Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Food Emporium: Where Dummies Work

I made a rare stop at the grocery store last week – rare because I don’t cook and I don’t like the people that work in New York grocery stores. I had actually ordered all the supplies for the dish I was making from FreshDirect, but of course I forgot the main ingredient. After standing in the super tiny checkout line (even checkouts in New York are economy-sized – some don’t even have conveyor belts) for 10 or so minutes, it was my turn to pay, so I swiped my card for $6.63. I absentmindedly signed the receipt and put my card back in my wallet.

I waited for the gum-smacking cashier to hand me the receipt and noticed she was staring at me expectantly.

“Can I have a receipt?” I said.

“No, just give me 40 cents,” she said in a thick NY accent.

“What? Why would I give you 40 cents?” I queried.

“Because your bill was $6.63 and I only charged you $6.23, so you owe me 40 cents,” she said, very matter-of-factly.

“Well, I don’t have 40 cents,” I said, irritated. “That’s why I paid with my credit card.”

“Oh right, you don’t have 40 cents,” she said with an attitude and an almost imperceptible neck jerk.

I truly didn’t have 40 cents. I don’t carry cash, I don’t pay with cash and I never have change. She continued glaring at me, but all the glaring in the world wasn’t going to make money appear. Did she want me to squeeze it out of my ears?

So we stood there staring at each other. The other folks in line tapped their feet and looked annoyed, already encroaching on the credit card swiping machine area.

“Well I guess I’ll swipe my card again,” I spat.

“Don’t you have 40 cents?”

I just stood with my mouth open, politely said ‘excuse me’ to the woman behind me in line who already was standing at the payment area of the checkout line.

“No, I still do not have 40 cents. I will have to swipe my card again.”

And so I did. And then I signed my credit card slip for 40 cents. And it cost the Food Emporium more than 40 cents just to run the silly transaction. Good grief!

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