Monday, November 1, 2010

A Real Life Story

Well, this story can't wait until tomorrow.  It has to be told tonight.

OK, here is how it unfolds.  Naturally, I am inside the Big Ten-Cent Store. (AKA: Dee-Eye).  I have found two items I can't live without and a third that I might be able to live without.  The sum of the first two items is $3.50 and with tax the total is 3.71.  Listen carefully because these numbers are part of this Real Life Story.

OK, so I take all three items to the checkout.  Meanwhile, the clerk and I get ourselves all jumbled up in a hopeless tangle of verbal misunderstandings.  We have to repeat stuff to each other two or three times before both of us understand what the other one said.  (No, it wasn't because of my poor hearing.  It was Monday, remember?)  I joked that it was Math Mayhem Monday and she laughed.

Meanwhile, I paid $10.75 and all I got as change was $2.04.

Um...I smiled and said, "I gave you a ten dollar bill."

Um...she smiled and pulled out another five but immediately summoned the Manager Matt. 

They whispered back and forth between themselves and I said, "Excuse Me, is this something I need to know?"  At which time Matt walks around the counter and leans over me and says, "You paid with a $5 bill!"

OK, now, at that point I had two choices: A) Get real defensive or B) Play Dumb.  I chose Option B.  I opened my wallet and pointed to the other ten dollar bill there and said, "Well, gee, moments ago there were two of them and now there's only one!"  That line didn't do anything to help the situation.  So, there ensued a "let's play a game" kind of thing.  Finally, Matt decides the only way to prove or disprove my assertion was to balance the cashier's cash register drawer against the tape.  I agreed. Matt meanwhile agreed to give me a "get out of jail free" pass if I would give him my vital statistics--name, rank and serial number.  No problem, I willingly obliged.  Afterall, I had willingly chosen Option B.

After Matt left, I chit-chatted with the Clerk and told her how it was undoubtedly my fault since it was a Monday and I was a Math Dunce.  She was gracious and we departed the store with our two items while the third was put on hold for an hour.

Meanwhile, I went home and Googled up the third item.  It's called a "gate wheel."  Yeah, I know that's so totally esoteric that anyone who's still reading at this point is rolling their eyes past the point of no return.  But, hey, a guy's gotta have a gate wheel once in awhile, ya know?  So, I determined the gate wheel sells retail on Amazon and Northern Equipment for $40 plus maybe $10-12 in shipping.  That's pretty pricey when I could get it for a mere ten bucks back down at Dee-Eye.

So, I drive back to Dee-Eye to buy the gate wheel.  When I get there, Matt is near the registers.  So I go over and say, "Hey, Matt, I've been thinking about all of this and I've decided it HAS to be MY mistake.  It couldn't POSSIBLY be your clerk's mistake because she handles money all day long and doesn't make mistakes.  So, here's $5 bucks and let's forget about it, OK?"

Well, Matt is obviously taken aback by this turn of events.  And he says, "Well, gee, OK, I will put this in a separate place and we will balance the cash drawer against the tape--do you want me to call you?"  And I magnanimously said, "Oh, heck, Matt, I already know I was wrong so don't bother, you have so much to do anyway."  He smiled.  I smiled.  Our paths diverged.  I departed with my gate wheel.

Meanwhile, time passed.  By and by this evening my cell phone rings and it's a number I don't recognize.  I answer it.  It's Matt from Dee-Eye.  I am thinking, "Now what?"  He's nice and he says, "Well, John, we balanced the drawer and you were right, she was wrong and we owe you five dollars, I'm sorry for the inconvenience."  Frankly, I was stunned.  I had convinced myself that it was my error.  I can be a real airhead on Mondays.  But it was THEIR mistake.  Amazing.  I was gracious and told him how much I appreciated his call and said all of the rest of the things polite people say.

Then I hung up shaking my head.  What just happened there?  It's making me LOL as I type this blog post.
I had myself completely talked into being an airhead and passing a $5 bill as a $10 bill.  Meanwhile, it really had been a $10 bill and somehow the clerk convinced herself it was a $5 bill.  It's quite comical, actually, but it's a Real Life Story and I'm sticking to it!

Cheers, jp

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