I stopped by Unnamed Store tonight to pick up some coffee creamer. Coffee creamer is infinitely important to me, and I was certain I didn't have enough left at home to doctor tomorrow morning's coffee properly. This warranted a trip to the store. Unnamed Store has creamer for $1, so I ran in after picking MiniMe up from her friend's birthday party.
I found my creamer and brought it to the register. The young man behind the counter rang it up. Total was $2.06. After a little digging in my handy-dandy little all-in-one wallet thingy, I handed him $5.06 -- the last thing I needed was more change rattling around in my wallet. The clerk punched a couple buttons on the register and the cash drawer sprang open with a resounding ding. As I stood there, the young clerk looked at the register display, looked down at the money in his hand, and his face fell. "Oh, no," he said. He closed the cash drawer, punched a few more buttons, and looked at me apologetically. "I did it wrong," he said.
Color me confused at this point. Two items at $1 each, $2.06 total... No, it looked perfectly fine to me. I said as much to the clerk. He didn't respond, instead restarting from the beginning. Beep went the first item across the scanner. Beep went the second item. Again, the clerk totaled my purchases. Again, he punched a couple more buttons. Again, the cash drawer sprang open with a resounding ding. But this time was different. This time, the clerk smiled as he counted my change out of the drawer.
"I punched in the wrong amount," he explained as he handed me $3. "I entered $2.06 as the amount you gave me, and it said you didn't get change. But that wasn't right because you gave me more money." He pushed the cash drawer closed. "Now it's right." The young clerk smiled, extremely proud of himself.
MiniMe and I bade the store employees goodbye as we gathered our purchases stepped out of the store into early evening twilight. Once we were out of earshot, I looked at her. I know my eyes must have been the size of large dinner plates. I couldn't believe what I had just seen."Did he really just void that first transaction because he punched in the wrong amount tendered?" I asked.
"I don't think he could figure out the change without the computer," she replied.
I think she was right.
It's a sad story. It's a scary story. And the worst part: it's a true story.