain person or two who I will ask back for even small amounts like a dollar simply because I know they are a moocher who will actively try to get away with not paying for what they order, "sample" other's items, and then either forgets to return loaned money or pay back by buying items of lesser value than what they owe.  I feel no need to be easy going with them as I know they will keep track of dimes and extra bites if we split something and they feel they are owed something.

AnnaJ

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2013, 12:53:38 PM »
Among friends I don't care about a dollar or two, or even if a very close friend whom I do a lot with $20-40 - because I know at some point they will get me back and it all will even out. But there are some people, who I want my exact, down to the nickle or so money from.

Mostly I think it comes down to communication. i think my dad was good at instilling the communication aspect. when I was kid he'd hand me money and send me on an errand. I would present the change and he'd let me keep it. But if I ever dared to presume I could keep the change, I'd be made to not only give it back but I'd be punished somehow (not majorly but enough). So essentially I was rewarded for offering change, which of course instilled in me the habit of always saying "and here's your change..." And much like in the other thread (Its only a dollar or two) I've found when the change is offered (by me/to me) the answer is "don't worry about it" but when its not offered, even if only a few cents, there's some bitterness.

One thing with coffee or other small purchases and someone else buying though, is the "I fly you buy" mentality.  From a many responses on eHell, I think not too many people are familiar with this? Basically when its an under $5 thing, the "I fly you buy" mentality is the person who is going to get the coffee is supposed to be treated to it by the person they are getting the coffee for. I know a lot of friends who expect this to be a known norm. This is especially true when its a boss sending their assistant out to buy coffee or whatever - the boss hands over $5 and expects the assistant to get the boss' coffee but also to use the change to get themselves one. Any change after that would go back to the boss. The big problem of course is when someone expects it to be a norm but fails to communicate it!

This is the norm with my family and friends - "I fly, you buy", but it generally meant leaving the house/office.  This idea is that the person 'flying' was using their own time and/or gas; the buyer benefits, so pays for the luxury of not being the one to go get the food or drink.  I agree with WillyNilly that it's a good idea to spell it out in new situations, but it's a workable rule as long as everyone knows and agrees with the idea.

siamesecat2965

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Re: s/o it's only a couple dollars/is this weird?
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2013, 01:05:43 PM »
I'm like whoever pointed out they don't care about someone "owing" them a small sum, but am diligent about paying people back when I "owe"  A dollar here, a dollar there, a few here and there, doens't matter. We have a lottery pool in our office, and we give our one admin $1 a week, and she buys the tickets. My CW and I (if we don't remember to do it before) will cover each other if one of us is out. I usually forget she owes me, but always make sure I give it back to her when she pays for me, ASAP.

As far as someone needed change or a dollar here or there, most of my other friends and cw's reciprocate. So if Im at job #2 adn run to Panera for coffee for me and someone else, I'll buy. and vice versa. I'm not going to get all bent out of shape for less than $2. But if we did it regularly, and the same person mooched, I'd be asking for their $$ up front.