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A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned, Even If It’s Ugly

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: decemberhunting | February 2, 2022

This takes place on July fourth, a holiday in my country where almost everyone takes the day off. They generally don’t go shopping at all unless it’s, like, last-minute groceries or something.

I work at an office supply store. I think we made about seven dollars today. It’s hilariously pointless to be open.

A customer comes up to my register with four containers.

Customer: “Can you price check these? I want the two cheapest ones.”

Sounds good. I check the prices individually and go over them with her so she can pick the cheapest ones.

We proceed with the transaction, I state the total, she hands me cash, and I get her change, tell her the amount she’s getting back, and thank her and such. Then, I turn my attention to some other front-end tasks, assuming the transaction is over.

When I eventually look back to the register, I notice that the customer is studying her change and receipt like it’s a final exam, looking visibly upset.

Customer: “You rang up the wrong ones! I said I wanted the expensive ones!”

Me: “But just a second ago you said you wanted the cheaper ones.”

Customer: “No! I want one of the cheaper ones and one of the expensive ones!”

So, right off the bat, this lady is all over the place. That’s officially three different combinations of containers.

Me: *Politely* “I’m happy to fix this, but it’s going to be a fairly involved process.”

First, the system takes a few minutes to register receipts, so we have to wait a little while to start a return. Then, since it’s a cash refund, store policy states that a manager needs to be physically present, and all three of us need to sign a piece of paper. Once all of that is done, I can ring up the items she wants. Admittedly, it’s a lot, but them’s the breaks.

Customer: “Fine!”

Her tone indicates that she’s clearly not fine with it. I’m mentally barfing but keeping my best customer service persona on because it’s not worth any trouble.

An awkward five minutes later, I’m able to pull up her receipt in the system and the manager comes over.

Me: “This customer changed her mind and I need to do a cash refund.”

Customer: “I didn’t change my mind! I wanted one of the cheaper ones and one of the expensive ones!”

Manager: “Okay, we’ll take care of that for you.”

We all sign for the refund, I process it, and the manager wanders off. I then proceed to carefully clarify which ones she wants and ring her up for it. Her change is a few cents.

I’m thinking this is all over, but she looks at the change and glares at me.

Customer: *Angrily* “This penny is too ugly! I want a new one!”

Internally, I rue my own birth.

Me: “I can give you a new penny, but I need a manager override to open the till if there’s no sale.”

She makes some weird chicken-like squawk as if I just told her I killed her only child. She flails her arms and screams:


Me: “No, I just need the manager.”

Customer: “Fine!”

She stands there and I kind of fiddle with some stuff on the desk while we wait for the manager again, who had to go put out another metaphorical fire somewhere else in the store.

Part of me considers politely explaining to her that the value of a penny isn’t based on its appearance and that she is honestly wasting her own time, but I figure she’ll just yell. Eventually, the manager comes back up.

Me: “This customer wants a nicer-looking penny.”

The manager stares blankly for a second.

Manager: “Oh. Um, sure. Let me get that for you.”

We gave her the new penny, she left, and we proceeded to brutally mock her for a few minutes after we were sure she was out of earshot.

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