Why Do Cashiers Keep Looking At Me Crazy When I Pay The Bill On Dates?

July 20, 2016  |  

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I’ve written about this briefly before but I feel it bears repeating, mostly because this theme, this question keeps showing up in my life. And it irks the hell out of me. Last year, when I asked a serious question about handing your man money so it appears that he is the one paying, I also told a story of the time my boyfriend and I went into the bodega to buy snacks. For those of you who missed it, my boyfriend was making a decision about the type of chips he wanted. And was taking a long time. I was getting a little annoyed about it. And since the cashier knew that I was going to be the one getting the bill (If you want to call the cost of chips and juice, a bill.) for the items, he said that since I was the one paying, he should get what I suggested.

Another time, in that same bodega, I can’t remember if it was before or after this incident, but another cashier, when I pulled out my card, made some comment about my paying. I told him, “It’s just snacks. He pays for me all the time. It’s okay.”

He then went into a speech about how he gets down in his relationship.

“I never let my woman pay for anything. Nothing. I pay for everything.”

I just raised my eyebrows.

Then, this past weekend. My boyfriend and I went to breakfast. He paid. Several hours later, he suggested we get some escovitch fish from this small Jamaican buffet in Brooklyn. After the server boxed the food, another man rang us up. My boyfriend handed him his debit card. Before he could run it, I remembered that he had paid for breakfast. I told the cashier, “Oh, use this card,” handing him mine instead.

You might assume that this was the end of the conversation. But it was not. The cashier looked genuinely confused, still holding my boyfriend’s card in his hand.

“But I have a card right here already.”

“I know but I want you to use this one.”

My boyfriend extended his hand then, saying “I’m not going to argue with her.”

He held the card a second longer before he took mine.

Given those three different experiences in less than a calendar year, needless to say I was and still am irritated by all of this.

As I said back in November, one of my life’s pet peeves is people trying to count or speak on what I should do with MY money. But even deeper than that I just wasn’t raised to let a man pay for everything. There have been examples in my own family where the man, the breadwinner, the footer of every bill utilized that position to exercise near tyrannical control in the relationship. And I don’t even believe a person needs to be morally bereft or stuck in the 1950’s to behave like this. Most of it is just human nature. If you’re paying, the other person’s opinion about the way things are done ultimately doesn’t hold that much weight. If you want to splurge or save, it’s your money and therefore your choice. Because at the end of the day, when it’s time to put up or shut up, the other person doesn’t have anything to contribute.

I was also taught that in the beginning of a dating relationship, you should at least offer to pay (for your half) of a meal or outing because you don’t want the man to expect something you’re not willing to give (I’m talking sex.), simply because he dropped some money on you. People only spend money when they expect to get something in return. And if your company and conversation aren’t worth the cost of the date, in his opinion, you don’t want him hounding you afterward.

But more than that, it’s just about fairness.

I like, love and care about my man. I want us to be able to see one another as often as possible. And I don’t want that not to be an option because he’s paid for every breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, gas, parking, rental car, ticket and all other activities since we’ve known each other. It’s not fair. I work and I want women to be treated with equality in this society.

Furthermore, it’s not a problem for us, in our relationship. And while I won’t tell anyone else how to behave or handle their money in their situations, I wish people, specifically these men who don’t know me, would fall back and mind their business.

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