Dealing With A Bad Penny

| Working | September 16, 2013

(My husband and I have fallen on hard times as he has lost his job. My job pays okay, but with my student loans, it’s not always enough to pay the bills, plus we have a toddler to take care of. Our state doesn’t recognize my loans when considering us for food stamps, so we don’t qualify as my income is just over the limit. Because of this, we are struggling to pay for groceries. One day on my way home from work, my husband calls me and asks me to pick up a gallon of milk. I can’t remember how much is left on our debit card, but I know it isn’t much. I get to the checkout line, still in a suit from my job. The cashier smiles and makes small talk as she runs the card through. It declines.)

Cashier: *looking concerned* “Oh, there must be something wrong with the machine; it didn’t go through.”

Me: “Oh, no, I probably don’t have enough on it, but I have some change I can pay with. I think I have enough.” *starts looking for my coin purse*

Cashier: *laughing* “I’m pretty sure it’s just the machine. I mean, who can’t pay for milk, right?” *tries card again*

Me: “Please don’t run it again; I know there isn’t enough on it and don’t want an over-draft fee or a hold or something.”

(The cashier looks at me funny, taking in my outfit.)

Cashier: “Yah, right, like you can’t afford milk. Or are you just scamming me to get something for free, when you obviously make at least three times as much as me!”

Me: “Well, my husband just lost his job and we’re struggling to make ends meet right now. I know I have enough change; I just wanted to try my debit first.”

(I drop a couple quarters and pennies onto the counter to count them out.)

Cashier: “Who pays for stuff in pennies? I don’t have time to count all of these. You’ll need to get out until you can find some real money. I’m refusing you service until you do!”

(I am confused, but I don’t want to cause a scene so I just leave the milk. I come in the next day and speak with the manager that I happen to know pretty well. She apologizes profusely and ends up firing the cashier, who apparently has quite an attitude towards everyone!)

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