Pay It Forward: The Gift-Card

, , , , , , | Hopeless | March 25, 2018

I am a once-a-month regular at a fast food place known for its sandwiches. I got a gift-card for my birthday, several months ago, and have only used it a few times.

One day, I decide to go grab some food before I officially check in at work. All I have with me when I walk into the restaurant is my gift card and the spare change in my coat, but I know — know! — that I’ve only used my gift card four times.

The person at the first part of the counter starts getting my usual ready when I walk in. I chat with her and her coworker while their practiced hands move my sandwich down the assembly line until both the sandwich and I reach the cashier. She starts ringing me up, and my total is $5.13. I hand her the gift card…

…and lo and behold, I screwed up somewhere. I only have twenty-four cents left. The change in my coat brings it to less than $1.50.

The two little old ladies behind me start digging in their wallets and add what they can spare to my total, bringing it to just under $4.00. For the umpteenth time, I apologize to the cashier, and offer to run back to my workplace, where I left my backpack, so I can grab my emergency $20. I haven’t gotten more than a few words out when she waves me off.

“It’s fine. You have enough money right here.”

Before I can recover from that, she rings me through, prints my receipt, and hands me my sandwich, all while reassuring me that it’s fine and that it doesn’t matter that I don’t have the right amount of money.

I didn’t realize, then, but her till would have been down at the end of the day.

So, in other words, two old women gave up all but what they needed for their own sandwiches, and a cashier risked getting in trouble, so that a hungry, broke student had something to eat. I have no hope of finding the two women again, so I paid that small debt forward, instead, over the next several months.

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A Lax Understanding Of Tax, Part 2

, , , , , | Right | March 24, 2018

(I’m the customer in this story. I’ve bought some clothes during a sale, but the price the cashier gives me is almost ten dollars more than I was expecting. I don’t want to cause a fuss without reason, so I pay, but I immediately inspect the receipt, and spot the problem right away.)

Me: “Oh, yeah… Taxes are a thing that exist, aren’t they?”

Cashier: *laughing*

Me: “Thanks! Have a good day!”

A Lax Understanding Of Tax

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A Hundred Reasons For Holiday Cheer

, , , , , , | Hopeless | March 22, 2018

(It’s a few days after Christmas. I’m about to start nursing school after years of waiting to get in, and though I’m thrilled, it means I will be leaving my well-paying job which supports my family. My husband works but makes a lot less, so earlier on this day I have applied for food stamps to help us until he gets a better job. Neither of us want to rely on handouts but we have to eat. On top of it all, I’m pregnant with our second baby, due in a few months. I’m at the grocery store with our 17-month-old son that evening getting some essentials when a middle-aged lady comes up to us at the checkout.)

Lady: “I made myself a promise today that the first little boy in a red sweater I saw, I would give this to.”

(She presses something into my hand and I see it’s a hundred-dollar bill.)

Me: “Oh, I can’t—”

Lady: “Yes, you can. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”

(I thanked her profusely but she left before I could tell her how much the money would help. So, if you’re out there, wonderful lady, you made a huge difference!)

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Double-Cheque Your Knowledge

, , , , , , | Working | March 22, 2018

(I am ringing up a woman’s purchases. She tries to pay with a cheque, but we’ve not accepted cheques for years.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t accept cheques.”

Customer: *immediately on the defensive* “I rang you up earlier to ask if you accepted cheques and was told you did.”

Me: “You didn’t speak to me, because I would have told you that we didn’t. We haven’t accepted them for years.”

Customer: “I spoke to someone; it must be one of them.”

(I ask the staff if they’ve spoken to someone today regarding accepting cheques and am told no. The woman is still ranting and raving.)

Me: “I’ll see what I can do. I’ll make a call.”

(I call our regional manager and explain the situation.)

Manager: “I can’t okay this, but try calling [Security Manager]. We used to take cheques. I know we had to get authorisation from the bank and the customer needed to supply proper ID. The customer also can’t take the purchases until the cheque is cleared.”

(Just then, I hear the customer saying something.)

Customer: *still ranting* “Now I have to tell my son his cheque is wasted.”

(I mention that to the manager.)

Manager: “No, no, no! We have never taken cheques unless they are presented by the account holder with proper ID. Don’t bother wasting [Security Manager]’s time.”

(I pass the information on to the customer, who ends up buying the items with her card before leaving, still ranting.)

Me: *to coworker* “I wish I knew who told her that we accept cheques.”

Coworker: “We do take cheques, but they have to have ID.”

Me: “We don’t accept cheques.”

Coworker: *who has worked for us for eight years* “Since when?”

Me: “For well over six years. Was it you who told the customer we did? You said no when I asked.”

Coworker: “You said today; I told someone yesterday.”

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A Cents-less Amount Of Confusion

, , , , , , , | Working | March 20, 2018

(I supervise the registers at a popular home goods store. One day, two employees are running the customer service registers, where people can also check out, and I’m directing traffic and basically cleaning up the messes that are everywhere. My two coworkers are [Cashier #1], a 19-year-old who has run a register for six months or so, and [Cashier #2], a 30-something who has worked for the company longer than I have and is technically my peer, though I’m always teaching her things. I’m finishing up with one customer when I realize that both my coworkers are standing by the same register.)

Me: “What’s going on? Maybe I can help.”

Cashier #2: “I can’t figure out the change to give her. I put it in wrong.”

(I look at the receipt that’s sitting on the counter. It says that the customer bought one item, the total was $6.28, and the customer paid $6.30.)

Me: “How much money did she actually give you?”

Cashier #2: “$6.35.”

Me: *not sure I heard that right* “So, she gave you five cents more than you put in the cash register?”

Cashier #2: “Yes.”

Me: “Then you give her five cents more than the cash register tells you to give.”

Cashier #2: *blank look*

Me: “Did you give her the two cents from the receipt?”

Cashier #2: “No, because I knew it wasn’t right!”

Me: “Okay, well, she gave you five cents more than the receipt says she gave you, so you give her five cents more than the register says to give her.”

Cashier #2: *same blank look*

Me: “Seven cents.”

(In the end, I have to reach into her register to pull the change out for the poor customer. After she leaves, the other cashier drops this line.)

Cashier #1: “I couldn’t figure it out, either, so I told her just to void the transaction.”

Me: “Wait, what? Did we re-ring it?”

Cashier #1: “I don’t know.”

(We counted the cashier’s drawer and, sure enough, it was over by $6.28. We still had the receipt from the return, so we were able to re-ring the purchase to even out her drawer and our inventory. The worst part is that not only did two grown women not know how to “fix” a five-cent mistake, but the older one is actually a teacher by day!)

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