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Giving Clerks PIN-TSD

, , , , , , | Right | January 6, 2023

I pop across the road to my nearest mini-mart to buy a bottle of wine. When I come to pay, I wave my card over the reader as usual.


The cashier takes a big step back from the checkout.

Cashier: “It’s, er, it’s saying here… that you’ll need to put your PIN in. It’s not me! It’s a bank thing! Blame your bank!”

I insert my card and enter my PIN.

Me: “There we go. It’s a security thing, I think?”

Cashier: “Yeah, it’s every-so-much transactions or every-so-much pounds. I’m really sorry.”

Me: “Why? It’s just five buttons, it only takes a few seconds…”

I am now noticing the big dent in the Perspex screen between them and me.

Me: “Oh, people get violent with you about this type of thing, don’t they?”

Cashier: “Three times this evening.”

Making Some Rather Dark Assumptions

, , , , , , , | Working | January 3, 2023

I’m checking out at the grocery store. I put my items on the belt. Ahead of me, checking out, is a woman in her twenties wearing all Gothic clothing, with piercings everywhere and chains hanging from her belt loops.

I hear the exchange between her and the checker.

Customer: “If I put this back, do I have enough now?”

Checker: *With a disgusted tone* “NO.”

Customer: “If I put this back, also, do I have enough for the rest?”

Checker: *More disgusted* “NO!”

I intervene.

Me: “How much does she need to pay for everything?”

Checker: *To me, somewhat snottily* “You don’t need to help her.”

Me: “That’s not your call. Just tell me how much she needs to pay and I will make up what she lacks.”

Checker: *Very put out* “You shouldn’t be doing that for the likes of her.”

Me: “Since it is my money, what is that to you? Now, run the rest back through and tell me how much she is short.”

I paid for the rest — less than $20. The young woman thanked me in a very sincere way. She was buying fruit, apples, oranges, bananas, and grapes!

We Have… So Many Questions

, , , , , , | Working | December 27, 2022

This just happened at the supermarket tonight. I had a fairly full cart, and when the cashier finished scanning my groceries and gave me my final total, I noticed that it was absurdly high.

Then, I saw that one of the last charges read, “LV CRB BUSH — $179.99.”

I didn’t even know the supermarket sold anything that expensive. I asked the cashier what the charge was, and she squinted at it and said she wasn’t sure. Then, it occurred to me that maybe “LV CRB BUSH” was short for “bushel of live crabs,” which, I guess, in theory, could cost that much. I don’t know; never bought live crabs.

Me: “Is that… a bushel of live crabs?”

Cashier: “Yeah, I think so. Is that something you didn’t buy?”

I’m not trying to be rude, but I’m also not exactly sure what to say.

Me: “I’m pretty sure I’d remember buying a bushel of live crabs.”

The cashier tried to figure out which of my items rang up that way, but it had all been bagged, and there was no way to figure it out without starting the whole giant transaction again. Then, she tried to void that sale, but for whatever reason, the computer wouldn’t let her. She summoned a manager.

Cashier: “How do I take this off?”

Manager: “What, he doesn’t want it anymore?”

Cashier: “No, he says he never bought it.”

Me: *Trying to be helpful* “I did not buy a bushel of live crabs.”

The manager pressed some magic buttons, and $179.99 was deducted from my final total. Phew.

Me: “Do you even sell live crabs?”

Cashier: “No.”

An Organic Answer

, , , , , , , , | Working | December 22, 2022

I’m in line at the grocery store checkout. The customer in front of me is carefully watching as each of his items is scanned. Then, suddenly, he erupts.

Customer: “That bag of frozen vegetables is too much! Why is it that expensive?”

The young cashier looks at the bag of frozen vegetables.

Cashier: “They’re ‘organically grown’; those are usually higher priced.”

Customer: “’Organically grown’? What does that even mean?”

The cashier thinks for a few seconds and then responds in an authoritative voice.

Cashier: “It means the person who grew them had organs.”

I assume the cashier was either joking or just wanted to be done with the situation.

Not Thinking Outside The Manger

, , , , , , , | Working | December 19, 2022

About ten years ago, I worked at the service counter of a local grocery store. One of the cashiers was a young woman who was a senior at a local Catholic high school, so she would have been about seventeen or eighteen. She was an honors student there, so I figured she was kind of smart, too.

One evening, about a week before Christmas, she came stomping up to the service counter.

Cashier: “You’re old. Explain it to me.”

Okay, not the best way to start a conversation. Maybe she’s not as smart as I thought. For the record, I was forty-five at this time.

Me: “Sorry, explain what?”

She waved her hand around.

Cashier: “All this. The shopping, the cooking, and all the decorating. Why are all these people doing all this?”

Me: “Probably for the same reason your family does. Most people just want their families to have a nice Christmas.”

Cashier: “But they can’t all be Catholic.”

Me: “I’m sure they aren’t. What does that have to do with anything?”

Cashier: “Well, Christmas is a Catholic holiday.”

I was surprised to hear this at my advanced age.

Me: “Uh, Christmas is a Christian holiday, not just a Catholic one. Christians of all stripes celebrate it — not always like you or me, but it’s a holiday for all Christians.”

Cashier: “Are you sure? That doesn’t seem right. I’ll have to ask at school tomorrow.”

She walked away, still mumbling about how that didn’t seem right. Considering that she was an honors student at her school and hadn’t realized Christmas is not just a Catholic holiday, I wasn’t convinced about the answer she would get.

But I’m old, so what do I know?