Our crooked baker

Sometimes I hear him, when i’m waking up early in the morning. He stops, turns his car around, gets out and hangs the bread on the hook.

Goodmorning! The baker!

When I hear him I know it’s 6 o’clock. We are the last house, so now he may go home. Usually I get up then, especially in summer. Have a cup of coffee with a fresh roll. Everyone is still sleeping, so it’s nice and quiet. I have the time to read a little and plan for the day.

And to write down the amount of bread delivered. I keep track of what he delivers, because the baker is a bit crooked. I’m very happy he comes by every day with fresh bread, but if I don’t watch out he’ll try to cheat me.

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He succeeded in doing so in the past

Easy-peasy. I’m a trusting person, so in the past I didn’t check. For years he’s probably been charging a few euros too many each week. I’ve been the best sponsor for his new shop. Unvoluntarily.

The turning point for never checking to writing everything down came a few years ago. Then, after a few weeks, I had to pay a pretty big sum. Usually I pay him every week, but sometimes I’d skip a saturday.

I’m a good customer, so that’s ok

After a month it summed up to a pretty big amount. I was temporarily dumbstruck. I paid, but it kept niggling. Something was wrong. It couldn’t possibly be that much. I did some guessing and calculating and found out I paid about 50 euros too much.

It became a bit clearer.

I realized I had to pay more attention

So every saturday I was calculating the amount as well. Each time it was too much. Twenty cents, a euro, sometimes a few euros. What do you do in a situation like this?

It’s not like you have to make a scene, but it doesn’t feel right. I want to be able to trust people. And I’m happy he comes by every day. Imagine if I’d have to drive to the baker every day! After two days that’s going to become quite a nuisance.

When he tried to make me pay three times for the same week, I didn’t care about making a scene anymore and confronted him. He understood that I wasn’t going to pay for the same week three times. He tore the paper apart and came by the next monday, as he always does. As if nothing happened.

I didn’t expect any different.

It’s become something akin to a game by now. He knows I’m watching him, but he can’t help himself.

Sometimes all goes well for weeks

but then I’m not there on a Saturday and yes, here we are again, the bill is too high the next week.

Because of that I got accustomed to write down the amount of bread I want.

On saturday mornings I often tell him how much I owe him instead of him telling me.

He uses an old agenda to keep track of all his customers, and uses a old piece of paper to sum up what they owe him. Obviously he could have bought a calculator long ago but with this system he can make “mistakes”.

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Last time we laughed about it, without even saying a word. He was busy with his piece of paper, and tried to make some “mistakes”. I showed him my piece of paper and it was obvious.

Laughing we parted “Bom fim-de-semana! Bom descanço!”