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Monday, January 16, 2012

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

Mary, my wee, red-headed Mary, threw me a surprise party for my 50th birthday Saturday. Having spent the day on the edge of tears (for several reasons, and no, don’t think you’re going to get away without hearing about it later), I found out the reason for the callous indifference of my so-called friends was that they were all gathered at The Spring and awaiting my arrival.

We closed the joint down.

Sunday Mary and I drove two hours north to have lunch with my parents. After we returned, I went on to a three-hour proofreading job.

I told that to tell you this: I didn’t write.

But I will! Of course, I will. Until I get the opportunity, however, a little re-worked post from almost three years ago now.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s nap time.


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 another 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 say, "that we are of the generation that checks our calculators by working it out on paper."

She laughs. "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? That's stupid. Where did she come up with that?"

"It was 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're six of them. Six times forty is what?"

There is a slight pause as Mary and I multiply six times forty in our heads.

"So,” I say, “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.” Mary shakes her head sadly. “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.

Nor is she one to abandon cookies.

What’s the world coming to?

48 comments:

♥ Braja said...

I remember this one :)

Happy birthday my lovely Pearl-one :))) Wish we could raise a bubbly glass together....

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Happy Birthday Pearlie Girl.

Pearl said...

Braja, I shall raise a virtual glass!

Delores, thank you, sweetheart. :-)

Leenie said...

HAPPY BIG FIVE OH! (my oh my oh my oh my oh my oh.......:D!!!! many, many happy returns.

Leenie said...

p.s. mine is tomorrow...I hit that one Paul McCarney used to wonder about (many years ago).

Pearl said...

Leenie, and we shall still need you. And feed you. As of tomorrow. :-)

Leenie said...

Thanks, Pearl! Good to know.

Fragrant Liar said...

Happy birthday, Pearl. Remember, fifty is the new forty! And change.

Austan said...

Happy Birthday Pearl! And remember, it's only change that counts!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Many happy returns!
Kids these days--it's a shame.

Laraine Eddington said...

Doing math in front of strangers IS rather stressful. Many happy returns. (I have never known what this phrase meant, but it sounds English)

Saimi said...

Ah my Pearlie friend you are but 9 months ahead of me!! Happy Birthday!!

Eva Gallant said...

I read somewhere that McDonalds came up with the register that told the clerk how much change was due because most of their employees didn't know how to count it back!

Shelly said...

Happy birthday, Pearlie! I've been in the land of 50 for a couple of months, and I have to tell ya- it's a great place to be~

Glen said...

Happy Birthday - you so don't live 50! meanwhile I have my tongue out, a pen and a post it note trying to figure out how much they cost....

Technology - you just can't escape it's influence - even three years ago when you were a wee 40's year old

Vapid Vixen said...

Okay, wait. Again, is this for real? You really just turned 50? You're 50 years old, you can do the splits, you look like you're in your 30's and...AND you can add??? I'm beginning to think this is one of those fiction blogs.

jenny_o said...

Happy Birthday, Pearl, and here's to many, many more!

Did Liza Bean make it to the party?

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Happy birthday! Surprises are great, except for that feeling-abandoned-all-day thing. Glad you got to celebrate in style!

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Hey, happy belated birthday, Big Lithe Pearl (as I'm now calling you, yogamaster!) I can't wait to read the resulting shenanigans. Because I know there were shenanigans, AMIRITE?

Don't you hate when people right "AMIRITE"? Ha!

Daisy said...

Happy Birthday from us too Pearl.
:-)

Jo said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Pearl!

Camille said...

Hurray for Pearl - Happy Birthday to you my dear! It's about dang time you joined the 50ish and fabulous club.

Douglas said...

Happy birthday (which it sounds like you had), Pearly!

Just know this: the first 50 are easy, it gets much tougher from here on out.


As for those idiots who cannot count out change... they don't have to. The "cash register" (now a computer) tells them how much money to give to the customer and no boss in his right mind would demand common sense and reasonable standards in his/her employees today.

CarrieBoo said...

Congrats on reaching the big 50 still relatively in tact. :D (And completely fabulous!)

bill lisleman said...

Happy Birthday - great to find an honest woman who can both count change and years.

I'm trying to start a laugh party over on my blog. Open invitation.

Wow, that was awkward said...

Here I thought I was off work today and hanging with my kids (no school) because it is MLK Day. Half the holiday must be for your birthday - hurrah and happy bday to you Pearl!

Craver Vii said...

I caught myself reaching for the calculator while reading this. I'm red-faced; shame on me! But I quickly realized my folly and left it alone, saying (two-forty) out loud.

I want to teach my youngest to count his change. He's thirteen. "Son, as my poppa taught it to me, and his poppa taught it to him..." Wait! It was my mom who taught me to count the change. Nevermind. I guess this, like hair loss, is transferred maternally.

Craver Vii said...

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Linda O'Connell said...

Happy birthday to you Keep-'em- laughin' Pearl.

Steve Bailey said...

Happy 50!!! Which according to my new school math is a number somewhere between 10 and 70.,... Man Im smart-ish!

Sush said...

Happy Birthday Pearly and sadly I am amongst the math challenged people of the world. I'd fail at counting back the money...or at least take way to long!

vanilla said...

Congratulations on your successful entry into your sixth decade of life! May you have many more happy birthdays, decades worth, in fact.

The Elephant's Child said...

Happy Birthday. Capricorns rock.

Michelle said...

ROKST and DANA us what I got..and SOGERE.
It's a real SQUALL out there.
Ask QUANDERY or CHEPPECO.
INKST 's the word with DANTS.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Forget the "virtual glass"....I'm glugging the red wine in your honour. 50 is a GREAT year. That's when I took up snow boarding (and gave it up again 9 months later). Have a happy day and a stupendous year. The best is yet to come!
Rosemary

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Happy 50th birthday, Pearl! I'm so glad you had a blow-out surprise party courtesy of wee Mary and your other friends. Turning 50 seems the blush of youth to me these days as I get into my later 60's. However, I distinctly remember the pain of turning 50. I was in grad school for my clinical psychology degree and spent my birthday in a Couples Counseling class, working with a volunteer couple who screamed and yelled and wouldn't do anything I asked. So I think you had a much better intro to your fifties! Congratulations!!

Belle said...

Sounds like a great party! Happy 50th. The fifties are a good decade in my experience.

Gia said...

Happy Birthday!!!!


And I figured it was a time thing, and the fact that most people pay with credit cards...

Joanna Jenkins said...

Happy Happy Birthday, Pearl Can't wait to hear the details. I hope you had a fantastic time.

xoxo jj

Michelle said...

SUCTORDO!

River said...

Happy Birthday Pearl!!

The girl on the till should have called her manager over, clearly the till is faulty and needs to be checked out. Surely she knew that six times forty is $2.40.

The Jules said...

Happy Belated Birthday Pearly!

I initially made a typo there and wrote 'bleated' but changed it. And now I like the idea of you having a happy bleat.

x

Boom Boom Larew said...

Happy Birthday, Pearl! The other day at Barnes & Noble, the young man who took my money had to use a calculator to figure out my change because he accidentally hit the wrong button on the cash register. He had to figure out what the change was for $23.07 when I gave him $23.10. Pathetic!

NotesFromAbroad said...

How were you able to have a Birthday without me knowing about it ?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY , DEAR PEARL !!!!

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

I, too, counted out changed in ALL my several (hundred) high school and college jobs. I could count your change in my damn sleep.
Pearl, Pearl, Pearl...Happy Birthday! You still just a girl. ;)

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

I am obviously working my way backward through your recent posts -- and I'm very pleased to read that your birthday had a happy ending!
And, yes, no one counts back change anymore, or uses a hankie, or knows what an andiron is (I know that one is kind of random, but it's what popped in to my brain at the moment) ;)

Susan in the Boonies said...

Oh,how I wish I could have been there to celebrate with you and your friends. Some day, Pearl! Happy Birthday, my dear!

BECKY said...

Happy Birthday, Pearl! Our paths have crossed numerous times in comment sections, and I don't know why I've never stopped long enough to read your blog and become a Follower. I recently had a birthday, too. It was Jan 6th. I'm not too wild about my age either...but you know what "they" all say...It's better than the alternative. I'll stop back by as often as I can!