No Change There

I know I am probably expecting too much from the computer generation and I know there are myriad technological things they can do that I can't. But why do they seem to have gone straight to interacting with MySQL databases (impressed, huh? No, I haven't a clue what it means) and the like without learning any of the basics?

I have been thinking about this after once again being served in a local shop by a spotty oik who doesn't know how to give change. My bill came to £5.20. I didn't have a £5 note so I gave him a £10 note and a 20p coin so he could give me a £5 note in change.

There followed this conversation:

SO (Spotty Oik): You've given me too much.
Me: Yes, that's so you can give me a £5 note in change.
SO: That's not right.
Me: Yes it is.
SO (looking puzzled): It can't be. (He proceeded to hand me £4.80, which is the amount that had popped up in his till window, in seven coins.)
Me: I need my 20p back as well.
SO: What?
Me: I gave you £10.20 and you've only given me change for £10.
SO: No, it says £4.80. (He nods towards the till window.)
Me: Yes, that's because you rang up £10 but I gave you £10.20.
SO: I'll have to get the manager.
        By now there is a queue forming behind me. Feet are shuffling and I swear I heard a sigh.
Me: Look, you keep it and when at the end of the day your till is 20p over, put it in a charity box.
SO: (Triumphantly) I knew I was right!

I sighed and as I walked out a woman in the queue whispered: "You can't teach a chimp to do calculus." I smiled but didn't admit you probably couldn't teach me to do calculus either.

Before you leave:

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  1. I'm actually surprised I haven't had similar happen to me when I give the extra change. I guess I've been lucky.

  2. Yep, noticed that same issue here in Canada...when you hand them a larger bill plus the exact change so you can get a smaller bill in return, some of the younger ones are totally flummoxed. They can't do math in their heads. When I was setting up for laser eye surgery the young gal went over several payment plans including pay off in one go, longer plans with interest and a shorter plan calling for a down payment with no interest over the rest of the term. When I went for that plan she acted surprised. Honey, DO THE MATH. It's not hard.

  3. This is something that is just intuitive with women and men have a problem with the concept...I assume the cashier was male. Here is the thing, women do not have pockets. Without pockets they are very keen on eliminating coinage when ever possible. Women always pay in a way that will eliminate coins from their purse and reduce the coins they will get back.

    Men have pockets and do not care. They will just take all the coins and stuff them in their ample pockets. When they get home they just empty their pockets into a large bottle.

    I admit that men should be able to figure out the change thing, but with pockets their mind set is just not on the same wave length...paying to eliminate change is just not something we think about.

    I'll bet you do not see the same issue with woman cashiers, even though many women say "Math is hard!"

    Funny post.

  4. The exact same situation happened to me too. I gave a paper (now plastic) £10 plus the correct additional coinage and the cashier was totally confused.

    God bless.

  5. Happens here in the States too. Kids don't understand the first thing about making change.

  6. Happened to me too. What also amazes me if the computers are down, they have no idea how to count back change. They need the computer to tell them how much is due.

  7. Out here our checkout people are still trained in giving change, but in reference to Arkansas Patti above me here, our tills are computerised and if the computers are down we can't even open them much less give change. Most of our older checkout people, (my age range) still remembered our math lessons and often figured out the change without looking at the computer screen.

  8. Young people today rely too much on technology and not enough on common sense.

  9. Wow. Just wow. I ran into something similar this week, though it was a cranky, aging woman who runs the express lane. Took her three tries to count my envelopes of Kool Aid. ~shakes head~ And that was after I told her how many I'd picked up. Thank you for the giggle.