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Trust But Verify

, , , , , , , , | Working | August 27, 2020

This happens when I am an extremely awkward and anxious youth in my late teens, already living alone. I don’t have a lot of money but I take cash out and go to get a few things at the supermarket; it comes to about £3. I hand over the only cash I have: a £20 note. The cashier hands me back £2 and my receipt and goes to start on the next customer, while I stand there, staring at my change, starting to panic.

Cashier: “Is there a problem?”

Me: “Um… I— I gave you a twenty.”

Cashier: “No, you didn’t.”

Yeah, she thinks I’m trying to scam her. And my demeanor does NOT help my case.

Me: “Yes, um, I did. You put it in the till.”

Twenties go into a box under the till, since they can’t be used for change; next to nowhere in the UK accepts £50 notes.

Cashier: “No, I’m sure you only gave me a fiver.”

Me: “I didn’t. It was a twenty. It’s in the till.”

The cashier is now looking at me very suspiciously.

Cashier: “Why would anyone pay for £3 with a twenty?”

I’m starting to really freak out, sweating, and looking even more suspicious.

Me: “It’s all I had! I need the change! It’s all I have until I get paid!”

Cashier: “Uh-huh. Well, I can’t open my till, but I can call over my manager and he can do so.”

I suspect she is either trying to give me an opportunity to leave or to just put me off.

Me: “Yes. Okay. Call your manager.”

She did so. We stood there waiting in the most awful, awkward silence. He finally came over and she explained that I was “claiming” to have paid with a twenty. He shrugged, opened the till, and lo and behold: there was a crisp £20 note sat on top of all the fives. Her shock and surprise that I wasn’t scamming her were palpable. She finally gave me my change and I outright fled from the store.

That was about fifteen years ago. I’m doing a lot better, but I still remember it. And I really can’t blame her, but that time the customer actually WAS right!

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