Thursday, July 3, 2008


I just went to the slev's by my office for a couple morning necessities. You know, advil, red bull, two packs of lucky strikes, a taquito from the heat roller case, and a ten-pack of scratch-offs. All right, I'm not quite that ghetto, that's pretty much what everyone else there was getting.

After waiting in line for five minutes while the guy in front of me carefully selected his Powerball numbers by hand -- because using six non-randomly selected numbers dramatically increases your chance of matching the ping-pong-balls than six computer-selected numbers -- I handed the lady a twenty for my $6.87 purchase. She gave me back $13.10.

I stared at the palm of my hand for a minute, confused. I looked again at the register. Yes, the price was $6.87. I looked back at my hand.

Jamie: It's $6.87, right?

Clerk: Right.

Jamie: (Confused) The change is $13.13.

Clerk: Right. $13.13.

Jamie: Umm. OK. Maybe I'm missing something. This is ten cents.

Clerk: Yeah?

Jamie: Do you see the problem here?

Clerk: No.

Jamie: Umm... how can I make this any more clear? I would actually like ALL the change. This is 10 cents, not 13 cents.

Clerk: (Finally appearing to understand) Oh, ok.. umm...

I don't really care about the 3 cents, of course. In fact I despise pennies, and usually leave them in the penny tray. This is about principle. About the idea that someone thinks it perfectly fine to shortchange ANY amount of money, and not only that, when called out on it, doesn't really even see the problem. And if it had been one or two cents, I might not have said something, since at least that's rounding in the right direction. But rounding down - when the closest nickel is up - is being given the finger.

As it turns out, she doesn't actually have any pennies in the cash register. Which I suppose was her reason for shortchanging in the first place. So the incident finally ends with the cashier getting my three cents... by raiding the charity jar. Classy.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

The real question: what cheap-ass puts PENNIES in a charity jar? At least huck a nickel in there.