Counting Counts

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: The Cheeseman | June 27, 2021

I work in a drugstore that also has photo printing services. During the peak holiday season, a lady and her husband come in to use the self-service photo kiosk and print off 173 photos. While they’re printing, the lady shops around and picks out a single Chapstick.

Once her photos are done printing, she brings the pictures plus her Chapstick up to the counter and hands me a coupon for $1 off healthcare items.

We’re really busy, and the way our system works, you have to scan a barcode for the photos and enter the quantity to make the system calculate the total. The max you can enter is ninety-nine. If it’s more than ninety-nine, you have to scan it a second time and do the math manually to calculate the difference. There’s a huge line, so I really don’t feel like taking the extra five seconds to figure it out. Usually, when I do this, I err on the side of caution and intentionally undercalculate by a couple of photos to avoid someone coming back and saying I overcharged them.

I scan it once for ninety-nine and then a second time for like forty. I admit, this is my mistake, but it is the holidays and I am feeling generous. Shouldn’t have done that.

I scan the Chapstick and the coupon. The coupon rejects because Chapstick doesn’t qualify as a “healthcare item” I explain that we can’t use that coupon, and her husband immediately says, very aggressively:

Husband: “I AM A LAWYER! IF YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE COUPONS LIKE THIS, THEY NEED TO SPECIFY WHAT QUALIFIES AND WHAT DOESN’T!”

And so on and so forth.

Me: “Okay, no problem. We’ll override that for you.”

I void the transaction and re-ring it. But this time, I take my time to make sure I ring them for exactly the number of photos they got. I override the coupon and I tell them the total, which is now four or five dollars MORE than their previous one. I explain what I did on the previous transaction and that I did that because I was in a hurry, but for the sake of accuracy, I’ve done everything correctly this time.

They huff a little bit and leave, and I go on about my day.

About an hour later, the wife comes back and says her total doesn’t seem right. I offer to take a look at the receipt and we go over it together.

Me: “Okay, you got 173 photos. They’re 39 cents each.”

I punch it into the calculator,

Me: “That equals [amount]. Plus your Chapstick which was $3.29, minus your one-dollar coupon. That makes your total [total].”

Lady: “HA! But you charged me more than that! See?”

She points at her total.

Me: “Yes, ma’am, that’s tax, which is calculated at 7%.”

I enter that into the calculator, and we get the exact amount on her receipt. She’s looking really confused. She frowns.

Lady: “Hmmm… that still doesn’t seem right.”

Sorry. Can’t teach you math. But let me tell you, I will never cut corners to help someone out again.

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I Was A Teenage Beowulf

, , , , , , , , | Working | July 27, 2020

I’ve just started an after-school job at a print shop. My job involves cleaning, making sure the machines always have paper and ink, and clearing jams. My trainer is showing me around showing how to check the paper and ink levels and explaining what the machines do. Soon, we get to the biggest machine.

Trainer: “And now we get to the banner printer…”

Suddenly, the machine starts making this ungodly grinding noise.

Trainer: “And the beast awakes; that, dear squire, is Grendel’s Mother. When she roars like this, there is but one solution. One must take up Hrunting and strike at the beast’s head.”

I look at her like she’s crazy.

The trainer grabs a Nerf sword with the word Hrunting written on it from beside the printer and whacks the printer with it. The grinding stops.

Trainer: “Seriously, she’ll do that every now and then; just smack her. Right here, not over here, and don’t hit any buttons when you hit her. The old hag is older than both of us and replacing her would cost more than we make off her in two years. Percussive maintenance has proven effective. Just don’t use Naegling on Grendel’s Mother; he’s just for getting paper to fit into the compactor.”

“Naegling” was written on the back of the yardstick, which was indeed useful for getting things into the compactor.


This story is part of our July 2020 Roundup – the best stories of the month!

Read the next July 2020 Roundup story!

Read the July 2020 Roundup!

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They’re A McDud  

, , , , , , | Working | October 7, 2019

(I’m the supervisor of a little retail print shop, and the store manager has recently hired a new employee against my better judgement. Her only qualification is that she sometimes uses Photoshop at home. However, her cousin works in a different part of the store as a cashier and put in a good word for her, so the manager assumes it is worth a try. Unfortunately, she can barely function in the role she is given. Despite my many attempts to walk the employee through the basics, even leaving printed directions and the phone numbers of other stores in the chain so that on-duty associates can help her if she gets stuck, she never improves. My store manager even sets her up with some online training courses to complete, to no avail. One day, while I am trying to find a customer’s order form so I can quality check it…)

Me: “Okay, so, up next we have Mr. Mc[Customer]. Let’s pull up his order.”

(I head to the filing cabinet — yeah, this print shop is slightly behind the times — and look for the document under M. There’s no form. Then, I look for it under N and L just in case it was off by one letter on accident. Still no form.)

Me: “[Employee], you filled out a form for this customer’s order, right?”

Employee: “Yes. And I filed it under his name.”

Me: “Can you show me, please?”

(The employee walks over, opens the cabinet, and pulls the form from the C folder.)

Employee: “Under C for ‘Mc[CUSTOMER].’”

Me: “Okay. For future reference, if a customer’s last name starts with ‘Mc,’ ‘Mac,’ ‘O’,’ or similar, that first portion of the last name counts, too. So, you’d file a Mc[Customer] under M, and an O’Sullivan would be filed under O, and so on.”

Employee: “Ooohhhhhhh.”

(Unfortunately, my attempt to explain didn’t help. This sort of conversation was a regular occurrence. I always tried to be super polite when explaining these things to the employee, but there were times I really wanted to lose my temper. She was still working there by the time I quit because the store manager felt too guilty to fire his cashier’s cousin, even though she was still struggling to handle her four-hour shift duties after almost a year on the job.)

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Tattoo Are You?

, , , | Right | October 6, 2019

(For a short while, the shop I work at has four workers — including me — who have similar distinguishing features. This kind of interaction happens often, but only once when all of us are working at the same time.)

Customer: “Hi. I’m here to proof an order. I can’t remember the person who helped me, but she wears glasses and has long brown hair.”

Me: “Well, that could be any of us. If you let me know what name your order is under, I could complete it for you.”

Customer: “Umm, I’d rather continue working with the person I placed the order with. There are some details I wanted to make sure were done correctly and we had already started talking about that.”

Me: “Okay. Was there anything else that would help let me know who it was?”

Customer: “I think she had tattoos.”

Me: “Well, that eliminates one of us. It can’t be [Coworker #1].”

([Coworker #2] walks by with a stack of paper in their arms.)

Me: “[Coworker #2], did you happen to help this gentleman with his order?”

Coworker #2: *takes a moment to jog her memory* “I’m sorry, but I don’t think so. Did you check with [Coworker #1]? She was working yesterday.”

Me: “No, he says it was a woman wearing glasses with long brown hair and tattoos.” *addressing the customer* “Excuse me for a moment and let me check with [Coworker #3].”

(I head into the back and ask [Coworker #3] to take a glance and see if this was their customer. They, too, do not recognize the customer and I’m starting to be at a loss. As a last resort, I go into the break room where [Coworker #1] is eating their lunch and ask them to take a glance at the customer through the break room’s door.)

Coworker #1: *sighs* “Yeah, that’s him. I can take care of it now.”

Me: “Don’t worry. I’ll let him know that you’re on break and that if it’s absolutely necessary that he can either wait for you or I can complete the order.” *whispering* “He seems dense enough that I could convince him that I’m you.”

(I head back to the front where the customer has been waiting while mentally face-palming about this whole interaction. I show them the proof, and he reviews the spelling, for which I have to point to each item and ask if it is correct because he only seems to be glancing at the text and saying it looks fine. He also becomes very dismissive of the details he was fretting over previously. I mark down the corrections and complete the transaction.)

Me: “I’ll have [Coworker #1] finish up your order, but—” *out of morbid curiosity* “—do you mind me asking why you said that the person who started your order has tattoos? She actually abhors them.”

Customer: “All of your coworkers, and yourself, have tattoos, so I just assumed she did.”

Me: *pause* “Okay, we’ll see you tomorrow.”

(When my coworker came back from break and I told her about the interaction, we joked about having to do a police line-up for future customers like that.)

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Dirty Behavior Is On The Cards

, , , | Right | September 16, 2019

(I work in a print shop. I’m bringing a customer his order to the front counter, where another order for a different customer was left by my boss. When I get to the counter, I see that he’s manhandling a custom playing card deck, trying to keep the rubber band in place while folding over the cards to look at the back.)

Me: “Excuse me, that’s another customer’s order. Could you please not do that?!”

Customer: “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize.”

(I gave him a look, reconsidered losing my cool with him, and swapped the cards out of his hands for his actual order. That’s when I noticed that he had the dirtiest hands I’d ever seen. I simply walked into the back and let my boss deal with the rest of the transaction. I had to reprint the other customer’s order because he had creased the cards and put oily smudges all over them.)

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