Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Instant Karma - Now Only $10.00!

So I head up to the local grocery store for a Giant salad. The express lane is closed and I get into a rather long line to pay for my lunch. After just a minute or so, a cashier opens the express lane and calls me over. The glorious repast comes to $4.90. I hand her a ten-dollar bill and she gives me my change, $15.10.

Before I even think about it, I hand a ten back to her and say, "I gave you a ten." She looks at me like I have just suggested that she purchase N'Sync's new album. Still holding out the ten, I say, "I gave you a ten and you gave me change for a twenty."

Comes the dawn. She takes the ten from my hand and says, "Ohthankyouthankyouthankyou!" as if I had just rescued Mr. Whiskers from a burning building.

I walk out of the store having an in-brain discussion (at least I hope it was all in my brain... people were sorta looking at me strangely). The angel on my right shoulder is saying, "You did the right thing. It's what any decent person would do." The little imp on my left shoulder is saying, "What an idiot. You could've had a free lunch and an extra $5.10 to boot."

I even went so far as to question myself about whether I'd actually given her a ten or had given her a twenty after all and now was out ten dollars. But I know I gave her a ten. I always shuffle through the bills in my wallet to get the smallest one that will do the trick. I had a few ones, a ten, and then some twenties. Since I was just at the ATM yesterday, I remember being surprised that there was a ten in my wallet that I didn't remember having.

So is honesty for honesty's sake really that rare a commodity these days? The woman was just incredibly grateful. The thing is, I know that karma is a bitch and the last thing I need right now is to get slapped around by fate for a lousy ten dollars, so it's not as if it was completely altruistic or anything high-minded like that. I also know that, at the end of the day, if the cashier's drawer doesn't balance then it's something of a mark on their record.

Does this make me a decent, upstanding individual or an idiot?

Not that those two things are necessarily mutually exclusive.


GreenCanary said...

Decent, upstanding. But next time? Take the ten and pass it my way. I have a kidnapped car whose ransom needs to be paid.

Gilahi said...

Aren't you having enough karmic issues as it is?

Dixie said...

If my drawer at work is $5.00 more or less than what it should be that qualifies as grounds for instant termination. (Which sounds scarier than it actually is, they won't, you know, terminate me. I just won't have a job anymore. ^_^) So thanks for doing the right thing! It makes those of us in customer service feel awesome.

Gilahi said...

Wow. That seems pretty harsh. I mean, if it was consistently $5.00 short, then that might be cause for alarm either because of carelessness or dishonesty, but I'd think anybody should be allowed a $5.00 error, even if they have to pay it back.

Good to know that they don't line you up for a firing squad, anyway.

Gilahi said...

Coincidental to Dixie's comment, I just read this and though I'd pass it along:


Bilbo said...

I have given money back to cashiers many times when they've made mistakes in my favor, because I know they stand to get into trouble if they come up short. The really unfortunate thing is that no one seems to expect you to do it.

Gilahi said...

Bilbo - Yeah, that's the whole point. Common decency is no longer the norm.

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