That’s what my Mom said after I told her the story.
Wait, let me back up a bit…
The year was 1984 (or close to it).
Mom had dropped my younger brother, Chip, and me off at Georgia Square Mall in Athens.
She had errands to run or some other place to be.
But that was OK with us, because we got to hang out at “The Mall.”
The food court, the arcade (ours was called “Time Out”), time to wander and be unsupervised for a while…
In ‘84, I was 13 and Chip was 8.
So Mom dropped us off, and probably gave us $20-25 for the arcade and lunch.
This was a few years back and I don’t remember every single detail, but I know we eventually sat down for lunch at Pizza Hut.
And we’re not there 5 minutes until an older woman walks over to our table. It was Helen Price, a neighbor and close friend from down the street.
I’d known her as long as I can remember.
Remembering Helen, I’m sure she made some wise-crack about us being up to no good. But she really just wanted to say hi.
So we order.
We eat our food.
And the bill comes.
I check my pockets again. Chip is doing the same.
We don’t have enough cash to cover our lunch.
Now I don’t remember us being short by a lot, but short we were.
So after killing time and multiple drink refills, I finally break the news to our waiter.
The waiter tells us to hang on and walks off.
A couple minutes later, another guy walks over and introduces himself as the manager.
And I sheepishly told this very nice gentleman that we didn’t have enough money for our bill.
I remember him being very patient and understanding.
He asked when our Mom was picking us back up and I told him.
He said to not worry about it and just have my Mom come by when she came to pick us up and they’d take care of it.
He “released us” back into the relative comfort of the mall.
We were off the hook..
But now I have to tell my Mom about this.
And the first thing my Mom said was, “Why didn’t you just ask Helen?”
In hindsight, that’s a good question.
Was I too embarrassed? Too prideful? Something else?
I’m not sure.
But looking back I find it interesting that for some reason I already had some “money scripts
” - or stories we tell ourselves about money - that I’d internalized.
At age 13.
For whatever reason, I wasn’t willing to approach a long-time friend - one that had already come over to say hi - and ask for a couple of bucks.
Why is that?
And why do you make money decisions the way you do?
What money stories, both positive and negative, do you unconsciously tell yourself every day?
It’s food for thought (yes, pun absolutely intended).