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Counting Counts

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: The Cheeseman | June 27, 2021

I work in a drugstore that also has photo printing services. During the peak holiday season, a lady and her husband come in to use the self-service photo kiosk and print off 173 photos. While they’re printing, the lady shops around and picks out a single Chapstick.

Once her photos are done printing, she brings the pictures plus her Chapstick up to the counter and hands me a coupon for $1 off healthcare items.

We’re really busy, and the way our system works, you have to scan a barcode for the photos and enter the quantity to make the system calculate the total. The max you can enter is ninety-nine. If it’s more than ninety-nine, you have to scan it a second time and do the math manually to calculate the difference. There’s a huge line, so I really don’t feel like taking the extra five seconds to figure it out. Usually, when I do this, I err on the side of caution and intentionally undercalculate by a couple of photos to avoid someone coming back and saying I overcharged them.

I scan it once for ninety-nine and then a second time for like forty. I admit, this is my mistake, but it is the holidays and I am feeling generous. Shouldn’t have done that.

I scan the Chapstick and the coupon. The coupon rejects because Chapstick doesn’t qualify as a “healthcare item” I explain that we can’t use that coupon, and her husband immediately says, very aggressively:

Husband: “I AM A LAWYER! IF YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE COUPONS LIKE THIS, THEY NEED TO SPECIFY WHAT QUALIFIES AND WHAT DOESN’T!”

And so on and so forth.

Me: “Okay, no problem. We’ll override that for you.”

I void the transaction and re-ring it. But this time, I take my time to make sure I ring them for exactly the number of photos they got. I override the coupon and I tell them the total, which is now four or five dollars MORE than their previous one. I explain what I did on the previous transaction and that I did that because I was in a hurry, but for the sake of accuracy, I’ve done everything correctly this time.

They huff a little bit and leave, and I go on about my day.

About an hour later, the wife comes back and says her total doesn’t seem right. I offer to take a look at the receipt and we go over it together.

Me: “Okay, you got 173 photos. They’re 39 cents each.”

I punch it into the calculator,

Me: “That equals [amount]. Plus your Chapstick which was $3.29, minus your one-dollar coupon. That makes your total [total].”

Lady: “HA! But you charged me more than that! See?”

She points at her total.

Me: “Yes, ma’am, that’s tax, which is calculated at 7%.”

I enter that into the calculator, and we get the exact amount on her receipt. She’s looking really confused. She frowns.

Lady: “Hmmm… that still doesn’t seem right.”

Sorry. Can’t teach you math. But let me tell you, I will never cut corners to help someone out again.

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