I am a cash-only person. There are two reasons for this, which I’d rather not get in to right now. I’ll use a credit or debit card when dining out sometimes, especially if the check hasn’t been divided in advance – it’s much easier to just hand the waitress a Visa and say “put the burger, turkey sandwich, the Bass Ales and Shock Tops on my tab, everything else is on [the other couple’s tab]”. But if I’m buying something in a store, a fast food place, or a bar, 99.999999% of the time I’ll use cash.
So… the missus and I were on vacation recently, and twice a cashier accidentally “hit the exact change button”, meaning that the register didn’t tell her how much change to give me. In both cases, the cashiers panicked and looked furiously for a calculator. The first time it was a young white female, and she had a calculator handy, so it didn’t take her long to figure it out. But the second time the cashier spent a full two minutes looking through every drawer at the checkout stand for a calculator. She even called over to another cashier for help in finding a calculator! I was so tempted to say something, but since she was a young black female, I didn’t want to be the “old white man telling her how to do her job”. So I waited, almost amused by the whole thing.
I don’t know what’s worse… the fact that employers don’t train cashiers worth a damn these days, or the fact that neither of those two young women could figure out on their own the age-old practice of counting up change.
See ladies, it works like this: at one store, my total was $13.42, and I handed the cashier a $20 bill. All you have to do to make change is count up from the total to the amount of money the customer hands you. So you’d take my total ($13.42) and put three pennies in your hand (to make it $13.45). You’d then put a nickel in your hand (to make it $13.50), then put two quarters in your hand (to make it $14.00). You’d then put a dollar bill in your hand (to make it $15), then put a $5 bill in your hand (to make it $20). You’d then have $6.58 in your hand which, if you want to figure it out on a calculator, is the correct amount of change for that transaction. No calculator is needed… at all. Trust me: it works. Millions of your cashier ancestors used that method for decades before registers even showed you how much change to give the customer!
And while I’m on the subject, a few times in the recent past I’ve gotten the stink eye from cashiers for giving them “odd amounts” of money. You know the drill: Maybe your total is $5.52, and you give the cashier $11.02 so you can get $5.50 back in nice, even bills and coins. It’s like they’re paralyzed with fear and confusion. But fear not… the same system works here, too! Just subtract the 2¢ I gave you… put two quarters in your hand (to make $6) and then put a $5 in your hand to make $11. See? Was that so hard?
Am I alone here? Is it just me? I might be a little different because my father owned a wholesale grocery store and he often worked the register there. So as a kid I had a lot of toy cash registers and grocery store playsets. My dad taught me early on how to count money. I could be exaggerating, but I could swear I knew how to count up from the time I was 4 or 5 years old… and here are these teenage girls apparently unaware of even the concept of such a thing. Am I the lone voice in the wilderness here, or are teen cashiers even stupider today than they were 20 years ago?