Why Chandler owes Phoebe 7000 Dollars

True Friends fans might already know what we’re talking about. Otherwise, this might be a pretty hard core piece of easter egg. Friends is full of plot holes and discrepancies, but this one is pretty interesting. Let’s take a look at Chandler Bing, Phoebe Buffay and the deal they made in the fourth episode of season one. A deal he breaks more than once…

In the Friends episode The One with the Thumb Joey has to smoke for a role he is playing, but he can’t. Chandler, who supposedly used to smoke, wants to teach him how to do it.
“Think of it as the thing that is missing from your hand.” Chandler says to Joey, while looking at a cig like it’s a bar of gold. “When you’re holding it, you feel right. You feel complete.” he continues, at which Joey asks if he misses it.
The funny thing is that this scene could be about the same, but with a smartphone in 2019. But I digress.
After Chandler takes a drag, he sighs: “Oh, my god…” and the damage is done. Chandler smokes again, after three years of being clean.

Phoebe’s problem

Meanwhile Phoebe has a weird problem which she shares with the group. Her bank added 500 Dollars to her account. While Rachel makes the excellent point that spending it ‘would be like shopping’, Phoebe feels badly about keeping the money. She contacts the bank and gets a letter.

“Dear ms. Buffay. Thank you for calling attention to our error. We have credited your account for 500 Dollars. We’re sorry for the inconvienience. We hope you’ll accept this football phone as our free gift.”

Now she has a thousand Dollars and a football phone. What to do? Pheebs gives the money to a homeless friend, who buys her a soda as a thank you. In the can is a severed thumb! “Floating in there like a tiny little hitchhiker.”
Meanwhile Chandler has trouble with his new smoking habit. He’s in his cubicle with his cigarette in a desk drawer. Apparently people’s sense of smell was pretty lousy back in the nineties, because nobody notices it. The other friends call him out on it. Chandler defends his ‘flaw’ by calling out the others on their shortcomings. He does try to quit, but he only gets grumpy.

The deal

Phoebe is bummed out because the soda people gave her 7000 Dollars for the thumb in her can. When Monica tells the group she’s breaking up with her amazing boyfriend Alan, they’re very sad about it. They usually never like Monica’s boyfriends. The friends, minus Monica, are dejectedly eating ice cream and then this conversation happens:

Chandler: That’s it, I’m getting cigarets. I don’t care. I don’t care! Game’s over. I’m weak. I’ve gotta smoke. I’ve gotta smoke.
Phoebe: If you never smoke again, I’ll give you 7000 Dollars!
Chandler: Yeah, alright.

Phoebe is not one to break her word, so we can be sure she gave the money to Chandler. The deal is he NEVER smokes again… Let’s fast forward to season 3.

Season 3, episode 17: The One Without the Ski Trip

In this episode Ross and Rachel have just broken up and they’re being total dicks about it. Chandler lights a cigarette.

Phoebe: Chandler, what are you doing?
Chandler: (Pointing at his smoke) Oh, my god!
Joey: You’re smoking again?!
Chandler: Actually yesterday I was smoking again. Today… I’m smoking still.
Phoebe: Why would you start again after chewing all that quitting gum?


Chandler: I’m telling you, this is just like my parent’s divorce, which is when I started smoking in the first place.
Monica: Weren’t you nine?
Chandler: Yeah? I’m telling you something, that first smoke after nap time…

‘Handle’ is my middle name. Actually it’s the middle part of my first name…

Phoebe apparently doesn’t recall their deal about the 7000 Dollars, but Chandler manages to quit smoking via hypnosis tapes.
In a later season his whole team lights up cigarettes during a meeting at work and he caves again. He tries to hide his smoking from his wife Monica, with whom he’s trying to have a baby at that point. She finds out, of course, and is furious about it. Maybe not a furious as Phoebe should be? This is the second time mr. Bing smokes again after accepting a buttload of money from his good friend Phoebe. The fair thing would have been if Chandler paid her back in The One Without the Ski Trip. Although we know that Phoebe probably wouldn’t have accepted it, but make him buy ten boxes of nicotine patches and a crapload of quitting gum in stead.

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