Wednesday, February 20, 2013

6 x 6 = 25???

   As a cashier, I know that counting every single item that you have is frustrating. You told me you have 25 packs of kool-aid, and here I am, still counting. Can't I take you at your word? Let me tell you a story.
   Summer is when this happy little story takes place, high summer, BBQ weather. Corn selling at 25 cents an ear. Great price, and people can by corn in huge quantities. Boxes of corn that I have to get placed upon my overloaded belt so that I can dig around, get those strange little corn-strings scattered all over the place, especially my apron, and spend the rest of the day feeling super-duper grimy and itchy. I hate corn season. Love to eat corn; hate to sell it. I was wondering myself why I was counting all these corns and not just taking a customer at their word. I mean, usually when a person tells you they have 50 of something, that is actually what they do have, and I just look like a jackass when I count it all out.
   Then I had the customer. It's his turn at the belt and he looks at me, and without taking a single thing out of his cart, he tells me, "I have 6 bags with 6 corn in each. I have 25 corn."
    What? Not a math whiz here, but I don't think that's right.
     "I need to count your corn, sir," I tell him, and shit, even I know that my tone is a liiiiiittle bit pissy. But, I mean, come on, if you are going to scam me, at least try to be credible. I'm not dumb, regardless of what you have been trained into thinking about cashiers.
      He hands me one bag. There is nothing else in his cart but corn, the bottom is completely covered with produce bags stuffed with ears of corn meaning there is no way he only has 25, and he doesn't know his multiplication tables, but he expects to get away with just handing me one bag of his corn. Which, by the way, has more than 6 ears in it.
   "I need all the corn on the belt, sir," and now I sound super-pissy, but if the bossman gets called because of my attitude, I'm hoping he understands my situation.
   He doesn't ask for the boss, but doesn't put his corn up either. "I told you how many I have!"
   "Need them all, sir. 6 times 6 doesn't equal 25, and also, there are more than 6 in this bag."
   Oh yeah, I'm not in a good mood anymore. He still won't put the corn up, so I stalk around, slam his corn on the belt, go back behind the checkstand and start counting. Well, he has a lot more than 25. Closer to 100. Not quite, but closer. I don't know how you are going to manage to eat 100 ears of corn before they go bad, but whatever, it's your money. But if your going to lie about quantity, giving me a number so far off that you can tell just by sight that it's wrong is really dumb. Even if, for some reason, I didn't know that 6 x 6 is 36, I would know that something was up just from sight. He paid for them,  because considering that this was obviously not a mistake in counting, I didn't even ask if he wanted me to take some off and put them away. And he has never been back in my line. Scamming some other checker, no doubt. Not me.
   Unfortunately, this tale is the reason why we have to count quantity. Most customers are not lying, and sometimes there are honest mistakes, true. But there is always that jackass: the one who ruins things for everybody else. 

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