Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Etiquette of Coffee

I had a wonderful casual coffee meeting this morning with a professional acquaintance. The time was set for 8am, which meant that I basically opted out of drinking any coffee at home, or eating any breakfast, in favor of this meeting. But, I ended up in this etiquette quagmire that has happened to me more times than I like to remember:

a) Being the female. or perhaps because the gentleman initiated the meeting, he paid. Courteous - and we typically do alternate - so that's fine.

b) He opted for a rather basic beverage. coffee. black.

c) I really deeply wanted a gingerbread latte. I drink coffee "out" so rarely that I crave something other than drip. So I ordered one. But already my total was 2x his.

d) I therefore had to opt out of food, since, well, I wasn't going to make him pay for a muffin too.

So now I'm hungry. And at the office where our office manager (shout out, BC!) does stock some breakfast items, but still... I wanted coffee and a muffin. But there's no way to get out of the payment problem, and there's no way to somehow get around the silly dance. If I had said "I am going to get a muffin, so I have my part covered," he would have said "don't worry about it... I got it." And I still would have felt bad. It's all bad.

Any suggestions?


PD said...

Well I'm a plain-ole coffee drinker so I've been on the receiving end of this situation. If someone offers to order you a coffee, go ahead and order whatever it is you plan to get even if it's a $5 latte with whipped cream. They know that others arenn't the frugal boring people like them.

On the food. If you plan to see this person for lunch or coffee again, order your muffin with the statement "I'll get you next time". If this is a business meeting where they should have bought you lunch, order whatever you want and assume they will pay because whatever it is is cheaper than lunch would have been. If you feel truly that you should pay, order your coffee, sit down at the table with your friend or colleague, then say you have to go back for something and come back with your muffin. If they ask say you just got couldn't resist when you went up to the counter.

Capt. BS said...

I suppose an alternate approach would be to subtly poke him to see if he's secretly hungry or "wouldn't mind" a morsel of food... e.g., "Gee, those muffins look good. Wanna split one?" The splitting approach doesn't commit him to the entire muffin, and you get at last half a muffin versus none at all.