25 May 2012

Yesterday was puzzling. Not brain-busting puzzling, but more like, a People, What the Frack? puzzling. On the first instance, I'm not sure if it's an indictment against the overall honesty of people in general, an indictment of the education system, or...what. The second...well, that woman was just a walking douche.

The fridge was near empty yesterday, so after the Spouse Thingy got up and had some time to be mostly coherent, we went grocery shopping. No, I do not just go and do this by myself. If there is torture to be had in the grocery aisles of Walmart, I am totally going to inflict it on him as well. I hate grocery shopping; I have no issues with sharing the pain.

We loaded a cart, specifically did not go through the self check out line because people who do that with full carts...those people suck. We waited in a cashiered line, the girl working rang everything up, and we paid. In cash. We still had money on us from going to Reno and neither of us feels especially comfortable walking around with that much cash, so why the hell not use it instead of a debit card?

I handed over $215 to cover a $212+change purchase, she counted it out, and then fished into the cash register or change, giving me back $7 + change.

Now, we started to walk off, but the little bells went off in both our heads, we looked at the receipt, and saw that she had added up our bills as $220.

No problem. I took the four steps back towards the cash register to tell her and to give back the $5 extra. The problem? She couldn't quite understand what I meant when I said, "I gave you two-fifteen, but you counted it as two-twenty...and I owe you five bucks."

She didn't quite get it. She was taking care of another customer and was distracted, so I didn't really think anything about it, but then she recited back the bills I had given her. Three 50s, three 20s, and a 5. Righto. That's 215. You gave me back five bucks too much.

I thought she had grasped it when she asked a manager for an audit...but then she started mumbling about the bills again and I got the impression she really didn't know what was happening. So I came right out and said, "I owe you five dollars. I don't want your till to come up short or for you to get in trouble over it."

The light bulb went off. This lady is giving money back, she doesn't want me to give her any.

I don't know how it played out, but I gave her the five bucks and told her if her till came up short, use it.

In some places, being that short will get your ass fired. It's just five bucks to me. But now I'm not sure if she really didn't grasp that I was returning the money and not asking for money back, or if she had a hard time believing someone would actually try to correct an error in their favor.

So really...are people that sucky that they walk off with money that's not theirs? Was it really bad math skills? Or is "I owe you five bucks" a difficult concept to digest? I dunno.

It's not even that five bucks is a small amount that I don't need. Thirty years ago, when we were broker than broke, a drive-through bank teller gave me $150 too much. That was life-changing money then it would have made a difference. But hell yes I gave it back. It wasn't mine. I've chased after people who have left behind 50 cents in the change cup at a register before. It's not the amount, it's the principle.

I don't get people who would think there are other options.

Granted, I've found money on the street before and kept it. We found a five dollar bill on the ground at a flea market in Utah once; who the hell do you give it back to when there are a thousand other people around, many of whom would claim it? When the Boy was six or so, I took him to Wendy's and the guy ahead of us dropped a money clip while he was picking up his tray. I didn't see it, but the Boy did...he never even thought twice about it, he grabbed it and ran to give it back to the guy. We didn't beat that into him--he just knew.

You do the right thing when you can.

And damn, I'm getting way off track here. Maybe.

I mostly forgot about it, and after we'd taken the groceries home and put them away, I needed to make another run, this time to Safeway, where they have much better fresh fruit. I grabbed about 6 things, then got into line behind a woman with a loaded cart. Ahead of her was another woman who had maybe 7 things, and she split them up, 5 food things she was paying for with an EBT card, two nonfood things she was paying for with cash.

No big deal.

Not until the woman ahead turned to me and said in a stage-type-whisper, "Those this will take for-ev-er."


Honestly, until she said that, I hadn't even noticed what the person ahead of us was doing. And even

"I'm not in a hurry and she's not hurting anyone..." That's all I could come up with at the time, though many other things have occurred to me since (and Susie McGavin had a golden reply on Facebook: "Do you mind if I go ahead of you? I have an EBT card, too, and the checkers like to group us together." Damn I wish I had thought of that....)

The thing is, I was standing there with just a few things. The woman ahead had just a few things. Little Miss Sunshine had a cart load...which she promptly abandoned as she hurried out the door, probably to find a pair of giant tweezers with which she could pick her panty wad out of her ass.

We both knew she didn't have an issue with time. She had an issue with someone using an EBT card.

People, we all pay taxes. There are things our tax dollars go to that I don't like, but I'm not naive enough to believe we necessarily should have a line-item say in what our money is spent on. Don't like the way it's spent, vote the spenders out of office. But food stamps? I have no problem with that. People are hungry, people need food, and this feeds some of them.

Hells bells, if you're using an EBT card I won't know it; how many people actually look hard enough at what appears to be someone else's debit card? And if you do, does it really matter?

I am fully aware that I have my own dooshbag moments, and as for making change...I have to count on my fingers. 

But there are some things about people that make me kinda sad. That it might be a shock for someone to do the right thing, and that there are people that judgmental...kinda sucks, actually.

Ya know who I really feel for? The poor kid who works at Safeway, who then had to take that woman's cart and out everything back.


Angel and Kirby said...

We do the right thing. The extra money we receive in change is not ours and could get someone fired. I have worked as wait staff and in retail. If the till was short, it came out of your pay envelope! And back then, I need every hours wage ($1.00) to feed a family!

The woman that walked on her cart was rude and out of place. If she had so little time to shop, why didn't she wait till she had plenty of time and not been a witch to every one else!

caircair said...

I would NEVER keep money I found, unless, as you say, there was no way to determine to whom it belonged.

Also, does Safeway deliver in your area? I know they do in some places, and I have to say shopping online and having them bring the groceries into the kitchen is sooo much nicer than lugging them home yourself.

Anonymous said...

I think most people would be honest, but a lot people would simply not notice. I am bad at just taking what they hand me, sticking it in my pocket and never even look. This will make me pay more attention, Thanks.

Shaggy and Scout said...

I like to surprise people who have just a few things when they come up behind me at the grocery store (I usually have a good load in the cart) by telling them to go on ahead of me. They always get this funny look on their faces then break out in a big smile. I hope my kindness to them results in a kindness to someone else or just gives them a lift when they may need it most.
As for that "lady". So many many people need assistance these days who never needed it before. What a bitch.