Monday, October 18, 2004

186 Does it pay to be honest?

Of course it does, but sometimes the results aren't what you would expect. When the clerk at the supermarket handed me change for a twenty instead of a ten, I said, "I think I gave you a ten."

I expected her to check her bill tray--clerks are taught to put bills in certain slots, so there should have been a ten in the twenty slot if I were correct.

No. That's not how it is done at that store. First she gave me a dirty look. Told me she can't open the drawer. With a long line waiting behind me, she calls a supervisor on the loud speaker and reports it. Then she pulled out the locked drawer, took it to the office, and got a new drawer. She told me to go to the office where it would be counted.

I waited at the office while the employee chatted with an elderly gentleman, and then waited for her to count and balance the drawer. It checked out perfect. I was wrong, the clerk was right.

Later I realized I hadn't "broken" the twenty I'd put in my purse the day before because I hadn't shopped anywhere else. But I was still right to ask.

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