Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The cashier's nightmare

I'm not easily embarrassed, but this morning was a bit much even for me.  Tomorrow is S.'s first birthday and in a strange lapse from my normal extreme planner ways, I do not have every detail finalized.  Specifically, I've invited the guests and that's it.  In a fit of excitement (panic) this morning, I suddenly realized that 1) lots of people are coming over tomorrow and 2) lots of stuff needs to get done.  Fortunately I'm on vacation this week, so I have time to get this party back on track.


After my Body Attack class this morning (woo hoo!!  Exercising during the day - what a luxury!), I sauntered over to the party planning superstore next door to the gym.  Yeah, I was soaked with sweat, but I didn't plan to be in there for more than 15 minutes, tops.  HA!!  After wandering in a daze through the first two aisles, I should have realized I was in over my head, but instead I went up to the front and got a shopping cart since my basket was already full.


An hour later, I wrestled my overflowing cart up to the cash register.  As I watched the plates, cups, banners, party favours, candles, icing tips, bubble-blowing machine, hats, streamers, tablecloths, serving trays, napkins, etc. beep across the counter, I began to suspect the party might be a teensy bit more expensive than I'd originally planned.  It might be closer to $150-$200 than I'd like.  But then again, it is her first birthday, I told myself.  "Whew!"  the cashier sighed as she loaded the last item into a bag.  "That'll be $378.21."


As my mind gibbered in speechless horror, my hands followed their well-known route and inserted my credit card chip into the machine, punched in my PIN and tucked my card back into my wallet.  As the cashier began to hand me my bags, my fiscal self-preservation instinct finally kicked in.  "Um.  I'm really sorry, but I need to return some of this," I mumbled.  "I was expecting it to be $150, not $400."

The next hour (!) was rather mortifying.  The store was unable to just void the transaction and the poor cashier had to individually re-scan every.single.item.  And when she got to the end, it didn't balance (being an accountant, I could feel her pain).  Several other people got involved, and when the refund total was finally balanced to the original total, the cashier hit "Enter" with a sigh of relief.  The store had been empty when I got there, but there were now 10 people in line behind me and I could feel their furious beady little eyes poking into the back of my sweaty neck.  Thank God this was almost over.


Except it wasn't.  The cash register informed the cashier it was unable to process the refund.  More people joined the team trying to get me out of the store with credit rating intact.  Eventually a refund expert at another store was called, and we discovered that the cash register would only process refunds up to $200 at a time.  The entire refund transaction had to be voided, and the cashier had to re-scan the items for the THIRD time!!  At one point I was tempted to just tell them to forget about refunding everything, but I kept imagining my husband's face when I explained I'd somehow spent $400 on paper plates and other random items for S.'s party.  I manage our money (being an accountant and all) and J. is really cool with my occasional fits of shopping, but this might permanently shake his faith in my fiscal responsibility.  My faith would be shaken in myself.

Two and a half hours after I skipped into the party superstore, I slunk out with a small bag of items that were final sale and couldn't be refunded, a chastened and solemn shopper.  With dried sweat and shame clogging my pores, it was definitely time for a bubble bath.  I'll deal with the party tomorrow.

15 comments:

  1. Oh no! I always get sticker-shock when I go to those party supply stores. I would've been too mortified to return all that. You're a stronger woman than I. Hope the party goes well - at least you're well-stocked!

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  2. Oh boy I've done the same thing. And the funny thing is Sasha, like Emma when she turned one, could really care less what kind of plates or napkins or other party paraphernalia you have. Give her some wrapping paper & ribbon to play with and she'll be a happy camper! But, I had to make sure Emma's birthday was super special (mostly for me, I guess). Good for you for returning the stuff! It's not your fault their return system is nuts!

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  3. Man, oh, man. What a horrible experience! Good for you for returning some of the items. I've certainly been there myself before, but never had the guts to return any of the items and ended up regretting it in a major way. You did the right thing, and they had to do their jobs regardless, right? Might as well have an "interesting" morning to pass the time :)

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  4. Oh, wow. You poor thing! Stuff like that is SO not fun!

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  5. Oh man, what on earth did you buy???

    I hope the party goes off without a hitch and is memorable for everyone!

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  6. That's so funny. I think we have all done something similar at our kids first bday party. I wouldn't worry about it to much. Just have fun at your party.

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  7. I've never understood kids parties. My parents told me I could have a party when I was 18, a proper one with beer and not all this jelly and custard and clowns rubbish.

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  8. OMGosh I felt your pain every step and every ultra-loud beep (cringe!) of the way. Been there, DONE THAT. It sucks, every last second of it. The worst part? When you end up doing it again. I like to learn my lessons the hard(est) way. :/ Mmmehhh. So sorry love.

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  9. Wow. Just wow.

    I hope that everyone THOROUGHLY enjoyed the festivities yesterday after all THAT trouble!

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  10. Some day, your daughter will read this blog post and realize what a truly amazing mom you are to go through what you did for her. AND, you even had a b-day party for her that you planned out ahead of time! (Perhaps I can cut and paste this blog post into my own blog and pretend I went through this ordeal for my children instead of having them find out each of them barely had any real b-day parties...)

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  11. Wow! CRAZY experience. I would be so embarassed. But I'm glad you made it out alive :)

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  12. Oh no!! I would have left and come back. How horrifying- but you are funny!

    Visiting from the RDC

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  13. I'm glad you stuck to it. When you said the total my eyes got big too. Those party stores can kill you.

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  14. Oh man, that's rough. Being a cashier I can understand the frustration on both sides (I have more than a few horror stories) Good for you for getting the money back though.

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  15. OH NO! I have been there! It sucks sooo hard! When pregnant I went to the dollar tree store right next to the laundry mat looking for ONE item. When my cart was over flowing I became a lil confused and tried to locate the item I had come for. I ended up grabing somethin ghtat was brightly colored and was staring at the back looking at the ingrediants for what felt like 30 seconds. An attendant came up to me asking "Are you ok? Is there someone I could call for you?" I was shocked and confused. She told me that I had been looking at that item for an HOUR! I asked her about the item I was looking for and she said the didnt carry it. She asked if I needed help with checking out the items in the WAY OVERFLOWING cart and I told her that "umm no sorry I only came in for one item" ..... I go over to the laundry mat and everyone was SOOO upset becayse I hadnt moved my clothes from the SIX machines,.... What should have taken a lil over 1.5 hours took me 5 hours!!! During my pregnancy I would "time warp" all over the place. I couldnt be trusted to go out shopping. I kept loaded my cart up with things that I wouldnt buy! IT WAS SO EMBARESSING!

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Lend me some sugar!