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by Michele Lerner
There’s a classic Larry David moment on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” when he realizes he only has big bills and won’t be able to tip the valet parking attendant at a hotel. He swears he’ll pay when he has a smaller bill, but clearly the guy doesn’t believe him.
The moment resonates with many people — probably because something like it has happened to them.
It turns out that nearly everyone has had cringe-worthy moments when it comes to cash, and they happen in all manner of interactions — between strangers, friends, co-workers and even family members, according to a new CouponCabin.com survey.
Nearly half of the survey’s respondents (48 percent) said they have avoided someone or a particular situation that involved money because they knew it would be uncomfortable.
Painful Plastic Problems
The number one “most awkward money moment,” according to the survey, was having a credit card declined. Forty-one percent of respondents said that it was the most unpleasant money-related experience of all. Even worse, it’s a tough one to avoid unless you know that you’re near your credit limit and check on your credit card’s availability before you use it.
Other situations that people said made them squirm:
Feeling pressured to donate to a charity on behalf of a co-worker, family member, or friend. (Mentioned by 34 percent of respondents.)
Saying no to giving money to a panhandler or beggar. (29 percent)
Feeling pressured to chip in on a group gift at work, like for a baby shower or wedding shower. (25 percent)
Sharing salary/wage amounts with co-workers. (25 percent)
Splitting a dinner bill or check with a large group of people. (17 percent)
Figuring out a gift to get a partner for special occasions, like a first anniversary or a first birthday together. (14 percent)
Some of the embarrassing moments recounted by survey respondents include:
“I knew they were collecting money for someone at work and I could hear them going around, so I ducked out of the office.”
“When the bank announced through the loud speaker in the drive-up window that I didn’t have enough in my account to cash a check.”
“When a co-worker learned my bonus was much more than hers.”
“I caught a co-worker digging in my purse to find cash.”
“I thought I gave an usher a tip, but then realized it was a subway token.”
“When I am treating someone to a meal and they order the most expensive thing on the menu.”
‘Fess Up: What Money Situations Made You Cringe?
Whether you’re on the winning or losing side in a money moment, it can be equally awkward. What’s your most embarrassing money moment?
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