This happened when I was travelling to Canada from India for my Bachelors.
Coming from a middle-class Indian family my parents have always taught me to have a tight grip on money and not spend lavishly on anything.
A major chunk of my life (from Higher secondary education till I graduated my Bachelors) I was in a hostel .
I hardly used to get Rs. 1000/- as my pocket money every month. Sometimes less because my mom would use that extra money from my pocket money to pay the utilities.
I never demanded or complained anyway. I had been given numerous lectures on the importance of money even before coming to the Canada.
My dad took a loan to sponsor my Masters, but being a student with good academic background my college decided to fund me more than half of my entire tuition fee. We were happy.
So on the night before my flight to Canada my father handed me $1500 cash. This was for the airport expenses and for my first month’s rent for the apartment which I was supposed to share with another friend.
I boarded my flight. After almost 10 hours I reached Frankfurt (one leg of the journey was over). I had 5 hours to take my next flight to New York and I was hungry. Really really hungry.
Because the special meal that my mom ordered for me while booking the flight was inedible, I decided to eat after reaching Frankfurt. So I saw a sandwich place, I went there and checked the menu…cluelessly.
A lady showed up at the counter.
Her: Hi. How can I help you?
Me: Hello. I need a Veg Sandwich.
Her: Okay. What type of bread?
Now this is something I’m hearing for the first time. I didn’t know what to say.
Her: We only have normal bread. Do you want white, wheat or multi grain?
Me: White, Ma’am (takes a deep sigh of relief, I thought that was it)
Her: Okay. What do you want in it?
Me: (clueless again) Sorry Ma’am, I didn’t get you.
Her: (almost irritated) Miss,What veggies do you want in your sandwich?
Me: I don’t know what ever you have. Please make sure you add no meat.
Her: Yes, I heard that. You want a Veg sandwich. Do you like tomato, onion, lettuce?
Her: What sauce do you want? Mayo, Chipotle, Dijon Mustard, Hot Sauce?
Me: Ketchup. (I wasn’t familiar with anything, so I decided to go with Ketchup)
Her: Do you want it toasted?
Me: No. (Of course I didn’t know what she meant 🙂
By this time, I didn’t realize that there were 5 more people waiting in the line. I just wanted to get that sandwich and leave.
Now comes the most embarrassing part.
Her: Your total is six ninety nine (of course she meant 6 dollars and 99 cents)
I was in complete shock. $699 for a veg sandwich?? I only have $1500. I will only be left with $801. No… I don’t need that sandwich.
Her: Cash or card?
Me: Sorry Ma’am I don’t want the sandwich. I don’t have money.
She was like what the heck… Are you for real right now? I still remember the look on her face. She turned bright red with anger.
I was filled with embarrassment I just wanted to disappear into thin air. I literally ran away from there.
I was so simpleminded and dumb. Anyway I learnt a lot after coming to the Canada & later moved to Australia. It’s been almost 4.5 years. But this one incident still mortifies me.
Also, I decided not to take any plane that stops in Frankfurt.