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There’s Oops, And Then There’s This

, , , , | Working | August 26, 2021

I work in a big-box superstore. It is Friday, and it’s payday. Even though I have most Fridays off, I stop in today to pick up my check. I make my way back to the fitting room where the checks are distributed as usual, expecting to pick up my check and get out of there.

I give the new girl at the fitting room my name so she can find my check in the check box.

New Girl: “Ummm… I don’t think it’s in here.”

Me: “Could you check again? I kind of need it.”

New Girl: “Could it maybe be under a different name? There’s another check in here with the same last name but a different first name.”

Me: “Nope, it’s [My Name], same as always.”

She searches through the box a few more times before we both come to the same realization.

Me: “That person with the same last name… Did they sign off that they received their check?”

[New Girl] looks at the paper and gets an “Oh, no!” kind of look on her face.

New Girl: “Yeah, they did, actually.”

I sigh and head up front to explain to the human resources lady my suspicions that someone picked up my check by mistake. She sends me back to get the sign-off paper and the check box from [New Girl].

When I return, she checks for herself and, sure enough, it appears that some other employee with the same last name as mine picked up my paycheck by mistake. She decides to call her so she can bring the check back. Hopefully, it’s a simple “no harm and no foul” and we’ll get everything sorted out.

Easy, right? Wrong.

[HR Employee] explains over the phone that she got the wrong check and asks her to please bring it back. All of a sudden, though, [HR Employee] gets quiet.

HR Lady: “What do you mean, you cashed it? How can you have cashed it?”

Apparently, the other employee had gone to a check-cashing place and had MY paycheck cashed under HER name. How the heck she managed to do that, though, I haven’t a clue. It’s not like our first names are similar and easily confused; mine is much longer and starts with a completely different letter than hers. First and last names are both clearly printed on both the check and the check envelope. If she even glanced at her check, she would clearly notice that the name was not hers.

Besides that, anywhere that cashes checks is supposed to check ID specifically to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Also, there was a huge difference in the amount that each of us was to receive this pay period, so how she didn’t notice that she was being paid way more than she should’ve been is also beyond me.

This complicated matters, and the head of HR had to step in and talk to the other employee.

He told her that she needed to contact the check cashing place and return the money so that she could get the check back. (Apparently, I could not get paid until they received my original paycheck back.) Then, she needed to bring the already cashed check back to the store, give it to them, and have a talk with the head of HR to figure out how this mess even happened in the first place. He also asked for the name, number, and address of the check cashing place since they clearly cashed the check without asking for ID.

After he got off the phone, he explained that I couldn’t get paid until they got the check back. Also, since the check had already been cashed, I’d have to be paid with a voucher instead of a normal paycheck. This meant unnecessary fees from my bank over a mess-up that was completely not my fault. He apologized for the inconvenience and told me he hoped to get this resolved and have me paid as soon as possible. 

You can bet that I wasn’t happy. At the time, I only had $15 to my name until I got that check, my rent was due in a few days, and I had to get another bus pass for the month in another few days so that I could even make it into work, since I live two hours away and don’t drive. 

I finally got my paycheck about a week and a half later — just in time to get paid again! I had to borrow money from my mother-in-law for rent and a bus pass so I wouldn’t starve, but it’s all sorted out now.

Before they caved and did a voucher, they gave me the voided check — complete with white-out and another person’s signature on it — and told me to try and cash it. It didn’t work, for obvious reasons. Also, apparently, one of the other managers had handed my check to the other employee, so it was a failure on the manager’s part, the other employee’s part, AND the check cashing place’s part.

At least I finally got my money in the end.

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Oh, Ye Of Little Faith

, , , , , , , | Working | August 26, 2021

My first job was working as a cashier in a grocery store. I was quite book smart at the time, though pretty naive in many other ways. Math has always come easy to me and I quite enjoy it.

A couple of months into the job, I had a man come to my register and pay for $11 worth of groceries with a fifty-dollar bill. Then, the fun started.

Man: “I’d like my change as one twenty-dollar bill, one ten-dollar bill, three five-dollar bills, and seven one-dollar bills, please.”

I pulled the twenty and the ten.

Me: “Sorry, sir, but that comes to more than you originally paid. I could offer you one each of a twenty, a ten, and a five-dollar bill, and then four one-dollar bills.”

Man: “Uh, right, sorry. Then make it one twenty, two tens, a five—”

Me: “Whoops, just to stop you there, you only have $39 in change coming back and you’ve gone over it already. I can only do one each of a twenty and a ten-dollar bill; the rest has to be a five or just ones.”

Man: “Yeah, okay, sure. So, two twenty-dollar bills and then nine one-dollar bills will make it even.”

Me: “I apologize, sir, but I can only give you one twenty-dollar bill. After that, your remaining change is less $20. If you can tell me how you want the $19 broken down, I’m happy to do so.”

This continued for about twenty different iterations. The guy kept asking for bill counts which meant he’d get back $45 to $55. I kept just correcting him on the assumption he was just bad at math, and I was glad I could be so helpful to him because I was so good at math. Remember I said I was naive, right? I had never heard of a quick-change scam.

Finally, the guy relented and took his exact change of one twenty, one ten, one five, and four one bills and left.

At that point, my manager came over, shut down my register, and told me they needed to pull my drawer because I had just gotten scammed. I was confused, but she explained the nature of the quick-change scam to me once we were off the sales floor. I mentioned that I thought the guy was just really bad at math, but it was okay because I knew he’d gotten exact change back and nothing more.

Manager: “[My Name], you don’t have to be embarrassed. They target new cashiers and they’re really good at these scams. You got fooled and we’re just going to document how much he stole for when we file the police report.”

Me: “Seriously, [Manager], he got his exact change and nothing else. I was keeping track the whole time.”

Manager: “[My Name], we’ll talk later. I have to write you up for the drawer being off, but it will just be a verbal warning because these scammers are so good. Just let me count the drawer now and you’ll see.”

I counted by watching over her shoulder. She compared the total to the report and found that my drawer matched to the penny.

Manager: “Hmm, that can’t be right.”

She counted the drawer again.

Manager: “No, I know that guy. He scammed me the last time he was in. I know your drawer must be off.”

She counted it a third time, and the drawer was still perfect.

Manager: “I don’t get it. He scammed you. I watched how many times he changed the bill count. No one could keep track of that.”

Me: “Umm, you know I’m studying calculus, physics, and computer programming at [Local College], right? I’m really good at math and assumed that dude was really bad at it. I felt bad for him since I had to keep correcting him on which bills added up to $39.”

Manager: “You got lucky, but I don’t know how. I’m going to pull the video for the police anyway. Get back to work.”

And that’s how I learned about the quick-change scam while totally ruining some scam artist’s flow with math.

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What’s It Like Being The Grinch’s Kid?

, , , , , , | Related | August 25, 2021

While I don’t make a lot of money working retail while also being a full-time college student, I try to donate money whenever I can. One year during Christmas time, I print up a wishlist from my local humane society full of supplies they need, as I work in a big box store and can use my employee discount to get things cheaper.

I buy around $250 worth of supplies requested with plans to drop it off at the shelter later in the week. I ask my dad for assistance as some of the dog food and kitty litter is heavy. The shelter is thankful and gives me a sheet to fill out so I can submit the purchases on my tax returns. We are driving home when my dad springs this on me.

Dad: “You should let me fill that out so I get the credit.”

Me: “Why would I do that? I’m the one that bought that stuff with my money.”

Dad: “The only reason you had that money to spend was that you live at home rent-free. So I should be reimbursed for that.”

Me: “I’m your child, not a tenant, so excuse me for living in the house that I grew up in. Even if I gave you rent money, would you have used it for charity?”

Dad: “No, I would use it for things I need or save for something.”

Me: “Exactly, you wouldn’t have used that money for charity and would’ve kept it for yourself. Ergo, I should get the tax credit because I’m the one with the initiative to try and do some good. I’m filling out the paperwork in my name.”

Dad: “We’ll see what your mother has to say when we get home.”

She agreed with me, stating that my dad never donates to charity and thus didn’t deserve it and was being a real grinch.

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No Good Deed Goes Unexploited

, , , , , , , | Right | August 25, 2021

I’m on vacation with a group of friends. We stop for breakfast before heading out for the day. While we’re on our way out the door, a man approaches us.

Man: “Excuse me, ladies. I’m sorry to bother you. I ordered more than I can afford. Can any of you help me out?”

He shows me an order slip with several sandwiches, soups, and frozen drinks.

Friend #1: *Immediately suspicious* “How much did you order?”

Man: “Uh, I got, like, $6 in stuff.”

Me: “All this is $6?”

Friend #1: “Why did you order it if you can’t afford it?”

Man: “I forgot my wallet. Can you help?”

Me: “I’ll pay if it’s only $6.”

My friends look at me like I’m crazy.

Man: “Oh, great. Thank you!”

Our group goes to the register again, the girls not willing to let me go alone with him. The cashier scans the order.

Cashier: “Okay. $23.”

Me: “He’s covering the rest.”

I hand her $6 in cash.

Man: “Wait, you said you would pay—”

Me: “$6.”

Friend #1: “You said it was $6. The rest is up to you.”

Man: “Well, maybe you can all pitch in and—”

Friend #2: “F*** no. Just because she was nice enough to help you, it doesn’t mean the rest of us are.”

Man: “But I—”

Me: “You can pick what you want and I’ll pay for what you quoted me. Everything else is up to you.”

Man: “Ugh. You can’t do a good deed?”

Me: “I was going to. Now you’re on your own.” *To the cashier* “I’d like my cash back, please.”

Cashier: “Okay.”

She hands it back without another word.

Cashier: “Sir, how would you like to pay?”

My group walked out. We could hear the man behind us, asking someone else to pay for his food using the exact same line. I felt a little bad for saying no but I wasn’t going to pay for nearly four times the amount he had asked for. We went back a few days later and the same man was there. He almost approached us again but thought better of it.

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He Hasn’t Seen The Light

, , , , , | Working | August 24, 2021

I see a great light for sale on a local selling group. It’s in great condition but the price is really high, so high I wonder if it is a mistake. I decide to see if the seller will be reasonable.

Me: “Is this still available?”

Seller: “Yes.”

Me: “Is the price correct/negotiable?”

Seller: “No, price is firm.”

Me: “Oh, okay. No, thanks.”

Seller: “This costs [price] new.”

Me: “It doesn’t, but okay.”

Seller: “Check the website; it does!”

Me: “I did and it doesn’t. I’m happy to make you an offer but it doesn’t cost that new.” 

Seller: “He thinks I’m lying. Look!”

He attaches a screenshot, but it’s of the American store. I attach a screenshot of the UK store that is selling the light new for less than what he is asking for it used.

Seller: “Yeah, but we bought it from America.”

Me: “Okay, you can buy it from wherever you want, but it’s the same light. I would rather pay less and get it brand new.”

Seller: “But we paid [price]!”

Me: “Good for you. No one else will.”

He blocked me, but I could still see the light sitting there for months unsold. I bought mine straight from the manufacturer’s UK site. I even got free delivery.

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