On Croissants and the Difficulty of Discerning Intent


There’s a great bakery in Hyde Park called “Bonjour Cafe Bakery.” It’s close to where I live, and really has some of the most excellent croissants around.

I’ve gone there this morning for breakfast, and was remembering an episode that happened a long while ago. As I was paying for my purchases with a credit card, I asked the woman (the owner of the store) for change. I think I may have had a $10 or $20 at the time. She said no to me (and I think she also said sorry), but also muttered something under her breath in French and I heard the word “bank.”

I was a bit ruffled by this. But a bit later, I realized both of us had different mindsets about the whole thing.

For me, I wanted change so that I could leave a tip for the young workers who were helping me, prior to me checking out. I only had a larger bill, and wanted to leave them $1. That felt like it would have been good for the workers, good for the business, good for the owner.

On the other side of the coin, the owner’s concern was with keeping enough change in the register. If you don’t have enough singles to make change for purchases, that’s a huge problem. And potentially results in the loss of a sale. Or worse, prevents you from accepting cash while someone on staff has to run out and get more change.

As I was eating my breakfast this morning, I was remembering this exchange – and just how difficult it is, sometimes, to discern what another person is thinking. To truly know what another person’s intentions are. We can both mean well and want positive things, but find ourselves at odds as a result.

Related:
Breakfast at Fabiana’s Bakery
Goodbye, La Boulangerie
Pastry Market @ Logan Square Kitchen

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