Thursday, January 10, 2008

Anyone mind a re-hash?

I was looking around for the old blog I'd done about Jonah's poop adventures because I have an update to share. During my search I ran across this old entry from December 2005. It's still something that bugs me to no end so I thought I'd bring it up to the front. I've added in a few things here and there, a link, fixed some bad spelling. Hopefully the little chippie working at the local Winco will read it? I'm just sayin.

It's a Lost Art

Alright, I know this has nothing directly to do with being a momma, beyond the fact that, as the momma, I spend lots of time at the grocery. Or the department store. Or the Starbucks drive-thru. But still it's valid and that's why I'm bothering.

Whatever happened to counting back change? It absolutely makes my blood boil when some gum-chewing dull-eyed half-wit just plops a handful of coin and paper into my hand. blam. take it or leave it. thanks for nothin'. are you still here?

It seems as though the digital cash registers of today have removed any and all thinking from the entire process by telling the cashier the right amount to give back. (Check your brain at the door, please.) A great disservice if you ask me. Don't even get me started on today's Reformed Math. Ugh.

Yes, it's wonderful that you can now move 12 customers instead of 7 through your line in 15 minutes. Yes, I'm glad your cashiers are no longer standing there staring blankly at that open money drawer, wondering what to do next. That part of the transaction makes everyone uncomfortable. Still, this inevitable influx of technology doesn't exempt your employees from displaying the most basic of customer service responsibilities... to say nothing of second grade math skills.

Consider a recent experience I had with the jolliest of fellows at a local gas station.

"Three gallons of low-grade unleaded? 'zthat all? Why that'll barely keep your car running, ma'am. Ah. I see your minivan is powered by dual overhead hamsters, so maybe you'll be alright. Just remember to toss a handful of hamster feed down the heater vents once a week. Oh. Y'say you already knew that? Wonderful! Those little fellars'll most likely survive the winter then.

"Well, thank you Mrs. H, that'll be $15.47. Out of $20? Oh my, I'd better get my counterfeit detection marker. Never can be too careful. And I see you've got a van-load of babies --- shall I bring back a few lollipops as well? What's thatchya say? Babies don't eat lollipops? I did not know that. Well, maybe next time then.

"Okay, here ya go. That was fifteen forty-seven. Here's forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty, seventy-five, and another quarter makes sixteen. Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, aaaaaaaaand twenty. Now you have a nice day, Mrs. H."

See? So simple. That young gas station attendant was so polite and engaging! He was very knowledgeable about the care and feeding of hamsters, although I worry about the health of his future children. But still he was careful to give back the correct amount of change, and he's proven that he's passed the second grade. I was just so distracted by all those numbers flying around that I didn't even feel it when the oil company reached in and extracted my right kidney from behind.

You would think a store owner or manager would quiz his or her employees on the counting back and giving of change. In fact, Ashley's father is a restaurant manager; he told her she can't have a job there unless she can count back change. Yay. Too bad more don't follow his example. It would be in their best interest to do so, in my almost always humble opinion. But alas, many an employee with the Store Manager name tag has thrown change at me with the best of them.

I've recently taken to standing there in line (or sitting there, if it's the drive-thru) and manually but cheerfully counting the change back to myself out loud whenever some clod presents me with a sweaty fistful of mystery change. Hopefully the display isn't lost on the cashiers, although I know it annoys them. Especially at Starbucks! Apparently the super-trendy feel they're above such nonsense.

How rude! I can't believe she's doing that! She doesn't trust me. Hellooooo. Am I not excellently sporting my black "Expert Barista" apron?

Well, no Junior, I don't trust you. But don't be offended. I suspect you didn't complete the second grade as evidenced by your lack of basic counting skills, black apron not withstanding. I'm only looking out for you. If (or rather, when) your register comes up short today, you'll know it wasn't because you accidentally tossed a twenty at Mrs. H.

But if you did, I promise to spend it at Starbucks.
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