Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Another case study

And, just in case it goes long, I’ll give you the executive summary:
Carn-swarned whipper-snappers! What do they teach them these days, anyway?
Telling of my episode at the Post Office reminded me of another encounter I had recently.

Mrs. A’s foot situation has provided me with several opportunities where, instead of showing off my mastery of the culinary arts, I merely had to procure dinner. On one such occasion, dinner consisted of deep-fried fish fillets, deep-fried corn meal batter (aka hush puppies), deep-fried potatoes – sliced neatly into long rectangular pieces, and various miscellaneous bits of deep-fried breading (crunchies!). Yes, it was Long John Silver’s night at the Aardvark house.

Now, normally I don’t carry much in the way of change, preferring to empty my pockets at the end of each day. Sometimes, I’ll “carry over” a couple of quarters for that emergency Diet Dr. Pepper fix from the breakroom, but normally, unless I’ve purchased something else that day, I won’t have any change at all in my pocket. This day, however, was one of those days where I had purchased something earlier and so I had some loose change when it came time to pay for our meal.

“That’ll be $17.19, sir.”

“Here,” I said, placing a twenty on the counter. “Oh, and I think I have some change.” I fished (fish! Get it? Oh, never mind…) around in my pocket for just a bit and came out with a quarter and four pennies. I set these on top of the twenty and slid them towards the young lady.

Now, this is the part where I can rant and rave about kids these days not knowing how to count change back or not knowing how to do math and the like, but really, my expectation was that she would just input the $20.29 into the register and have IT TELL HER that my change should be $3.10.

Obviously, this was WAY TOO COMPLICATED for this young lady. She stopped and stared at the money on the counter. You could see the gears grinding. Finally, she came to the ONLY logical conclusion – this old dude was crazy. She picked up the twenty and the quarter and slid the four pennies back to me.

“I’ll just take it out of this.”

Which meant that instead of having four less coins in my pocket, I now had one more.

Remembering that you do not want to irritate the people handling your food lest they do something to it while you aren’t looking, I did wait until I got outside to sigh, roll my eyes and shake my head.

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