The Couponator: The College Years

, , , , | Working | January 5, 2019

(In Slovenia we have student coupons; the government gives 2,63€ toward your meal as many times a month as there are working days in a month, up to twice a day, with a four-hour cooldown, between eight am and nine pm. The coupons are tied to your identity and phone number, which are confirmed by devices, kind of like the ones for paying with mobile phones, hence the term ”calling” for coupons. Since eating out with a coupon is often cheaper than cooking at home, students end up being the majority of customers in a lot of places. One day after work I go to a kebab place just down the street. It’s already 20:50, so I’m in a hurry to use my coupon since the price difference can be more than 5€ for a full meal.)

Me: *in Slovene* “Hi. I’d like to order with student coupons.”

Cashier: *English* “Huh? I don’t understand?”

Me: *English* “Student coupons?”

Cashier: “I don’t know how to do that. The guy who knows just stepped out. Would you mind waiting?”

Me: “No problem, but could I just call for coupons? It only works until nine pm.”

Cashier: “Sure. So, what do I do?”

Me: “I call—“ *pointing to the machine* “—and then you confirm my identity.”

Cashier: “Okay, do that.”

(I try but I see that it’s turned off. He has no idea how to turn it on, so I do it. When it comes to confirming my identity, however…)

Cashier: “So, what now?”

Me: “You look at my ID and hit confirm.”

Cashier: “Can’t you do it?”

Me: “Not really; it has to be you. I can’t confirm my own identity, can I?”

Cashier: “I guess that makes sense.” *hits confirm* “So, what would you like?”

Me: “Menu five, please.”

Cashier: “What comes with menu five?”

Me: “Kebab and fries, and since it’s a student meal it should have soup and salad, too.”

Cashier: “We don’t have any soup or salad.”

(They do; offering a menu with soup and salad is. a requirement for entering the program.)

Cashier: “But I guess I could make something. Uh, it looks like the other guy is not coming back. How much do you owe me?”

Me: *already regretting my decision to eat at this place* “3,30€.”

(Note that without student coupons a combo would cost 7,50€, so I could easily be trying to fleece him, but he doesn’t even question it.)

Cashier: “So, you give me 3.30€?”

Me: “Yes, and you give me a receipt.”

Cashier: “I only know how to do receipts for normal orders. Do you really need it?”

Me: “It’s the law that you have to give me a receipt and I have to take it. I don’t want to get you in trouble.”

Cashier: “Oh, right. But I don’t know how to do that for student coupons.”

Me: *trying to remember how these terminals worked from my old job* “There should be a button saying, ‘student meal,’ or something like that. They’re all the same price regardless of what is being ordered.”

Cashier: “I think I found it. It says 5,93€ for a student meal, but you said 3,30€. Am I doing this right?”

Me: “The government gives 2,63€, so I give you the rest. You should apply the student discount to the meal.”

Cashier: “I see. Sorry about. I’m new here, and I have no idea how the system works. I’m not from Slovenia; I just moved here a month ago.”

Me: “It’s all right. I’m just happy I got my food.”

(The food was all right, but I still don’t understand why would they leave an untrained worker to work alone without even an explanation of how the student coupon system works, especially when that is where most of your revenue comes from!)

Related:
The Couponator 10: Expiration Day
The Couponator 9: The Passive Aggression
The Couponator 8: The Fabric Of Reality

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