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.
The answer here is "no".
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