Betcha Ten Bucks She Feels Worse Than You Do

, , , , , , | Working | April 28, 2021

This was late spring 2020, during the health crisis. I was going through the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant. This restaurant had a cash register in a booth on the outside of the building for drive-thru orders.

My total came to $10.02 and I had a twenty on me. After the woman punched in the numbers, I found two pennies. Since it was only two pennies and would round to a whole bill, I asked the woman if she minded taking the two cents. She said that was okay and took the two pennies.

And that’s when the fun began.

For social distancing, the restaurant had given her a plastic shallow bin to put change in for the customers. She took the $20 and the two pennies for a bill of $10.02 and started counting out $1s and change. I reminded her that I had given her two pennies, and $20.02 minus $10.02 is an even $10.

She took the change back but then tried to hand the bin to me with only $9 in it. I reminded her again that I had given her a twenty and two pennies for a payment of $20.02 and the total owed was $10.02. She looked at her register — displaying $9.98 since she took the pennies after punching in the total — and seemed very confused.

Meanwhile, I was silently cursing management for leaving someone with an iffy grasp of math at an exterior register alone with no immediate support system to help.

I tried again to explain the math, a very simple $20.02 paid and $10.02 owed and $10 even back. She grabbed a ten-dollar bill and put it in the bin, leaving the $9 already there. So she was offering a total of $19 to me.

Now I was wishing biblical plagues down on management because this woman had been set up for failure by being out here on her own.

I gave up at that point. I just said flat-out the $10 was mine and the $9 was hers, no attempt at trying to explain why the $10 was mine. She said, “Okay,” and though she still seemed confused, she took the $9 back and I took my change and moved up for my food.

I hope at some point the math clicked or someone explained it better than I. She likely thought I was trying to scam her.

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