Lucky Number Thirteen

, , , , , | Right | December 28, 2019

(It is a few minutes before my shift is over and I am working the self-scans with a coworker. A woman asks me for help with a plastic bag containing a dozen small plastic bottles.)

Me: “What can I help you with?”

Customer: “I have these little bottles and when I scan the package it says that they’re a dollar twenty-nine.”

Me: “Well, it could be that the entire package is a dollar twenty-nine.”

Customer: “Actually, I think it means individually because I scanned another bottle and it came up as a dollar twenty-nine so I think it’s referring to each bottle by itself and not the whole package. See, the bottle I scanned is already here.”

(She shows me a small plastic bottle by the rest of her groceries and at that moment I realize she has thirteen small plastic bottles — the one she had scanned and is with her groceries, and the container that has twelve.)

Me: “Hold on one minute and I’ll check with my coworker.”

(I go to my coworker and she tells me to scan the bottles individually.)

Me: *to customer* “Okay, ma’am. I’ll just scan them separately. Since you’ve already scanned one, I’ll just scan the other twelve.”

Customer: “What do you mean? I only have twelve. I’ve scanned one, now you only have to scan eleven more.”

Me: “Well, ma’am, you actually have thirteen. There’s the one that you scanned, and the other twelve in this bag.”

Customer: “What do you mean? I’ve scanned one, so now there’s just eleven left to scan.”

Me: “Take a look. You’ve scanned one and there’s twelve in this bag so that’s thirteen.”

Customer: “No, that’s only twelve. I’ve scanned one and now eleven more have to be scanned.”

Me: “Here, ma’am, take a look.” *counts the bottles in the plastic bag and the one that she has by her groceries* “So, take the one that you have already scanned and the ones in this bag and that’s thirteen.”

Customer: “That’s right. It’s twelve. This one plus the other eleven, and that’s twelve.”

Me: “Yes, but you don’t have twelve. See, there’s the one that you’ve already scanned, plus I’m holding twelve. That makes it thirteen.”

(This exchange goes on for a second time as I try to explain to the customer that she actually has thirteen bottles.)

Customer: “Look! I don’t have time for this. Just give me twelve if that’ll make you feel better but I know I have eleven.”

(Instead, I gave her the “eleven” that she thought she had just to get rid of her as I just wanted to leave and go home to blow off some steam. Truth be told, though, after her getting angry with me, I actually felt compelled to add an extra five bottles to her order just to get even. Good thing common sense stopped me.)

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