Two weeks ago, I had an interesting experience with a cashier after handing him a $20 bill to pay for one plain hot dog and a medium coke.
It’s possible it was the longest, most complex act of “giving change” ever performed by a cashier anywhere, anytime, putting aside incidents involving heart attacks, power failures, armed robbery, tornadoes, and other intervening events of similar proportions.
It was such an interesting experience that I wrote about it here:
This past Monday, one week after Part 1 occurred, I went back to this snack bar, wondering how my purchase of one plain hot dog and a medium coke would go this time.
The guy who is usually at the cash register — I think he’s the assistant manager — was sitting at a table in the corner talking with someone — I think she’s the manager. He looked up when I approached the counter — the place was almost empty at the time — and called out to one of the cooks, who immediately walked toward the register.
Of course, it was the same cook who had so much trouble making change the week before. I think he recognized me — he gave me a slight smile. I certainly recognized him.
I admit I had a quick thought — maybe I should use a credit card this time.
But then I had another quick thought — no, that would be condescending.
I didn’t really speak the word “condescending” to myself, but that was the thought I had. It was more of a feeling than a thought — I should give this young man, who is apparently new to our country, a chance to do his job correctly. I shouldn’t assume that he’s still very bad at giving change. And it’s only by meeting challenges that we grow as human beings. (I take my actions rather seriously at times (no!) and tend toward self-analysis (yes, it’s true!).)
Anyway, I placed my order — again with the same slight difficulty understanding the question about french fries — and handed him a $10 bill (actually wondering to myself whether changing the denomination from a $20 would throw him a curve).
I know you’re on the edge of your seat, whether you’re sitting down or not, so I won’t drag this out any further (by the way, they make really good hot dogs at Five Guys):
His fingers (or finger) flew over the cash register — he glanced at the amount of change required — and with barely a hint of hesitation pulled out three dollar bills, three quarters, a nickel and a penny. $3.81, perfectly done! (Their hot dogs are kind of expensive.)
I know you’re relieved. I was and still am.