Friday, February 8, 2008

Little Foxes

I pick up grocery items lining them up on the conveyor belt to check out. Ensuring the heavy items will go first into the trunk of my car, I concentrate on getting those sacks put in the front of the cart until the clerk finishes and is waiting for me to pay.

I swipe my credit card, sign, and push my cart away to the wall to see what happened to my crushables that the clerk piled into the cart to make way for the next customer in line. I can't find the pretzels.

Stepping back to the counter, I report to the cashier, "I can't find my pretzels."

She pulls them out from under her counter.

I frown at her. What were they doing down there?

"I thought you were done," she explains.

I shake my head. Whatever gave her that idea?

"Do you want to pay for them?" she asks.

I feel myself getting an attitude. "Uh...yeah!" How else am I going to get them? If I don't want them, why did I bother coming back to ask about them?

Since she already started checking out the couple's groceries behind me in line, I have to wait and hear her tell them how this is her second job and that she's been up since 4 A.M.

Oh, I bet that's what happened. It's almost 8:30 P.M. and she's tired. Good for her for working so hard, but why did she hide my pretzels and try to make like I did something to cause her to do it?

After a while, the wife observes that it'll be faster for me to go to an Express lane rather than wait on their full cart getting checked out.

The cashier escorts me to an Express lane and asks the cashier there if she can take care of me.

"Only if she's paying by cash or check. My credit card machine isn't working."

They look at me and I shake my head, no. I don't care how small the purchase amount is at this point. If she hadn't hidden my pretzels under her counter and tried to wriggle out of her mistake instead of accepting responsibility, I might have handed over the cash, but now, let her work it out.

At the next register, my cashier puts her head close to the other's and speaks too softly for me to catch the words. I get a sense that something isn't right, somehow.

After I finish paying the new cashier, I ask what the other one said was the problem.

"She said her credit card machine quit working," he replies.

"Excuse me?" I knew it!

He repeats himself.

"No, that wasn't it. The machine didn't quit working. She did," I retort.

"What? She said..."

I wave my receipt tape. "My card went through just fine and here's the tape to prove it. She quit scanning my groceries and when I discovered my pretzels were missing, she pulled them out from under her counter."

"That's weird." He frowns.

"Yes, and then she lied to you about it, but that's okay because you got the straight story, now."

A troubled look crosses his face before he wishes me a good evening and I leave.

Examining the tape after I unload the bags, I see that she subtotaled three different times for reasons known only to herself. Three subtotals while scanning only $50 worth of groceries. Maybe she was so tired from working two jobs that she accidentally went into overdrive at the third subtotal, added the tax and got the total without meaning to do so. That's not such a big thing.

The problem is that she didn't say anything about it to me, evidently thinking I'd pay and leave, and her error wouldn't be discovered until I was home and it was too late. Little did she know that I'd miss my pretzels only five feet away from her register.

She committed such a tiny mistake, made it worse trying to conceal it, and then lied about it to the Express cashier who now knows what she's like.


John 4:22. For there is nothing hidden, which shall not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. (NKJV)

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