An Oregon Political Parable

Mike Nearman_thb

by Mike Nearman

You’ll get a kick out of this

The other day I stopped off at one of my favorite fast food places to grab a bite to eat.  It was getting close to payday and I had to save some money, so I went straight for the value menu.  I ordered the basic burger, a small fries and skipped the soft drink, opting instead for plain old water.

As I handed the young clerk a $10 bill, I felt satisfied having done the rough math and knowing that I was going to have enough money left for my few other needs and to make it to payday.  After repeating the order and inquiring whether I wanted it for here or to go, I barked, “for here”.  She stuffed the $10 bill into the cash drawer, told me that my number was 156 and turned on her heel toward the kitchen.

Ordinarily, a little thing like the fast food clerk forgetting to give me my change wouldn’t cause me so much anxiety.  I’d just let her know and she’d realize her mistake right away, apologize, blush and give me my change, but – at least for the next few days – every cent counted.

I could feel the temperature rising in my forehead as I tried to play the middle ground between getting her attention and not making a scene over a few bucks and an honest mistake.  After a couple of grunts and a few hand waves, I gave up, thinking I’d bring it up when she brought my meal.  They get busy and it’s not always helpful to add distraction.

I kept my eyes on her, as she moved over to the shake machine and drew out a shake.  She put the shake, an apple pie and what looked like a garden salad on a tray, in addition to a burger and fries.  As she brought it to the counter, I stepped back, knowing that this meal was for someone else.  She made eye contact with me and announced, “Here you are, sir.”

I was puzzled, but this was my chance to work things out.  “This isn’t my order,” I gently announced, “and you owe me change for the $10 bill I gave you.”

She looked at me, as if she was going to have one of those difficult customer service moments, and explained, “You gave me $10.  In addition to the burger and fries, I got you a shake, a pie and a garden salad.  That comes to $10.”

Disbelieving, I said to her, “I didn’t want…”

Ok, that’s all I’m going to tell.  This parable wasn’t about fast food – it was about the Oregon Kicker.  You finish it.

State Representative-Elect Mike Nearman was elected in November to represent much of the rural Western Willamette Valley.  And he always wants his change back.

Editor’s note: In preparation for the upcoming 2015 Legislative Session, Oregon Democrats have introduced more than 40 bills so far to increase taxes on hardworking Oregonians – including LC 348, which eliminates the individual income tax “kicker”.