Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hey buddy, can you spare a dime?

No this is not about the many panhandlers around the Gateway, where I work in Salt Lake City.

It is about an interesting way in which someone got a dime from me.

Which reminds me of the time I got a dime from my Uncle Arnold. He promised he would give me "a dime for every quarter you can stand on edge." Thinking this was a pretty good deal, I ran to my room to get a quarter and made it stand on its edge. He then took the quarter and gave me a dime--true to his word, he had indeed given me a dime for the quarter. When invited to repeat the performance, I declined.

Yesterday, I went to buy lunch at the Gateway Taco Time. My turn in line arrived, I asked for "a soft taco, to go, please." The girl asked, "no cheese?" I told her that I had not said "no cheese", but realized that "go please" and "no cheese" was a reasonable misunderstanding* in the noisy food court.

Then came the matter of price. She quoted a price and I countered by asking for a Gateway discount, showing my Gateway badge. She nodded and asked for $2.42. I gave her two dollar bills, a quarter, a dime, a nickel, and two pennies. She shoved the change around in the palm of her hand for a bit and then said, "two fifty-two." So I fished another quarter out of my pocket and gave it to her. She seemed satisfied and returned the dime and the nickel.

She handed me the receipt and said, "your number is 56." I appreciate that, because it now requires glasses to read anything, but I don't normally wear them, so having the clerk read the number is helpful.

In just a few minutes the order was up and I walked back the office to eat in front of my screen.

Only then, did I casually glance at the receipt. Here is a facsimile:

I'm not exactly sure how to explain this. The correct total was $2.42, which is what I had given her in the first place. The receipt shows that I overpaid her by a dime, and that she returned it to me. Which I did. Which she did not. Odd.

When I told Sara about it, she told me that cashiers whose tills are over at the end of the day are treated with more suspicion than those whose tills are under. I hope this girl remembered to take her ill-gotten dime out of the till before the end of the day. She obviously needed it more than me, and hey, I can spare a dime. Small price for a story.

[Added 07/26/11: Went back to Taco Time for lunch today and had a great experience, being treated very well.]

[Added 08/17/11: The manager responded to this post with a coupon for a free item, and I redeemed it yesterday for another soft taco. Paid attention to the ingredients, which do include grated cheese. Hence the added footnote:

*There was no cheese on the original soft taco (the one that provoked this post), so I guess that I did not clear up the misunderstanding after all.]