Unfiltered Story #157536

, , | Unfiltered | July 11, 2019

Four Cents

These look good. As I gazed in the mirror while trying on a pair of blue jeans in one of the many dressing rooms in the men’s division of Kohl’s department store in North Canton, Ohio, on this autumn evening in 1996, something suddenly crossed my mind. I verified the price tag. Eighteen fifty. I should have enough … even with tax.
I changed back into the jeans I wore into the store. Waiting in one of the checkout lines, I pulled my wallet from my rear, right pocket and slid my $20 bill out. When it was my turn, I laid the jeans on the counter.
“Hi,” I said to the female employee behind it who looked to be in about her mid-40s.
“Hi,” she said in a solemn tone, face down.
Waiting for the woman, who looked to be in somewhat of a hurry, to ring up my purchase, I handed her the twenty.
“Twenty dollars and four cents,” she said.
Whoops.
“Uh, you know what?” I asked her rhetorically with half a smile. “I only have a twenty. I didn’t think it’d be more than $20.” There’s gotta be one of those penny things (for customers who are short a penny or two … or four in my case).
“It came to $20.04,” she said grimly.
“Oh … well … I don’t have any change, uh … .” C’mon, what the hell’s four cents?
“Don’t you have a checkbook?” she asked in a rather testy tone.
“Yeah … but … .”
“Well, you have enough in their to cover the jeans, don’t you?”
“Uh … no,” I said, hoping no one heard me and thinking maybe I was on Candid Camera.
This’ll do it. “My checkbook’s out in my car. … I suppose I could go out and get it … and write you a four-cent check,” I said with sarcasm oozing out of me. I couldn’t believe this was happening and was sure this little bluff would bring this dame to her senses.
The woman said nothing. She just sighed. She may as well have had a sign on her forehead that read, “Beware, I’m PMSing it today.”
So out to my car I went. As I walked out of the store, I was dumbfounded. I can’t believe this bitch is actually lettin’ me do this. … It’s fuckin’ rainin’!
After fetching my checkbook I sloshed back into the store, rainwater dripping from my head. I laid the checkbook on the counter and asked the woman, who by now looked so irritated with the matter that I honestly thought she was going to explode, for a pen. She handed me one, but not without an attitude.
“Thanks,” I uttered half under my breath in a tone intended to make the woman believe I thought I was burdening her by simply requesting a writing utensil. By now, there was a line behind me. Let’s just get this over with and get outta here. As I was about to write the amount of the check in the space that called for spelling the sum out, I looked up at the lady.
“Uh … I’ve never written a four-cent check before,” I chuckled. “I don’t know how to do it. … Do you?”
The woman – er, witch – offered a sigh that could be deciphered in one way and one way only: @%#$&*! Then, suddenly, I heard a soft, sweet voice from behind me. “Need four cents?”
I’d never been so happy to hear any three words my entire life. They’d come from a young woman waiting in line directly behind me.
“Yeah! … I appreciate it,” I said, happily accepting the young lady’s kind offer.
“Here you go,” I said to the female worker, handing her the pennies. “Hope it wasn’t too much of an inconvenience.”
Again, the sarcasm was simply gushing.
She took the money, placed the twenty and the four pennies in the register, bagged my pants, and virtually chucked them at me, nary a word … nor glance. She was sick of me. But guess what? I was fed up with her, too.
I waited for the nice girl who’d come to my rescue to complete her purchase. As we left the store together, I again acknowledged her kindness, and then glancing back at Ms. Bad Mood, uttered half under my breath, hoping she heard me, “She’s prob’ly just havin’ one of those days.”
Boy, do I hope it continues.

Moral of the story: Always carry change.