Sunday, January 4, 2009

"Mi nombre es cajero. ¿Cómo puedo ayudarle?"

"You wanna go on your 15 minute break now?"

" you even have to ask?"

Before I could shut my register light off, a little old hispanic lady whips into my line and throws her one item onto the counter.

Sighing heavily, I scanned the one pair of reading glasses and told her that total was $14.38.

Within seconds, the lady has poured an entire purse full of coins onto the counter and in Spanish instructs me to count out what I need.

Now, I don't speak Spanish fluently, but if spoken slow enough, I am able to understand the conversation and might even be able to respond with one of 7 known phrases. 

This lady denied my request to slow down her speech and spoke at 70 mph, leaving me in a cloud of confusion.

I counted out about $10 in nickels, dimes, and quarters.  

At my store, we are instructed to ALWAYS count large amounts of change out on the counter so that the camera can see everything.  That way, if the customer turns around and says that we stole from them, they have the evidence on tape of what they paid, laid out.

So there I was, desperately trying to make the lady understand how much she owes in my best high school spanish.

Finally after she pulled change from her purse, pockets of her jeans and coat, she needed just $2.38 left.

In slow-mo, I watched her reach back into her change purse, and pull out an untold amount of dollar bills waded up and gave the remaining amount.  

Even better, in that wade, I saw a fresh, brand spankin' new $20 bill staring right at me.

All this took a total of 15 minutes.  Had I been a split second quicker going on my break, I could have avoided the whole thing.

Later it dawned on me why the whole event occurred....she simply needed to get rid of change. So I was the victim of her wrath. 

When the $20 winked at me from her purse, I almost Starky and Hutched my way over the register to price check her eyes out.

It's a harsh world and I don't get paid enough to be a hero.


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