Taking A Penny, But Giving You His Two Cents

, , , , , , | Right | November 1, 2019

(A guy comes up to the registers with three small housewares items, totaling $1.75. The guy rummages in his pockets and clatters down $1.50 in quarters, two dimes… and FOUR pennies.)

Customer: “Well, looks like I’ve only got $1.74. You can take that, right?”

(He gives me a tiny smirk, automatically assuming that I can.)

Me: *apologetically* “No, sir, I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

(His smirk dies.)

Customer: “Well, do you have one of those coin trays?”

(He’s looking for the give-a-penny, take-a-penny thing.)

Me: “No, sir. We don’t have one of those.”

Customer: “Why not?!”

(I explain. To sum it up, our money goes to a local No-Kill animal shelter for surrendered pets and strays. We make money off items sold, and we have little house-shaped banks to take dollar bills, and a pair of Big Belly Banks — one penguin, one begging dog — for coins, which kids and even adults love. Any declined change goes straight into these banks as a direct donation.)

Customer: “That’s ridiculous. You should just have a tray for loose change!”

(He then drops a dime on the counter. Now, here’s the thing: he didn’t rummage in his pocket to try to scrounge up what he owed. He made no effort to LOOK for more money. He literally had the dime in his palm the ENTIRE TIME that he was trying to get me to accept a penny less for what he was buying. I don’t say the half-dozen smart-mouthed things that fly through my head as I make the nickel in change for him.)

Customer: *retorts, in what is clearly a Direct Order from His High And Mighty-ness* “Just keep the nickel and use it to spot someone else who is short! I can’t believe you won’t take a freaking penny less!”

Me: *sickly-sweet grin, calling out as he stomps out the door* “The homeless animals thank you for your donation, sir! I’m sure they appreciate you not stealing money from them!”

(Maybe petty. Maybe passive-aggressive. But I don’t regret a word of it. I fed the penguin bank his nickel at the end of the night. Oddly enough, no one else had the gall to try to short change our charity.)

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