Sometimes, the simplest things in life create tension in you. A few days after Christmas I took our car to be serviced at a dealership. On the way, I passed close to the store that sells my favorite donuts. I know I should not have been thinking of this between Christmas and New Year’s when most of us have overeaten or anticipate doing so, but I thought if I could “get away” with a bill of less than $100 for the car, I would stop at the store on the way home for some of their delicious donuts.

Barb gave me her old Kindle Fire to read my first book online. I feel like the Kindle has training wheels on it because I like to have the real book in my hands and I’m a page turner not a page slider. It helps to have Barb close by to ask her about various problems I encounter. However, I am proud to relate that I did not have to use my flip phone of many years to contact her while I waited for the car. It was quite peaceful as I waited in the dealership’s lounge sipping my peach iced tea and reading on the Kindle. As time passed and I got closer to an hour of wait time, the reality struck me that I might not enjoy those donuts after all. I mean to tell you, tension was building. I thought too much about the car and had to shut- down the Kindle. I felt very silly when in my mind I compared myself to my olden days in school waiting for my grade on a test for which I knew I hadn’t spent enough time studying the subject matter. Next, I thought about my experiences at my dentist. At my age, I experience more costly dental problems than yesteryear. At this, my six month checkup, will the dentist find much wrong? Another source of tension!

I am happy to report that the car bill was under $100. Donuts, here I come! I selected the donuts and asked if I could pay for them in the bakery department since the donuts were the only things I would be buying. No problem there. I paid for the donuts and the person waiting on me told me to wait for a moment while he got a “PAID STICKER” to put on the donut container. As he turned his back on me to go to the counter behind him to get the sticker, he left the cash register drawer, that was within arm’s reach of me, open. Working in Risk Management for much of my career, the cash in the drawer was just calling to me: “Take Me”.

Obviously, since I am writing about this experience, I did not help myself. I said nothing to the employee.

The next cause of tension was getting to my car in the parking lot as quickly as possible since my taste buds were starting to kick in (dumb me – now Barb knows I bought one more donut than I brought home in the package). Oh no! The slow shoppers were blocking my way and I couldn’t get around them to get to my car to satisfy my yearnings. Once outside the store, I lengthened and sped up my stride. Inside the car, I turned on the heater, put my seat belt on, and sat in the parking lot and devoured my glazed croissant, sipping my iced tea. Paradise!

Upon entering our house, Barb and I immediately took our places at the kitchen table and enjoyed a donut. But what about that open cash drawer? I felt bad not mentioning it to the store employee. Finishing our snack, I decided to retire my final tension by calling the store and speaking with the store manager about the open cash drawer. He was very pleasant, said the store had trained its employees not to leave unattended cash drawers open and it was time for some retraining.

Yes, there were some tensions in my trip but I made it through each one: small car bill, tasty donuts and possibly saved the store some money in the future.

Jeff Hall, of Honey Brook, contributes columns to Berks-Mont Newspapers. Questions/commentsmay be directed to

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