The Change for a Five Look, Delay and Dip
|Practicing "The Look."|
I commuted from New Jersey to New York City for most of forty years. There are a few things you have to learn to survive commuting to New York City. You have to learn to make you own elbow room and squeeze your way onto a bus or subway. You have to learn how to flip and fold a large newspaper into a small square that allows you to read without hanging the newspaper over another passenger.
Ordering breakfast-to-go at any NYC deli in the morning takes technique. There is always a large line, and you must know exactly what you are going to order when it is your turn. If you pause, they will go to the next in line...there have been tourist known to starve to death as they could not get their order in fast enough.
Believe it or not, you also need to know how to receive change back on a purchase. “What!” you say? Let me explain.
Vendors in the city are masters at the “delayed change for a five look, delay and dip.”
Here is how it works.
Commuters are always in a hurry. When they make a purchase, they want to grab their change and go as fast as possible. They are also often thinking about work as they make their purchase. NYC vendors take advantage of this.
When you are racing for your train, you give the news-stand dude a dollar and wait impatiently as he hands you your 75 cents change (I’m going back to when the Daily News was a quarter…I actually remember when it was 8 cents). This was my routine every morning. Every once and a while instead of a dollar, I had a fiver. This is where the “delayed change for a five look, delay and dip” comes into play.
The vendor takes the five-dollar bill and immediately hands you 75 cents, he always has piles of 75 cents at the ready to speed things along, he then looks at you without saying anything…it is a “yeah, anything else” kind of look. He then slowly bends down and reaches for a pile of four dollar bills to complete the transaction.
Even the experienced commuter, in a hurry, thinking about work, when he gets the look, just takes his 75 cents and leaves out of habit. The vendor, thanks to the delay and dip, is not able to stop you. When he arises from his dip with the four dollars, the hurried commuter is off to work.
I fell for the “delayed change for a five look, delay and dip” a lot. I never even realized I got beat out of the four bucks until lunch when I needed the money and came up short. The realization was followed by a palm to forehead smack and a one word expletive that starts with the “PH” sound.
You may ask, “Why not just return to the vendor the next day and explain that you failed to wait for your four dollars the day before?”
Welcome to New York City.