Thursday, January 10, 2013

The cashier's recurring nightmare

Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine has started a fun new linky where she gives us the beginning of a sentence and we have to finish it. This week's sentence was "One of the most embarrassing things I ever did was...". There were so many contenders for the end of this sentence that my brain temporarily crashed trying to process them all at once. If you don't believe me, just check out some of my posts under the "Seinfeld experiences" label. You'll notice there are a lot of them.

Since I'm an incredibly clumsy and weird person, I rarely get embarrassed anymore. However, in 2011 I had a mortifying experience that broke through my thick skin. I posted about it at the time, so if you've already seen this...well, just read it again. I bet you'll still laugh. And cringe.

Finish the Sentence Friday

Here's "The Cashier's Nightmare," originally posted June 28, 2011:

I'm not easily embarrassed, but this morning was a bit much even for me.  Tomorrow is Sass'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 Sass's party.  I manage our money (being an accountant and all) and Jay 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.

42 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh!! I was laughing (but not at you, just at the situation). What a nightmare!! Did you ever shop at that store again or were you banned for life?

    betty

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    1. Oh, I've never set foot in there since. I'm afraid an alarm would go off and I'd fall into a trapdoor or something.

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  2. I would have so hated you if I was behind waiting to buy a friggin balloon!

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    1. I know. I would have hated me too. It was awful!

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  3. Oooooooooooooooooooo, man that's rough! And I agree with joeh, that's rough on the people behind you too. An unfun day at the party superstore all 'round.

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    1. They finally opened the other register after the cashier had done the second scan through. I wanted to sink through the floor, but like I said, I kept imagining my husband's disappointed face when I told him what I'd done. He always has my back and wouldn't have said anything critical, but I knew he would have been worried about our finances and hurt that I'd been so irresponsible, even if he didn't say it.

      I just never imagined a bunch of small items could add up like that. I know better now, but at the time I was less familiar with discount and party planning stores.

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  4. Oh, man, that's rough. Was there only one register in the store? I guess if you hadn't been able to return anything, you'd have had her second birthday party pretty much set, at least... So what if it's the same colors as the last one, right?

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    1. There were two, but they didn't open the second one for quite awhile, because all the staff in the store were gathered around my register trying to figure things out.

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  5. Oh, I would have been giving you death ray eyes for sure if I was stuck behind you. Did you just keep looking down and forward or did you turn around to give the other customers a little sheepish sorry nod so they could let you know how they felt?

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    1. Haha - are you kidding? I avoided eye contact at all costs. I was afraid peopole were going to start pelting me with balloons and streamers.

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  6. It is so easy to have things add when you are in places like that and can see how that could happen. I felt your pain believe me when you were saying all eyes were on you. Thanks for sharing this and linking up with Kate and I today!!! :) :)

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    1. I should have kept track of the prices, but each item was cheap enough that I just didn't realize how it was adding up.

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  7. OMG, I hate it when there are issues at the register! Because I know the people behind me are giving me those evil eyes, just like I've given them. That is totally embarrassing - the whole realizing your error then wanting to put it back and having EVERYONE watching. Gah!

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    1. I still don't understand why it was so difficult for them to process the refund. I would have thought they could void it in some less complicated way. Although the accountant in me was thinking, "Oh, these are good internal control processes" the whole time.

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  8. That has happened to me more than I would like to admit, but it's always when my husband is with me. HA HA! He's worse than a kid! What a nightmare with the refund! Thanks for sharing, we are all human after all!

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    1. So does he cause the refunds or do you? If my husband had been with me, it wouldn't have happened because he would have stopped me.

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  9. Oh, man. I would have just died.

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    1. My face was red for the rest of the day!

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  10. Oh, that totally sucks! I probably would have cried. I love how you describe yourself as a clumsy and weird person. Probably why I like you!

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    1. I wanted to cry by the end of it. I just kept apologizing to the cashier over and over. And we clumsy weirdos have to stick together! Although I haven't seen much evidence of either from you ;)

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  11. O_O

    Oh NO!!!!! What a nightmare!!!

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  12. Haha! OMG! That would totally be ME! I spent $130 bucks in Dollar General just before Christmas after popping in last minute to get some stocking fillers. I'd got no idea there could be THAT much stuff in my little trolley. In spite of my shock and fear, I just sucked it up and left, and convinced myself we really needed everything. I shared the story and my shame at book club and my friend confessed to spending 700 bucks in Hobby Lobby (they were saving money by making their presents this year):O Thanks for visiting my blog today! I'm so glad you did:D

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    1. Thank you so much for telling me this story! It made me feel better...$700...wow!

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  13. What a freakin' nightmare! I would have lost my patience completely! This was so funny :)

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    1. I was too embarrassed to get mad at the time. But later I really wondered why that was so difficult. Had they never had a refund before? Then again, probably not $375 worth of stuff at one time.

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  14. OH my goodness that totally sounds like something that would happen to me. What a fabulous story and faulous link up. I can't wait to join in on the fun next week! Just found your blog and I'm excited to get to know you better. Hope you don't mind if I follow along...

    newest follower :)
    bonnie
    thelifeofbon.com

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    1. Yay! I stopped by your blog and LOVE your book club idea. I'm glad I found you at the start of it, because I'm so excited to do it. Thanks for joining up!

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  15. I've been the cashier in that position. LOL!

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    1. I felt terrible for her! I think she could see how embarrassed I was, because she was really nice and we even laughed about it a few times. I'm sure I'll be a retail horror story she'll tell for the next 20 years.

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  16. Hilarious! Thanks for letting me get a good laugh in this morning!Sorry it was at your expense. I had a few of those moments and witnessed a few myself!

    Love your blog! It ROCKS!! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Whether you like it or not, you are getting a tutu!

    mama2lilev.blogspot.com

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    1. YAY!! I'm so excited! Thank you so much. I'll send you the measurement tomorrow.

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  17. I've been you and I've been behind you in line and neither position is fun! But reading your account of this nightmare was tremendously fun! So there's that. Thanks for the giggles!

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    1. You're welcome! I was so embarrassed I couldn't even console myself by thinking how this would make a good story later. I just wanted it to end.

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  18. That was hilarious! The whole time I was reading it, I said, "And she still hasn't had a shower." Poor thing, I know you were overdue after that ordeal. I REALLY enjoyed the laugh. By the way, thanks to comment luv and you commenting on my blog today, I found out about this linkup! So I'm officially visiting you from FTSF ;-)

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    1. Yes! On top of everything else, I was all bedraggled and sweaty. So humiliating.

      It's been a great linkup - I haven't laughed so hard in ages.

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  19. How awful! I've had that cash register moment where I'm like "It's how much??!" but I've usually just pressed on-and berated myself for it later. At least you had enough strength to get the refund--even if it was embarassing!

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    1. I've had this moment many times before, but it's rarely been this extreme. I am learning...slowly...

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  20. Oh yeah. Stuff like that happens to me too. Luckily I still only manage my own funds, so I get away with it.

    Still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, though.

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    1. I could have just not said anything to my husband, since I manage the money and he doesn't really look at it. But I would have lost all respect for myself if I'd gone through with it.

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Lend me some sugar!