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You’re Not Making Any Cents

, , , , , , , , | Working | January 18, 2022

I go shop at a grocery store. At checkout, the total is $31.69. I pull a $100 bill out and ask the cashier if this is okay. He says yes and takes the bill. The receipt prints. He counts out sixty-eight dollars and then turns to me.

Cashier: “I don’t have the 31¢ in my drawer for your change. I’ve paged a manager; when she gets here, I can give you your change.”

I get 69¢ from my pocket and hand it to the cashier.

Me: “No problem. Here’s 69¢; now you owe me a dollar, which you can give me for change.”

The cashier looks at the 69¢, takes 31¢ from the 69¢ — which I just gave him! — and tries to hand it to me!

Cashier: “Here is your 31¢ change, sir.”

Me: “No, I gave you 69¢. You now owe me one more dollar, not the 31¢.”

Cashier: “Sir, I owe you 31¢.”

Me: “Nooo, you said you could not pay me the 31¢, so I gave you 69¢, so now you owe me no coinage but you owe me an additional one dollar.”

The cashier points at the change due on the receipt: $68.31.

Cashier: “See, I owe you 31¢. Do you understand now, sir?”

Me: “Noooooo, you could not pay me the 31¢, so I gave you 69¢ to round it up to a dollar that you now owe me.”

The cashier points again at the change due on the receipt: $68.31.

Cashier: “The receipt says I owe you 31¢. Do you understand now, sir?”

Just then, the manager, who was paged due to the empty change drawer, comes over.

Manager: “I’ll bring change for your drawer in a minute. What is the problem here?”

I explain it to her. She looks at the receipt and counts the bills in the cashier’s hand.

Manager: “Did he give you an additional 69¢?”

Cashier: “Yes.”

Manager: “Then you don’t owe him the 31¢ change, but you do owe him an additional dollar.”

He still looks uncertain but gives me a total of sixty-nine dollars in change.

Me: *To the manager* “Thanks for your help. Sorry I confused your employee.”

Manager: “Have a good night, sir.”

Shouldn’t an employee who is handling money all day long be able to do second-grade math?!

Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire

, , , , , , , | Related | January 13, 2022

This took place in the mid-1990s when I was fifteen years old. It was around 11:00 at night when I heard someone tap on my window. I looked out to see two of my best buddies waving at me and gesturing for me to come out. I opened my window.

Me: *Whispering* “Dude! What the h*** are you doing here? You’re gonna get me in trouble!”

Friend: “Dog, you gotta come with us! There’s this smashing party going on at [Boy]’s place! His dad is out for the weekend and he’s got the place to himself! Girls all over the place! You gotta check it out!”

I’d never snuck out of the house before.

Me: “Uhhh… I dunno about that.”

Friend: “[Crush] is there.”

Me: “You serious?”

Friend: “Dead serious. Come on, I told them we were gonna come get you. You’re gonna let everyone down!”

That particular girl being there was all the reason I needed to risk my neck. I quietly got dressed and tiptoed out the back door since the screen in my bedroom window was too difficult to remove and replace.

After spending a good five hours or so frolicking around with everyone and acting like the bunch of high school morons we were, we decided around 4:00 am that we’d all better split and get back home before our luck ran out and someone came looking for us.

I managed to slip back in through the back door and was tiptoeing back to my room when I heard a toilet flush and my mom emerged from the bathroom with a groggy look on her face. And there I was, standing in the middle of the hallway, fully dressed and reeking of cigarettes and beer (neither of which my parents had).

Mom: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I heard a weird noise in the shed so I just went to check it out.”

Mom: “You got dressed up like that to—” *sniffing* “OH, H*** NO! [Dad], get out here now!”

My parents were having some serious marital issues at the time, to the point where they were sleeping in separate bedrooms.

Mom: *Banging on my dad’s door* “GET OUT HERE, [DAD]!”

No answer.

In a rage, my mom threw the door open and ripped the blanket off my dad’s bed to reveal an empty bed. Puzzled, my mom looked outside to see his car missing from the driveway, and then, she picked up the phone.

Mom: “Hello, is [Dad] there?” *Pause* “This is [Mom]; I am [Dad]’s wife. Did he have a graveyard shift tonight?” *Pause* “He hasn’t had one all this year?!” *Pause* “Really now?!” *Pause* “Thank you!” *Slamming the phone down* “If this is some kind of prank, somebody better say something now because I’m about to go homicidal! Get back in bed! Don’t think you’re off the hook!”

I got back in bed with an “I’m-so-dead” feeling of impending doom hovering over me.

Around six am, I woke up to hear:


Dad: “I got called in for a graveyard shift; someone called in sick.”


Cue a mayhem-filled screaming match where my dad finally fessed up about “the other girl” — who happened to be one of her good friends. The screaming match grew into a screaming marathon that continued almost until noon, and my dad ended up moving out about two weeks later.

As for me, my mom was so pissed that she never punished me for sneaking out of the house to smoke and drink, although, for a while, she started making me put my shoes and jacket in her bedroom at night. That lasted up until I was sixteen.

My dad still jokes with me to this day that I inadvertently got him busted doing essentially the same thing the same night.

Don’t Hang Around For This Twitch Stream

, , , , | Right | November 17, 2021

I go into a convenience store for a cold soft drink. Standing in line in front of me is a guy in his twenties, kind of grungy, with tattoos all over both arms. He checks out and raises his hand to pay. I notice his arm “jerking”; the muscles in his arm are independently twitching, causing the whole arm to jerk slightly. I look closer and see that the back of his shirt is convulsing from his back muscles all twitching. Legs; muscles twitching, neck; muscles twitching.

I start to ask if he’s all right, but the holstered pistol he’s carrying does not give me any warm fuzzy feelings. I stand silently and watch him finish and leave, and then I step forward to the counter.

Me: *To the clerk* “Is that guy all right?”

Clerk: *Stares at me* “He’s a regular; we call him ‘Twitch’.”

Me: “Because of that muscle thing?”

Clerk: *After pausing* “No, it has to do with that pistol, but the manager doesn’t want us telling customers about it, so I can’t tell you anything.”

I never went back to that convenience store.

That’s One Wholesome Coping Mechanism

, , , , , | Friendly | November 2, 2021

When I first started college in the early 2000s, people in my dorm “warned” me about a curious character that would randomly appear around campus at the wee hours of the morning — usually two or three in the morning — wearing a teddy bear costume, happily prancing around with balloons tied to her wrist, and hugging random strangers she would encounter. This was a town of fewer than 10,000 residents, and violent crimes were virtually unheard of; safety was not a particular issue.

People determined that it was highly probable that it was a female because of the physical stature of the mysterious person and because a few reported gathering a whiff of perfume when she hugged them. Despite the fact that she had been doing it for years, no one had any clue as to her identity or why she was doing it. Making it even more difficult was the fact that she didn’t have a routine; each encounter was a complete chance encounter, and sometimes, no one would see her for months. Even more interesting, if you tried to follow her and she noticed, she would immediately bolt and vanish with what appeared to be a planned “escape route.”

Creepy, yet fascinating.

I didn’t think much of it until one late night when I was heading home from hanging with some buddies, and right from behind a corner of a building ahead of me, a teddy bear head popped out! Startled, I froze, and she pranced out in front of me — balloons tied to her wrist as everyone said — and started doing little jumps in the air and waving at me!

Then, as they said she would, she stretched her arms out for a hug. Not quite knowing how to react, I reached my arms out, and she sprang forward and hugged me like we were best friends! She then waved goodbye and skipped away into the night.

Over the next three years, I had about four more random chance encounters with her, each one of them with her either prancing and skipping over to me and hugging me or popping up from behind a structure somewhere, doing a happy dance, and then stretching her arms out for a hug.

Her mysterious identity continued to fascinate the students on the campus, to the point where there were mentions of her in the school newspaper and someone even offered a $50 reward to anyone who found her identity.

Then, one night, I was out and noticed a figure bolting like a bat out of Hell across a parking lot and fading into an adjacent wooded area. Moments later, I heard a sickening wailing and moaning emanating from the wooded area; clearly, someone was injured.

I made my way over to find the girl in the teddy bear costume laying on the ground, apparently having tripped over something and seriously injuring herself. I helped her up and partially carried her back out into the parking lot, as she had apparently broken her ankle. I phoned for an ambulance and as we waited, I eventually coaxed her into taking off the headpiece of the costume. 

Everyone was correct that it was indeed a female, and interestingly — but not surprisingly — she looked like any average girl in her late teens to early twenties. She refused to answer any questions about her identity or what her motive behind all of this was.

When I called the police a few days later to make sure that she was okay, I was told that while she was virtually unheard of amongst the student population, she was actually known throughout the local police department. As it turns out, she suffered from schizophrenia, and to relieve some of her psychotic episodes, she found it soothing to give people hugs. Why she chose the nearby college campus (and always late at night) to do that was not immediately clear, but they guessed that she chose to dress up in a teddy bear suit to make herself look more charming and less threatening to other people.

No one saw her again after that, and out of respect for the circumstances, I chose to keep that encounter and her identity secret.

Don’t Be A Pawn In Her Game

, , , , , | Legal | October 12, 2021

My husband likes to go to pawn shops to buy tools and guns. I usually come along just to browse, and I usually don’t find anything of interest. I have recently gotten into sewing and I happen to spot a higher-end sewing machine in really good shape with all the accessories and manuals on one of our visits. I decide that it is worth the chance for $200, and the pawnshop offers a thirty-day warranty, so I buy it.

When I get home, I ask about it on one of my sewing groups on Facebook. It turns out that the machine retails for $500 new. Most people congratulate me on the purchase and tell me that I got a really good deal. However, one lady decides to accuse me of buying stolen merchandise simply because I bought it at a pawnshop.

Lady: “Why did you buy that machine?! If you got it from a pawnshop, it is probably stolen! Only horrible people shop at pawnshops! How would you feel if someone stole your stuff and sold it at a pawnshop?”

Me: “What are you talking about?”

Lady: “Pawnshops are notorious for selling stolen goods! The police will come and arrest you if you tell people how much you paid and that you bought it at a pawn shop!”

Me: “Pawnshops are one of the most regulated types of resale shops in the United States! It is actually a felony for a pawnbroker to buy an item that they even SUSPECT is stolen! When you sell an item, you have to present a government-issued photo ID with your address and personal details AND provide a thumbprint as identification! I even had to show my driver’s license when I bought it because they had to create a buyer profile for me!”

Lady: “But people sell stolen items at pawn shops all the time! I wouldn’t trust a pawnbroker!”

Me: “Do you buy stuff on Facebook Marketplace, yard sales, or flea markets?”

Lady: “Yes, all the time. What is your point?”

Me: “Did you know that there is literally ZERO legal recordkeeping of those transactions? You could have easily bought stolen items and didn’t realize it! Pawnshops keep detailed records of who they buy from AND who they sell to!”

Lady: “BUT. PEOPLE. SELL. STOLEN. GOODS. AT. PAWN. SHOPS! You will be arrested!”

Me: “Yeah, right! If it is stolen, as you allege, the responsibility is on the pawnshop, NOT me! I bought the machine under the impression that it wasn’t stolen! Plus, my husband has been dealing with that pawnshop for close to twenty-five years, so they probably did their due diligence on the original owner.”

Lady: “I am going to report you to the police! Your name is [My Name] and you live in [City], [State]?”

Me: “Yes!”

Lady: “Now you are going to jail for buying stolen property!”

The lady DID call the sheriff’s department where I live, but they literally laughed at her after she accused me of knowingly buying stolen property from a legitimate pawnshop! My husband was born and raised here, and being a small town, all the sheriff’s deputies know my husband. The deputy who talked to her is even the deputy who checks pawnshops for stolen items, and he said that they had no report of that machine being stolen, anyway.

I don’t know how she couldn’t understand that just buying an item from a pawnshop DOES NOT mean that the item has been stolen!