Don't you hate it when you really, really try to do the right thing and someone won't let you?
Early in my career I was told that 25% of humans are basically honest, 25% basically dishonest and the remaining 50% as honest as the system or culture forces them to be.
I like to think of myself as one of the honest ones.
Have you had the experience of being 'over-changed'? The cashier gives you too much money back? Usually I'm so astounded by the fact that, by the time I've re-done the math in my head, I'm out the door. If it's a large amount, I go back (the guilt gets to me, every time). If it's small, I probably ignore it – the hassle not being worth it to either of us. One has to factor in that the cashier most likely can't do the math anyway. Plus in France the customer is never right.
I went shopping with my sister the day before Christmas (yah, I know). We went to a cute, little gift shop that was not at all busy, considering. Amongst other things we found electric candles. My mother loves candles but lives in an Assisted Living apartment. They had recently banned the burning of real candles so these were just perfect. They were $9.99 each.
The cashier, it appeared, had left her Christmas Spirit at home, or maybe just ran out of it, but was still reasonably pleasant. My sis and I chatted for a minute as we set the candles down and decided we would split the cost. She gave her other purchases to the cashier and paid. We continued to chat. Then the cashier interrupted us (nicely) and said "That will be $18.68".
Sis, confused for a minute, said "Oh, I thought I'd paid you". The cashier said "for the candles". I said "That's not right…" (ever the diplomat). A brief argument ensued, me trying to point out that it couldn't possibly be right – 3 candles, 9.99 each does not equal $18.68. Half of 3 candles for 9.99 does not equal 18.68. Nothing equals 18.68! Even a math idiot ought to be able to figure that one out!
I remained polite – I figured she would be so embarrassed when she finally had the 'eureka' moment that I didn't want to exacerbate the problem by being patronizing. She absolutely refused to listen; just shook her head and repeated the figure. Finally she started getting angry to the point I thought she would have us thrown out! It was either pay up or leave without the candles….NOW!. We paid.
For the next 15 minutes I'm doing math in my head….and doing it again. Could she have only rung up 2? $19.98, no that wasn't it. Maybe she had read the number upside down: 6.66 x3 …no, that was, weirdly, $19.98, too. What about a sale? 25% off? Nope. 50%? No. One third off? No. Two thirds? Not that either. I love puzzles but I hate to not be able to solve them. With the aid of a calculator I finally determined that she had given us a 37.68% discount. But these candles had a sign proclaiming them 'Not included in the sale'. (There was a sale on some Christmas ornaments.)
We finally accepted the fact that we had been forcibly, knowingly cheated in reverse. It was a very strange feeling. We tried to do the right thing; disrupted the shop and made another person angry in the process. Sis probably had to excuse my behavior next time she went in (She lives in France…)
It's true: 'No good deed shall go unpunished'.
The troll in the photo? Just thought he was cute. He was made by a small company that carves carousel animals and figures in my hometown.