A Very Cranky Sale

, | Working | January 21, 2016

(It is the late 1980s. I work in a women’s clothing store that has been open since the late 1960s. Nothing much has changed in those 20 years in terms of décor or clientele, who wear the same styles of clothing that were popular two decades earlier. Some of the cash registers are truly antiques; they are electric, but with a 10-key style system and a slot for a hand crank.)

Me: “Your purchase comes to [total].”

Customer: *hands me cash; I will need to make change*

(The main power goes out. It is about 10 minutes before closing time. It is not a power outage; the lights that stay on all night are still lit. The owner has turned off the power, apparently not realizing there is still a customer in the store.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I think the owner has shut the power off.” *sends coworker to tell owner to turn the power back on*

(The power controls are on the second floor. The coworker reaches the owner at the bottom of the stairs and he has to walk all the way back up to turn it back on.)

Customer: *laughing at the situation* “I can’t believe he would turn the power off before checking to see if there are still customers in the store!”

Me: “I know; I’m really sorry for the delay.”

Coworker: “You know, we’ve always wanted to crank out a sale on one of these old cash registers… Let’s try it!”

(By the time the power was back on, we had completed the sale with the old hand crank and enjoyed the joke at the expense of the store owner!)

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