We are a McDonald’s family. They have hands down the best fries and frappes. And going there gives us some non-elitist bona fides. (Until the pomposity of that last sentence anyway).
Still, sometimes I wonder if the grass is greener or cows are juicier at some of the pricier burger joints.
The other day, we succumbed and bought four burgers at Five Guys in Parkville. After lunch, I asked: “What do you guys think? Was your burger worth five bucks?”
“Each?” said Pippa. “It was pretty good.”
“What if you were paying for it?”
“I’d go to McDonald’s.”
Giving young people ownership perspective helps get to the meat of the matter.
I Hear the Community College Has Space for New Students
The McDonald’s story reminds me of when Pippa came home from college recently. I asked: “Was that semester worth $15,500?” That’s how much we pay for tuition and room & board.
“Ummm.” She thought for a bit. She personally borrows $2,750 a semester for college, so she has a built-in ownership point of view.
A lot of the semester expense is room & board ($6,375) that she’d be incurring wherever she lived, so she agreed that $9,000 in tuition is a good investment in her future. I agree.
It’s worth checking though. Lots of people get a perfectly good education at their (much cheaper) community college.
Related: How Our College First-Year is Balancing Costs And Income
What Do You Do When Only Your Son is Watching?
We’re getting some work done in the basement, so I have to run to the hardware store occasionally to get supplies. Grey often comes because he likes to drive and I like the father-son time.
This time, we were picking up grout for tiling. I selected a $32 box of grout powder.
I scanned its barcode at the self checkout. It rang up for $.01.
“Hey Grey, check this out, it’s showing it’s worth a penny. Crazy!”
I called the Home Depot woman over and she fiddled with the electronics and scanned it herself and fiddled some more. “How many are you buying?”
“Just the one.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she said. “I don’t know what the problem is.”
In the car on the way home, Grey said, “We could have just walked out and you could have given that $30 savings to me – you know I could use it. Home Depot has lots of money, and it was their equipment’s problem anyway.”
I should have said something like “I know, but integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
Check that. Teenagers have finely-tuned BS detectors. Instead I said: “If I was running that store, I’d want someone to tell me.”
And this time, there was no penalty for doing the right thing. I still got it for a penny and I felt good about it too.
Related: What obligation do we have to companies?
Do You Have a Briefcase for That Squeegee?
Grey was driving us down MLK Boulevard on our way to mountain biking at Patapsco Valley State Park. In the distance I saw a scrum of squeegee kids working an intersection.
I tensed up and said a silent prayer for a green light. God said “Nope!” and the light turned yellow as we approached.
I locked the doors. I’ve never had a bad experience myself, but two friends have. One had her purse stolen, and the other was sprayed in the face with washing fluid. Squeegee kids are inner city kids hungry for a buck, and they definitely haven’t been schooled in the finer points of customer service.
Of course, they hang at the longest red lights, and we were stuck there for like an hour. Or maybe two minutes. They made their way to our car. I told Grey to play it cool.
Head shaking ignored, one kid goes to work on Grey’s window. I dig into my pocket for a single and pass it to Grey. I’ve seen enough mafia movies to know that the corner store only gets “protected” if the moolah flows.
The light turns green, Grey opens the window a crack and passes the bill. The kid says thank you and returns a business card:
Wow. Maybe I need to check my assumptions. Even squeegee kids are going all chamber of commerce.