I'm overjoyed at finding a perfect gift for a good friend and stand in line to pay. After five minutes, I see that I have once again chosen the slowest line in the register bank. Inching forward, I'm finally three customers away from payment. A young Hispanic girl is at my register. She is perhaps 17, wears a red sweater and a Christmas tree pin with blinky lights. Two girlfriends chat in line in front of me, behind the customer currently paying. They are white, one redhead and one blond. Suddenly, the man paying speaks loudly, drawing my attention:
Man: That's not the right change.
Cashier: Uh, I put the wrong amount.
Man: Well, yeah. But the change is still wrong.
Man: I'm a buck short on my change.
Cashier: Um, I put $200 instead of $20 that you gave me.
Man: I know, I know. I see that. But you still gave me the wrong change. Just take the zero off and do it in your head .
(The girl looks blankly at the monitor screen and bites her lip. The man shakes his head.)
Cashier: Uh, so do what now?
Man: Geez, honey. It's $20 take away $11.79.... So?
(Red blotches form on the cashier's face. She looks nervously at her coworker, who finally steps in to assist her.)
Cashier 2: He gets $8.21 back. Just open the drawer with a void and give him the dollar.
The cashier does as she's told and the man stomps away, again shaking his head. The redhead in front of me elbows her friend and whispers, "God. I hope I don't have a dumb kid. I really do. I wouldn't have the patience. I mean, seriously." She looks about seven months pregnant.