Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A new low in retail mathematics

After my last post, Marc and I went to run a couple of errands. Now, I don't want to sound like an octogenarian, but when I was a kid working in retail we counted out change from the register. It helped to even have some basic math skills.

Okay, I'll even admit to torturing some of these kids. If something comes to $4.87 and I have the change, I'll hand over $5.12. Even with registers that do the math for them, they often look at the money in their hand, then at me, then back at the money. On occasion, it has gone on long enough for me to say, "just punch it into the register." On other occasions, I've had the person say, "no, it's $4.87," in a tone like I'm an idiot. Then I get really helpful. "Yes" is all I'll say, and then I'll just stand there staring. Oh, it's such fun. One of these days, I'm going to lose what little self-restraint I have and just say, "you might have some idea what's going on, if you paid any attention at all in math class." Geez, you'd think I was expecting them to do linear algebra!

So tonight, at one of our stops, I was in line behind a woman who paid for her purchase and was going to get exactly nine dollars back in change. She told the guy behind the register (a full-grown man, by the way, but quite representative of what I've seen in the skills of many manning registers around here) to hang on a second, and she dug in her bag for a one dollar bill. She held out the dollar bill, so she could get a ten back.

"No, it's already done," he said, indicating the register. He then said that if he didn't follow what the register said, he'd get confused.

Oh, this was too much! The lady was owed nine dollars change, held out a one dollar bill, and he couldn't add that up and give her a ten? His parents and all of his teachers should be rounded up and jailed for a year or two, just to make a point! What the hell are things coming to?


Dantallion said...

The same applies to basic language skills as well. Ever get the impression that the computer has become a ccomplete impediment to basic learning and functionality?

Greg said...

Education just doens't seem to be as important in the U.S. as it once was.

Andy said...

This is why I shop online.

teh l4m3 said...

Now you make me feel bad for almost always having exact change at the register. Do you think I'm confusing the poor dears?

Wanton Wonton said...

ugh...that ticks me off too.

i'm the annoying person that even hands over a penny to get a shiny nickel back...woo hoo!

PatCH said...

Linear algebra ain't actually so tough. You should have asked them to do non-linear algebra instead. Would have been a little more challenging for them. Though I don't think that was the point.