Rules Are Made To Be Broken

File this one under, “I’m really not making this up.”

I went into Dunkin’ Donuts the other day and ordered a #6 — an egg and cheese sandwich and a medium coffee for $3.99.

But I didn’t want that much coffee (I knew I’d drink whatever was in the cup), so I asked the guy to just give me a small. He said ok, but when he rung it up, it came to $5.25.  I’m no mathematician, but even in Massachusetts that sounds like a lot of tax on a $3.99 order.

Turns out the small coffee wasn’t part of the package so the computer rang them up separately.  “No problem,” I said, “go ahead and ring it up as a medium, just give me a small coffee.”

No can do.  The kid behind the counter — very friendly and seemingly quite sharp — told me that he had to give me a medium coffee in order to give me the $3.99 price.

Eventually, we reached a compromise: I whispered to him over the counter as he was filling the cup, “Psst… just fill it halfway.”  He smiled, gave me a knowing nod, and that’s what he did.  A small coffee disguised inside a medium cup.

What’s it all mean?  To me, the message is simple: When you, a small business, compete with companies that are so large as to require a manual in place of common sense, you’ve got an unfair advantage. Are you using it?

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