Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Exact Change Please

**Mini-rant warning**

At what point in modern history were retail cashiers no longer able to calculate change without the aid of register to do it for them?

Case in point: I went into my local grocery store the other day to purchase a couple of things. The total came up to $6.58 so I handed the girl a ten and two ones. She stood there with a blank look on her face that might just have well of said,"What planet are you from mister?"

I broke the silence and waved my hand in front of her glazed over face and said, "Is that a problem?"

She replied, "You just gave me twelve dollars, why the extra money?"

"That's so I will get a five dollar bill and forty two cents back, otherwise if I would have given you a ten you would have given me three ones plus the change," I said.

I could tell she still either didn't get it or just didn't believe me. None the less she typed in 1...2...0...0... and low and behold the register told her my change would be $5.42. Yes that's right, the register, not common sense told her this.

This my friends is a person who exchanges money all day long with people! Now I'll be the first person to admit I'm an analytical numbers oriented guy, but come on, how hard is it to make simple change?

While I'm on the subject, have you ever handed one of these rocket scientists a few coins after they have punched in the dollars you've given them? You know, the total is something like $55.26 and you hand them sixty bucks, so they type this in, but you find the twenty-six cents in your pocket and give that to them. Smoke starts pouring out of their ears as you see the gears turning inside while they try to figure out how on earth to calculate change now that they have to do it in their mind.

This is when they usually come up with something highly intelligent to say like, "Aaaaa, ummmm." At this point I generally have to tell them how much change to give me...again.

Is this important in the big scope of the world? Maybe not, but it still irritates the crap out of me.

How about you? Any episodes with the monetarily challenged that come to mind?

31 comments:

Travis said...

Yup. Making change is just simple math and so many cashiers can't seem to do it anymore. In addition to annoying, it's very sad.

I used to make change quick at the door when I delivered pizzas.

Ron said...

Hey listen Jeff, from a man who has a blog called vent...feel free to express anything that irritates the crap out of you!

It feels GREAT...doesn't it???

Let it out...like all that GAS you so freely expel!

You know, the day that cash registers came out with the "amount tendered" key...is the day that all brain activity stopped.

I totally HEAR you on this one, buddy. I mean, all I gave the cashier was a single penny once, to make 26 cents, 25...and you'd swear I was asking her to figure out an equation!

(26 minus 1 = 25)

What can I tell you?

Jahooni said...

This is funny because I always give out "more" money for the cahsiers to learn how to give out the correct change. To this day, I am still teaching the stupid ones proper math. ;)~

katherine. said...

with all of my kids when they were little...I would give them the bill at a restaurant and the cash...make them figure out the change...and then send them up to pay it.

I tried to get them to calculate the tip...but it ended up in a disagreement about what was fair. They always thought I was overtipping until they starting working student jobs...and then they thought I was undertipping...smile.

I didn't do velco shoes or digital clocks in the house when they were young either...

Matt-Man said...

You have touched upon one of my pet peeves. This is so simple and yet, it sends our new generation into a mental tizzy.. Ai Yi Yi. Cheers Jeff!!

Dana said...

If I even attempted to share a FRACTION of the times this happens to me I'd send your blogger comments through the roof.

Technology is a wonderful thing, until you depend on it too much!

buffalodickdy said...

I know what you mean. I've told people simple math answers, and they always check me with a calculator- then look at me like I'm a warlock when I'm right...

Jeni said...

Yep - you are so on target on this post! I have no clue as to why so many people can't grasp the simple math involved, but way too many of 'em can't.

Rhea said...

Oh, I totally agree with you. I don't trust cashiers to give me the right change, even with their register telling them...I calculate it on my own to check. Simple math seems to have gone the wayside.

My eleven year old calculates the change faster than the register when he goes into a convenience store. I tell him to figure out change in his head so he won't get short-changed.

I think it's nice to rely on technology for some things, but we need to make sure our country can do basic math...

I'm constantly adding on change to make the change I get more convenient...and it can really confuse the heck out of a cashier. On the other hand, some really know what they're doing and I really appreciate their intelligence!!

Real Live Lesbian said...

It's rocket science. I'm all the time giving someone $11.05 for a charge of $6.01 instead of giving them a 20 and having a shitload of change!

It's enough to make you feel all smart and shit! ;)

Rant away, Dude!

Bond said...

OH Jeff...you hit my hot button. It makes me crazy that people can not do it without a calculator or a register telling them.

USE YOUR BRAINS...

and I always try and give the change - sometimes just to watch the smoke begin to seep from their ears.

Jules~ said...

I don't remember the particulars, but just last week I had that problem and I was shocked. My cashier was of the older generation and I figured surely she could handle it. Boy was I wrong. I had to do it for her.

And right on to Katherine. I banded digital clocks in my house too when the girls were young. Drove tem crazy but they can tell time now.

The Teamster said...

sometimes i'll go to the grocery store and use my debit card. when they ask if i want cash back instead of a straight 20 I'll tell them I want 18.48 back....you talk about panic...deer looking in the headlights look....

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

All the time. Drives me nuts as well. If the cash register doesn't tell them what to do they just don't know. It's a shame. Great rant. :)

Akelamalu said...

It's the same over here but I have to say it's the young ones who have difficulty with 'change'!

San said...

Know what you mean, Jeff. I don't believe schools are teaching people to do simple math anymore. Everyone relies on a calculator.

Maybe they should start setting an abacus by the register, so that when a weirdo like you pulls a stunt that requires counting, there'll be another tool to rely on.

Rhea said...

San, I have a son in 5th grade, and they aren't allowed to use calculators. He's quicker at math than I am sometimes. lol

Anndi said...

I enjoy messing with their heads and giving them odd amounts, as such, like you know?

Doc said...

I am with you Jeff, 100% - I have a hobby (tracking currency) where I spend more 1 dollar bills than the ordinary person. usually if something costs less than $10 then I am paying with all singles. I frequently make change in my head and then work it out to maximize the number of singles I can give out without getting singles back. Cashiers are horrid these days...

Lady in red said...

I quite agree and I too get greeted with a bemused look when I proffer 'too much' cash in order to get a more convenient amount of change.

All my boys are good at maths partly down to the pre school training I gave them when they were small. They collected sticker books (mostly soccer) every day we would count how many sticler on each page then the total in the book followed by how many they still needed to complete a page and ultimately the book. OJ could complete any addition or subtraction upto 500 by the time he started school.......he is now on his way to taking a degree in further maths.

Jeff B said...

Everyone- I'm just going to do a blanket response today as it would appear we are all in agreement on this issue.''I do like Teamster's idea of asking for an odd amount back from a debit card purshase.

Thanks for the great comments.

Sandi McBride said...

Yes Jeff, and then there are the ones who are such perfect thieves that it's a wonder they settle for working in fast food...I once investigated a case where the cashier had FOR MONTHS been pocketing at least $75 every day she worked...by not actually ringing up any order...she could do the change in her mind just fine...no one could ever be sure exactly how much she had robbed her employer of, but it was close to...hold on let me get my calculator out here...$10,000...to bad she didn't use her brain for honest work!
Sandi

jennifer said...

Jeff, quit picking on me! I am no good with numbers. I FREEZE at the sight of a word problem. I seriously think that I have a mental block with math, and yes, even NUMBERS. I don't even want to read the Book of Numbers in the Bible - there may be Algebra in there (jk).

Sorry it was frustrating for you. It was pretty good rant, even though you stepped on my toes. I think I'll limp back to Hostage Central!

Jen

Jeff B said...

Sandi- Never underestimate what theives are capable of. She may have been smart, but she wasn't very bright.

Jennifer- That cracked me up. Go ahead and read Numbers, I don't recall any word algebra problems in it. hehehe

Desert Songbird said...

I'm math challenged, but even when I worked fast food way back in the olden days, I could handle this kind of stuff.

Still, nowadays, I never carry cash. I'm a debit VISA girl.

Mel said...

*nodding*

k......gonna ask for that 18.48 next time so I can watch 'em sit and spin.....LOL

Odat said...

OMG Yes, this happens all the time!

And, here's another one: I had to return something once and they asked my name (I have a hyphenated last name so I say out loud e.g. Smith hyphen Smith. Once I had someone actually write down the word hyphen between my names and other times they ask me "What's a hyphen?" Geeze

Peace

Jeff B said...

Songbird- You're not alone. It seems to be the trend now. The smell of plastic swiping through the scanners is everywhere.

Mel- I loved that one too.

Odat- This may be one of the best arguments against evolution yet!

Marilyn said...

I'm no good with numbers. I have to figure the square footage of a banner at least on paper and plug it into my cost per square foot on paper to. I can't do much without actually seeing the numbers...

BUT I CAN count change. I worked as a car hop through high school. No cash regiser. Just a change belt. The thing is, if these people are dealing with money and they can't count change they are easily going to be short changed. When the register comes up negative one too many times they'll lose their jobs.

CrazyCath said...

This is world wide! This happens in th UK too and annoys the pants off me too! Yes it IS important. Why can't they add and subtract? What are they doing in a job handling money when they can't do that?

Grrrrr. Rant over. ;0)

nitebyrd said...

Jeff, this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine! As an old person, when I got my first retail job I was taught how to count back change. Even at the time it was natural because calculators were just coming into use and cost as much as a plasma TV does today. In a Starbucks in New Orleans this week, I had a "barista" give me the wrong change AND forget to give me my iced coffee (the only thing I ordered!)

Another thing that pisses me off - being given bills that aren't "faced" even from the damn bank! WTF