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Paying with Cash Confuses People

July 2nd, 2014 at 04:43 pm

So I purchased something that came to $20.07. I handed the cashier $21. Her cash register computer was going slow and not giving her the change total to give me back. She stood there and stared at the machine for 75 seconds (I timed it once I realized what was going on) waiting for it to tell her what the change was supposed to be.

The whole time I was biting my tongue, because I knew what my change would be the moment she gave me the amount, thinking how hard is it to calculate that $1 minus 7 cents is 93 cents? It is basic. You can do it on your fingers even, counting backwards from 100. She didn't even try. I know I could have spoken up with the amount, but I seriously wanted to see how long it was going to take before she even tried or the total came up. And she might have insisted that she had to wait for the computer anyway to be sure.

She was at least 16 years old and spent the entire time apologizing for the slow computer. This stuff is covered in 2nd grade math. I think they would have had to close the store if their computers went down. I guess they don't make people take math tests to be cashiers anymore.

I think people are so used to customers handing over plastic, they don't even know what to do anymore with paper. And they are getting so dependent on machines to do their thinking for them, they are not sure what to do when the machine conks out. I found the whole thing amusing, and a little sad, but probably because I wasn't in a hurry to get out of there.

6 Responses to “Paying with Cash Confuses People”

  1. frugalredhead Says:

    What's even worse is when something comes to, say $16 and you give them $21 so you can get a $5 back instead of all ones... or if you give extra change to avoid getting a lot of pennies. People have no idea what to do with that and look at you like you're an idiot Smile They're right up there with the ones who need an app to figure out the tip at a restaurant. Calculators and computers have spoiled people!

  2. Petunia Says:

    I asked Daisy this question and she told me 93 cents immediately. She will be ready to be a cashier when she is 16. Smile When I commented that they really don't deal with cash much any more, she said that they should now be called "cardiers".

  3. PNW Mom Says:

    I think you are absolutely right....sad though....really sad.

  4. Permanent Temp Says:

    I am a cashier in my part-time job and I have a ton of people who say its great you know math. I was confused about this until now. Sometimes though when I do a return and someone hands me cash the damn machine erases the total so if I can't remember what it is and I now have to wait for the slip to print out to know what the total was. I really hate it when it does that. I have to confirm it on the slip too since I don't want my drawer to be off.

    There was a time at one of my jobs where the machines stopped working and we had to do totals. We got screwed though because we forgot to calculate in tax.

    My damn computer at work slows down and won't open the drawer so I can get the change. I hate that too. But it really loathes credit cards. I often have to calculate percentages too which is not fun for me because I have hella math anxiety (doesn't matter for cash as it works in units of 100). I have a piece of paper and a pen handy as we don't have a calculator up there. One time we had a woman who said her 20% coupon was suppose to take more off the total. I did out the long division right there on the paper and showed her it was right and she backed off. I kind of wonder if she was hoping I didn't know how to do math so she could get an extra discount.

  5. debtfreeme Says:

    My first job at 16 was in a drive thru before they had computers that could have multiple orders at a time. I learned quickly how to count up and down/quickly add or subtract to get to the amount due back. I did it so quickly that the manager made me the official drive thru trainer and I got a $1/raise. That was a lot of money when minimum wage was $4/hour!! I got raises quickly.

    It was a great first job and I am still in touch with the manager.

  6. creditcardfree Says:

    My first job at 16 was for a movie theater...all cash, no credit cards and no calculator or machine to add the money! We had to add the prices for everything in our head. There was a bit of a learning curve to be fast, but it was a good experience!

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