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Will you be paying together or separately? (Part 1 of 2)

Talk about putting you on the spot.

I was out with a couple of new friends I had met at a bookstore, and eventually the group of five people turned into two: me and a brown-eyed girl with long dark hair. We talked about coffee and shared our views on unconscious cues that people give off. Both of us being deeply interested in human behavior, we had lots to talk about. It was around six o’clock in the evening, and the sidewalk was getting a bit crowded, so we stopped by a coffee shop that either sold really bad coffee, or was operating illegally because it was empty from what we could see from the outside. We walked in.

Sometimes you don’t know how to order at a new place, you know? Some people let you pay once you get your drink, others you pay up front, you can open up a tab, you can stuff your face and then pay later.. it can get quite confusing. The barista was cleaning something in the sink and asked what she could get for us, so I ordered a house coffee, and Megan ordered a latte with some other italian sounding words.

“It’ll be ready in a minute, guys! For here, or to go?”

I looked over to signal that we’re going to be heading out, and she looked directly at me and walks over to the cash register, wiping her hands on a towel. I walked over, and took out my wallet.

“Where are you guys coming from?”

“A bookstore,” I reply, “the one two blocks down, on Fourth.”

I handed her a ten dollar bill, and she held it without doing anything else. She looked at me and then at Megan. Then she asked, “Will you be paying together, or separately?”

Megan looked over, and stood up. I turned toward Megan.

“It’s OK, this one’s on me.”

“No, no. It’s OK.”

I looked at the barista, Kelly, her name tag read, and motioned her to accept it. Looking over my shoulder, Kelly opens her eyes widely toward Megan and says “Would you like to pay separately, honey?”

Megan froze. She looked at me, and then at Kelly.


I turned around toward Kelly and said, “It’s fine, just take my money,” trying to sound as casual as possible even the though I was awkwarded out.

Kelly waited for Megan to say something.

What was happening? Why was this such a big deal?ย I made an obviously confused facial expression for Megan, out of sight from Kelly.

Megan laughed.

“Yes, that’s fine. I’ll get you next time.”

Thank you, Megan. You just got us out of this strange situation. Pheew. Awkwardness averted.

Oh, wait.

There were no sounds coming from the cash register.ย Kelly was still looking at Megan, trying to communicate telepathically or something.


I wanted to laugh.

Still silent.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

Silence again.

Megan didn’t know how to respond, and the whole situation was so awkward that we ended up paying separately.



Why was this barista being so weird? We asked her. Her response may surprise you. Or not. Yeah, it probably won’t.

Any theories?

Part 2 of this story is coming up on Wednesday.ย 

  1. EuphonicCharity #

    Had Megan been there before?


    Are Megan and the Barista friends? Did the barista know that Megan is an outspoken feminist who usually rants about guys paying for girls?

    November 25, 2013
    • Megan HAD been there before! I didn’t know that at the time, of course. But nope, not a feminist and they were not friends.

      It does have something to do with views about women though. Dang, you gave my story away hahaha.


      November 25, 2013
      • EuphonicCharity #

        I still look forward to hearing the rest of it ^_^

        November 25, 2013
  2. chunter #

    The question carries the assumption of “you are a couple,” but it is twisted into “do you want to be couple,” when the intention is probably “I’m returning a favor.”

    Shortly after getting married, after we were easing into being “used to” being a husband/wife pair, there was a string of restaurant visits where we kept being asked if the checks should be separate, along with an odd run of my relatives asking me what my wife’s last name is.

    November 25, 2013
    • Those are great points!

      Yeah, I can’t think of any married couples who pay seperately, but married people usually give off that vibe, you know? They seem so comfortable around each other (or annoyed, I can’t tell).


      Agh, I can’t give away the rest of the story!

      November 26, 2013
  3. Her response is much awaited.

    November 25, 2013
  4. Now we know why that coffee shop is empty. Kelly, the barista, is a piece of work.

    November 25, 2013
    • Yeah, hahaha! That would explain that part ๐Ÿ™‚

      November 26, 2013
  5. E. #

    i’m waiting for part 2 ๐Ÿ˜€

    November 25, 2013
  6. Ai… Megan has a boyfriend/husband and the barista knows that and in her opinion Megan should not accept a coffee from you????

    November 26, 2013
    • Wow. I swear you guys are too good at this lol. It is not quite that, but not too far off!

      November 26, 2013
  7. The barista is a feminist? It’s a lesbian coffee shop? It’s a feminist coffee shop? The barista was bought a coffee once by a guy who then expected favours?

    OK I’ll stop guessing and wait for the second part. But you asked for suggestions. Awkward! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    November 26, 2013
    • Not a lesbian coffee shop, but now I’m curious.. Are there such places? I mean I’ve heard of lesbian bars.

      And it did have something to do with views about women, though! Not quite feminism, well, in my opinion ๐Ÿ™‚

      November 26, 2013
  8. OMG so awkward! I need to hear part 2!

    November 26, 2013
  9. Kelly thinks women should be independent?
    Part 2! Part 2! Part 2!!
    Its Wednesday already!

    November 27, 2013

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