by Christine Lorraine ~ March 25, 2022
Yes, I was suffering from mixed emotions about the debit card company terminating my card due to suspicious activity – both relieved because nobody got a piece of my bank account’s pie, yet distraught because I needed to go shopping and my card simplified that process.
With that in mind, I wandered into one of those perpetually discounted stores with “dollar” in its name, where I was able to locate the items I wanted. The money games began when I approached the counter with the products I had selected and informed the attendant that I would NOT be using a card for this purchase.
“You’re paying with cash?” asked the young cashier lady with a dash of surprise in her voice. The unspoken part of her question was “Why?” followed by, “Cash? What’s that?”
So I gave her a five-dollar bill and a dime for a total that came to $5.05. She put the money in the draw and closed it efficiently, then turned her attention to the next customer.
“Do you keep the change then?” I asked, already knowing that she had no idea that she owed me any.
“What?” she asked dumbfounded.
“I just gave you five dollars and a dime for a bill that came to five dollars and five cents,” I explained.
“Oh you did?” She seemed surprised to learn of this. “What do I owe you then, a nickel?”
“It’s okay, don’t worry about it,” I comforted her, just wanting to get out the store at this point and not hold up the line. However, that wasn’t happening because by now she was growing irritated with me and my troublesome paper money. “I just didn’t want your register drawer count to get messed up,” I added for empathetic good measure.
Of course, by this time the formerly cool, calm and collected cashier was becoming agitated with the likes of me and my troublesome ways.
“No, here,” she said in an elevated tone as she dug through her pants pocket, pulling out lint, her cell phone, a set of keys, some change and various colored paper clips. “Here, take this nickel so you’ll have your money,” she said, arm extended outward, holding a lonely nickel in her hand.
If for no other reason than having mercy on the poor people stuck in a stalled cashout line, I took her personally-owned nickel and fled the store on foot at 5:45 p.m., into the 22-degree pre-winter darkness.
That was just the first stop.
Next it was time for a bite between shopping binges. Walked up the counter, ordered my “everything” fries, then laid a $20 bill on the counter. The young woman looked at my face and just stood there, dumbfounded.
“Can I help you?” I asked, already knowing the unconfirmed source of her perplexed state.
“How would you like to pay for that?” she asked tentatively.
I gestured toward the $20 laying on the counter, and she finally got the picture and picked up the money.
She poked a handful different buttons on her computerized money-taking machine, but nothing appeared to register. It was obviously allergic to non-plastic forms of payment, coupled with the fact that the young lady was clueless how to override her previous incorrect assumption that yet another plastic-clad customer was dining in.
Her manager showed up and knew the secret codes to make the money-taking computer operational again, but I stood there wondering what might have happened if her boss had decided to call off working at the fast-food drudge that particular evening.