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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Come On, Let's Hear You Count It Back to Me

Hey -- When I re-post, I do it right. From December, two years ago...

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".


Esther Montgomery said...

I was about to think you are recommending we get our presents ready-wrapped now.

However, having got that straight, I now realise I have missed my vocation and should have been a shop assistant. I can fail to multiply with the best of them.


jabblog said...

You're absolutely right! No-one counts back the change now. I hardly notice because I do most of my shopping online but every now and then I do venture into the real world where people exist and I use hard currency and I'm just given a handful of coins of all denominations.

Daisy said...

Miz Marybeth of the tight-fisted Campbells has her priorities right! Beer is so much more nourishing than cookies! ;-)

klahanie said...

My goodness, well that 'takes the biscuit'...ummm, then again, maybe not.
And thanks for the reminder in regards to 'Boxing Day Eve', eh :)

Andrew said...

The register tells them how much change to give. They used to have to count back. You can't think of both at the same time. But the very obvious should be apparent. Are they paid enough to care?

Matthew MacNish said...

Are you talking about City Center or Nicolett Mall, or what? Because there's probably a difference. Although the last time I was there was in the 90s, so I'm probably wrong about that.

And this wins post of the day for creating the word misunderestimated. Awesome.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Do you really want to flip their lids? Say the bill comes to $3.54 and you have a five dollar bill. Offer them the four cents in pennies along with the five dollar bill. The look of sheer panic that crosses their faces is priceless. I love doing that.

KleinsteMotte said...

Why this post is filled with so many goodies it's better than cookies or beer or both! :)

Consciously Sedated said...

It's sad, really. You're right, though, we are the last generation of pencil and paper. People are becoming idiots. Technology has been wonderful in many regards, but it really is turning us into a society of zombie brains.

Anonymous said...

Grrrr. It's enough to make you walk away without the cookies. Or to toss your cookies, depending on the circumstances. --vanilla

Simply Suthern said...

I was the assistant in the occupation lab in school. I taught how to run a cash register and count money back. No one does that anymore. I also taught the keypunch machine. Not exactly a lifelong useful skill.

Susan in the Boonies said...

God gave us brains so that we'd use 'em. I'm of that same generation. But dang, don't my kids fight me on it?

Cake Betch said...

No, I can't count. I am the worst. I have always carried a torch of hatred for math and the calculator on my phone is my best friend. I worked the register once at Big Bear and I never counted money back because I can't do simple addition. I mean, I can, but not in my head, and when I'm put on the spot and try to do it all I see are dancing bears.

Unknown Mami said...

You know, I work at a place where I give change back and I always count it back because that ensures that I will balance at the end of the day and there are a few people that look at strange because they are not used to having people count money back.

The bad part is that when I go somewhere and someone just hands me a wad of money as change without counting back, I never remember to make sure they did it right. Not good.

jenny_o said...

"...the generation that checks our calculators by working it out on paper" - hah, yes, familiar tactic.

And god bless Bush's little heart for words like "misunderestimated". The man deserves a comedy medal of some kind. The "Unintentional Comedy" kind, actually.

Belle said...

I would bet it is a time-saving measure by the stores. I could be wrong, but it is true that no one counts back change any longer.

Cheeseboy said...

I love Christmas in July posts. Especially the funny ones like this.

IndigoWrath said...

Damn, they still let you use MONEY over there? Visa will never approve.

Gigi said...

You have misunderestimated me big time.....I never learned to count back change. Which means, that most of the time I'm probably being ripped off....

Eva Gallant said...

The machine tells them what to give. If they had to figure it out, they'd be stymied!

River said...

I rarely count change back, I just hand over the amount shown on the screen in the change window. However, today I keyed in that the customer gave me $100 instead of the $20 he actually gave me, so I counted back the correct change into his hand. Because I know how to do that. I learned my math before calculators.

Crystal Pistol said...

I felt a little nervous about a Christmas post in July. I can't say why. But I got a bit jumpy.

I am going to FORCE the general population of change givers to count my change to the very red cent from this day forward. We, as a people, must take responsibility for the education of our fellow citizens!!

Furthermore, you are very funny. And also, in addition, too, I would never have left without the cookies. Just never.