Sunday night, October 21, 2001 7PM
Chicago Tribune, Voice of the People
This was a new one: Tonight, at about 6PM, I stopped by my Osco at 5345 North Broadway, Chicago to buy an item I buy often. It has totaled $2.82 for years. I gave the young male clerk a $5 bill. He was apparently very low on pennys, so instead of the usual $2.18 in change, I got $2.17, and the comment: "I owe you a penny."
I'm in too much of a hurry to argue, so I pay the 1cent premium. I did wonder, is this part of the Osconew employee indoctrination course: "Every penny counts, so if you can do a customer out of one, go for it!"
I must admit, I usually try to save everyone trouble,and have the exact change. Maybe that's why this has never happened to me before.
Anyway, I hope if this happens to someone else, they have quicker wits than I did, so they can answer: "How about you give me $2.20, and I owe you 2 cents"or "Why not put the penny in yourself, and I'll owe you one cent (I suppose the last is way too much to expect from an employee.)
There is far more likelihood that I'll come back and pay the one or two cents, than that this clerk or Osco will look me up to pay me the penny. I know I can't handle the guilt, but I wonder if they can even spell "guilt".
Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago 60640
[Update: Reading this on Wednesday nite 11 February 2009, reminds me of when I was in high school in the early 1950s in my home town of South Haven Michigan: I had the best job a 17-year-old could have in town, working in a store w/ 3 big rooms: Men's and women's shoes, sporting goods, and Men's clothes, where I worked.
One day the 2nd leading citizen of the town (the 1st was the owner of the store, 80+ year-old Tom McKimmie,) who was also my dentist, came in and bought some stuff. He dug for his money and came up one cent short, of maybe a $3 or $4 order. He was a good guy, but he gave me a look that said: "You aren't gonna give me an argument, are you? Tom McKimmie is my best friend and fishing partner."
I nodded, went back to the register, put the sales slip on the spike, put the money in the register, reached in my pocket and put a penny more in the register.
When I got back to the Doctor, he glared at me, and said: "I saw that!" I just told him that he knew I'd never put a $3.51 sale on the spike and only put $3.50 in Tom McKimmie's cash register. He sighed, and said: "Yeah, I knew."
He never did give me the penny back.]