Short-Changed By Mismanagement

, , , , , | Working | September 26, 2018

(I am a bright-eyed new cashier at 18, working at a large supermarket for the summer before my first year of college. After a few days of training, I am released to my own register. My manager comes over to tell me to turn off my light and go to break after the line is gone, so I do. As I am leaving my register, a man comes up.)

Customer: “Hey! You! You open?”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, sir. I’m actually going on break.”

Customer: “I only have a few things. Please? I’m in a hurry.”

(He puts his items on my register.)

Me: *not wanting a customer complaint* “Uh. Well. My manager told me to go to break.”

Customer: “Five minutes. That’s all it’s going to take.”

Me: “Okay” *rings him out* “Your total is $19.”

Customer: “All I have is a $50.”

Me: “Okay.”

(I hold the money up to the light, then use the counterfeit pen.)

Customer: “You think I have fake money?”

Me: “We’re supposed to check all bills $20 and larger.”

Customer: “I’ve never seen anyone do that.”

Me: “Well, they should be. But you pass! Your change is $31.”

(My manager approaches.)

Manager #1: “[My Name]! You were supposed to go on break.”

Me: “Oh, I know. This gentleman just—”

Customer: “She shorted me!”

(We both turn to look at him, now red in the face.)

Me: “What? No, I just counted your change back: $31 out of $50.”

Customer: “You’re calling me a liar?”

Me: “No! I just… I counted it… I…” *flustered sputtering*

Customer: “I only see $11. You owe me $20!”

Me: “I just counted it out to you. Did it drop on the floor?”

Manager #1: “[My Name], you need to be more careful with your change!”

(My manager then opens my drawer and hands the man $20.)

Manager #1: “Now, go on your break!”

(The next day I come to work and another manager calls me into the office.)

Manager #2: “[My Name], was yesterday your first day on the register?”

Me: “Um, well, by myself, yes.”

Manager #2: “You know we count drawers each night, right?”

Me: “Yes.” *I can feel my face growing hot* “Why?”

Manager #2: “Last night your drawer came up $20 short. That’s a write-up.”

Me: “It wasn’t my fault.”

Manager #2: “How’s that?”

(I tell him the story, complete with counting back the man’s change and the other manager just opening the drawer and giving him the money without question.)

Manager #2: “So, [Manager #1] just handed over the money?”

Me: “Yes.”

Manager #2: “She should have counted the drawer right then and there.”

Me: “Well, I didn’t want to argue. I was trying to go on break. She was already coming back to tell me to go again, and I—”

Manager #2: “Okay, calm down. I’m going to hold on to this write-up. I’ll talk to [Manager #1] and check the tapes. If what you’re saying is true, I’ll shred this write-up and we’ll pretend this whole thing never happened. But if you’re lying, you might be terminated for false accusations and theft. Do you understand?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

(I left the office, shaking. I never heard anything else about the incident, so I can only assume someone saw I was telling the truth. The first manager was very cold to me for the next few months until she was transferred to another department. That incident was years ago and I was very unprepared to handle it, but it did teach me an important life lesson!)

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