A Cents-less Principle

, , , , | Working | July 17, 2018

(I’m at the till of a supermarket. My items are scanned and I need to pay 2,36€. I hand over 2,50€. The cashier takes the money, puts it in the till, and closes the lid, before handing me my receipt and no change. It’s maybe important to know that in these parts of Germany, a friendly roughness and sass is normal, and “customer is king” obedience is not a thing.)

Me: “Sorry, but you forgot my change.”

Cashier: “No, there was no change. Look at the receipt.”

(I look at it and it indeed shows no change, as she hit the button for me paying the exact amount.)

Me: “I’m sorry. I mean, it’s just 14 cents, but in the future please make sure to put in the right amounts and give out the correct change. If your drawer comes up with the surplus cents, just drop them in the charity tin, okay?”

(I’m about to leave when the cashier decides to quite loudly address me again while ringing out the next customer:)

Cashier: “Well, if you are cheap enough to try to scam 14 cents from me, I am sure you need the money more than the hungry children in Africa.”

(People in line look at me, and some snigger. I am quite embarrassed, and pissed enough to not let this go.)

Me: “No, I’m sure I gave you 2,50€, and I want my change.”

Cashier: “You have some nerve. Do you need 14 cents that bad to risk my manager calling the cops on you?”

Me: “I think your manager is needed, indeed; please call him.”

(She finishes the next customer and turns to me again in a totally sarcastic tone.)

Cashier: “All right, all right. Here, let me give you some money out of my own pocket, as you are oh-so-poor. But, I’m sorry, will 15 cents do? I don’t have it any smaller.”

Me: “Get your manager, or I will ask shop security for help finding someone.”

(She huffs and puffs but calls someone over on her headset, giving me dirty looks. The manager comes over and, before I can explain anything, the cashier talks to him.)

Cashier: “She says I did not give her her precious 14 cents of change. I offered to give her the money from my own pocket, but she wants to make a scene of it, I guess.“

(The manager takes me aside and offers me 15 cents, as well, but I demand that her drawer is counted out and any surplus put in the charity tin. He grudgingly agrees, another cashier takes over, and we all go into an office in the back. Security joins us, as well. All the while, the cashier gets more and more agitated, even “generously“ offering me 5€ because, “maybe I made a mistake after all,” and, “I don’t want you all to waste your time,” etc. Turns out, there was a reason for her sudden change of heart. After counting the bills, the amount that should have been in the till was already almost covered. With the short change, it came up over by 58,12€. The manager told her to wait in his office and offered me my change, and asked me to keep things to myself, as he would deal with the cashier himself. I agreed to not get police involved, as 14 cents are really nothing to call them over, but again asked him to let the money go into the charity tin, which he agreed to. He left and let the security guy accompany me to the exit.)

Security: “Between you and me, she had it coming. We all had a hunch about her. Every cashier counts their own drawer, and any surplus, which is usually not much, goes into their pockets. Some people like to tip, and as any minus has to be paid out of their own salary, as well, it usually balances itself out. She was always boasting about her plus, though she never said how much. She must have been at it for a while and never got called out, so she got cocky. I’m sorry for your trouble, but thank you for standing up to her.“

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