Monday, February 23, 2009

Add the Ten and Carry the Two

Over the weekend, I experienced (more like suffered) the most annoying experience one could have while waiting in a checkout line. In fact, I not only dealt with this mind-numbing, hair-pulling situation once -- I experienced it twice!

By now you're probably wondering: "Is this man insane?" or perhaps "Am I insane for reading his blog?" or at bare minimum, "What the hell is this insane man talking about?"

Well I refuse the first two questions (ok, yes I am, and yes, you probably are), but the answer to the third question is: I'm talking about when people are ready to pay at the cash register and it turns into a 10-minute fiasco trying to sort out how best to pay.

Now I realize everyone has this quest to rid themselves of any and all coins in their pockets. I also recognize the sheer joy and jubilation one receives when one is able to pay by exact change. I've experienced that myself...

Cashier: "That'll be $38.97" *A big grin appears on their face.*
Me: *Western-themed music plays as I reach for my wallet*
Cashier: *Her face goes from a grin to a frown*
Me: "Ha ha! I have a twenty, a ten, a 5, and look! A toonie, a loonie, and even..."
*We both gasp as I drop the change in her hand*
Me: "...97 cents..."
*The marching band and parade begins*

What drives me nuts, though, is where the person turns it into a game. A win. A matter of pride. They must "defeat" the cashier at all costs (pun intended) and ensure that they give that cashier the optimal amount of bills and coins.

That same $38.97 purchase took place not once but twice over the weekend. In both cases, I was next in line at the grocery store and when the total was given, the lady pulled out your wallet and I swear the theme from Mission Impossible started playing.

Bills started flying everywhere.
Billows of smoke poured from her ears as she tried to calculate what coins she had.

Let's see. It's $38.97, but I have $41.50. Is that good? Wait! What about $41.75. Maybe that extra quarter will do the trick! Wait! No, let me try $39.07. No, that won't work, it's only a single dime back, dammit! There's got to be a way to make this work!

In the meantime, my frozen dinner has defrosted, my bread's gone mouldy and I'm pretty sure Barack Obama's term as President ended 2 days earlier. She's trying to figure out how to get rid of all of her penny's and nickels, and the rest of us in line are forming a mob with flaming torches and pitchforks.

There should be a 30 second time limit on these sorts of exercises. I think that would do the trick.

Customer: Wait! Wait! I think I've got a nickel and a penny! One more penny! I've got to have it here somewh---
Cashier: *Buzzer* Awww, sorry, time's up. You'll have to give me $40 and deal with the change.
Customer: *Sobs* But, but, I just needed another second and---
Cashier: *Evil grin* Here's your change. Now get out of here before I give it to you in dimes.

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