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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Come on! Let's Hear You Count It Back To Me

You'd think I'd be the type to be right on top of my Christmas shopping, wouldn't you? Someone who has it all done by December 1st and then sits back and lets the holiday spirit wash over her like so many Floridian waves.

What? You didn't think that?

I've misunderestimated you.

Truth is, I did the bulk of my holiday shopping in a lunch-hour frenzy yesterday (Great Things About Working Downtown #3 -- Access to Excellent Shopping).

And you know me. I'm nothing if not observant.

Observation made yesterday?

No one counts back your change anymore.

Remember that first job, probably in 9th or 10th grade? Someone handed you a ten for a $2.50 item and you counted their change back to them: 50 makes it three, four, five, and a five makes it ten. Thank you! Come again!

Surprisingly enough, it occurred to me yesterday, as the clerks handed me back lumps of cash, change, and receipts that I'd not had change counted back to me in years.

I shared this with my friend Mary.

"Ha!" she says. "I think it's because they can't add."

"You do realize," I said, "that we are of the generation that checks our calculators by working it out on paper."

She laughed. "I had an argument with someone just the other day that there was no way that six 39-cent cookies came to four dollars."

"What?" I said. "That's stupid. Where did she come up with that?"

"Because it's what the cash register kept ringing up! I'd tell her that it was wrong, she'd zero it out, ring it up again and there it was! Four dollars! So I told her, look, let's say the cookies are 40 cents apiece. There's six of them. Six times forty is what?"

"What'd she say?"

"She didn't say anything. She just kept ringing it up and re-ringing it up and the damn thing kept telling her that the total was four dollars. I finally had to leave."

"Without the cookies?"

"Do you believe it?!"

Initially, you know, I didn't believe it, but Miz Marybeth Campbell, of the Tight-Fisted Campbells, is not one to squander her money.

Unless it's on beer.

But cookies?

The answer here is "no".


Carol said...

I'm still shopping... haven't started wrapping either.
We always count our change if it is handed to us without being counted out.

Ms Sparrow said...

You're so right! Nobody gives you the courtesy of verifying the change anymore. If they shorted me, I'm in the position of standing there and counting to make sure it's correct and then facing the potential embarassment of a sneer from the cashier or eye-rolling from those in line behind me. (At least I don't have a little coin purse to further amuse the observers.)

Lori E said...

Okay you did know that you counted out your change wrong above?
If the item is $2.50 then .50 would make it $3.00 not .75 would make it $3.00 after that you did just fine though.
Heaven forbid something comes to $4.23 and you give them $10.25. All the electrons zapping without connections in their heads makes them cry.

Jayne Martin said...

Crap, you're observant. I hadn't thought about that in years, but you're so right. Nobody counts back change. Well, sometimes if you get a (ahem) "mature" clerk they will at least spread out the bills and make the effort that they know it's correct. As for shopping, yeah... that ain't happening this year.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Not only do they not count it, but they drop the coins on top of the bills, which causes them to fall off. We were carefully taught to put the coins right into the palm of the hand, THEN add the bills. Where are the standards?

Douglas said...

I'm with Blissed-Out Grandma (well, not with her but, you know, on her side), the clerk puts the receipt and the bills (if any) on top and then on top of that, the coins. But I have mastered the art of counting my change by glance. This has saved me much embarrassment since I no longer have to take off my shoes and socks when counting over ten.

Ugich Konitari said...

When we were small, my mother ensured we knew our tables by taking us shopping for veggies and groceries, and asking us to calculate the total , ensuring that we managed it before the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper calculated sums on a sheet, and earned a terrible look from her if he made a mistake. Thats how we Indians became good in Maths. Just be happy we werent doing our shopping in the US supermarkets/shops etc. The lady at the cash register would have , maybe , just become speechless.

Brian Miller said...

scary those that come out of college now without the rudimentary skills. going to get my calculator now to check the math on the cookies. lol.

LucyCooper said...

This is one funny post, Miz Pearl.
I would have been afraid to challenge the cookie amount, because I am often shocked at the amount the cash register rings up. I always think I've spent less than I have. But when I get to my car and study the receipt, I realize, no, that's right. I just suck at budgeting and adding in my head.

Kelly said...

When I got my 1st after-school job, at a burger joint of course, I did not know how to count back change. I became lightning fast at subtracting in my head and would do pretty darn good until someone would throw a monkey wrench by including an extra nickel or quarter. One day a customer, of all people, saw through my ruse and taught me then and there how to count back change.

Stephanie said...

I definitely counted back change when I volunteered at my local rodeo chuckwagon last summer. Lucky for me all foods cost whole dollars. Always considered myself bright but found that kind of work is a lot harder than I expected...

Madame DeFarge said...

I haven't started shopping yet. And probably won't either. Just because. And my mental arithmetic is always tested at our local beer festival when we have to do complicated sums on our fingers.

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

You know what's fun? Sometimes I like to give tellers change just to see if they can count.
Let's say you've just purchased something and it rings up to $13.69. I will give them a $20 bill and 3 quarters. You can usually tell in that first second whether or not they can count.
My wife will laugh after we leave and say, "You just did that on purpose."

otin said...

Things have really changed! I have gotten short changed on numerous occasions, and I am not just talking about my genetics, either! LOL!

savannah said...

change is still counted out here in the south, sugar! xoxoxo

Pearl said...

Holy crap, Lori!! You're right.

Eating crow (the Cool Whip makes it palatable!),

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Haha. MHS always makes it a point to let me know if someone counted back change to him. He gets a kick out of it because it's so rare. I think cashiers stopped counting back when the register started telling them how much change to give. Me? I'm happy if they thank me for the business. (also rare)

GIANTS FAN said...

This is a great site you have here. I just found it from a friend's page. I have a humor blog as well and I'd like to exchange links with you. This will spread some traffic around between us. Let me know if this is cool.


Jen said...

Some don't even handle the change. They hand you the bills and a machine spits the coins into a little bowl.

Tempo said...

Your friend is right..the little morons cant count anymore. Rude, disrespectful and not interested in their jobs....Sack them all and employ us old farts to do it...Oh, wait! I dont want to deal with argumemtative customers either...

Joanna Jenkins said...

You're right! No one counts change anymore. When did that happen!?!? I liked having my change counted back to me. now I'll have to say "In the good old days....."

I'm out of town all next week without an Internet connection so I'll catch up on your posts when I return. Have a great week.


Gregory said...

reminds me, "customer service" no longer exists to the younger generation. The idea that in my industry, for example, John is really not my boss, it is the customer that pays my salary, therefore, "the customer is always right" I notice this mainly when going through the drive through window in the summertime, when most if not all of these positions are held by kids of 16-18 year olds. Seems the clerks these days feel they are doing you a service above and beyond what they should be expected to do... back when I was a kid, manners counted for something... "can I get you anything else, sir?"