Saturday, November 04, 2006

Math is hard

I had a rant all stirring about in my head, but then I remembered that it's not exactly original to point out how kids can't do math anymore and how the average teenager manning a grocery store register has the mental reasoning skills of a Shih Tzu. I've already established that I'm a cranky old lady years before I expected to be, so there's really not much sense going down that route.

Besides that, it's not even the dimwit cashier I'm still irked at an hour after our exchange. It's really myself I'm annoyed with, for letting a lazy and surly teenager make me doubt my own basic math prowess. Here's pretty much how that went...

Surly teenaged cashier: "Your total is $10.19."
Me: [handed her a twenty and two dimes, in a smart attempt to avoid a wallet full of shrapnel]
STC: "$9.91 is your change."
Me: "Actually, I'm supposed to get a ten back. I gave you a twenty-dollar bill and twenty cents. My change should be ten and a penny."
STC: [exhasperated eye roll as she eyes the receipt] "No, it says your change is $9.91."
Me: "You must not have put in the change. I gave you a twenty and two dimes."
STC: [pointing to the receipt] "No. See? It says right here. I put in $20.10. Your change is $9.91."

At about that point, I thought, OK. Maybe I can't do basic math. I also decided that squabbling with a cashier over less than a dollar was not worth the burning glare I was getting from the guy behind me in line. I muttered something about maybe it being me who can't do math and took my stuff and left.

In the parking lot, it still wasn't making sense to me, so I pulled out the receipt, planning to consult a calculator if need be just to find where one of us went wrong. I did the math over and over in my head, thinking, "Twenty cents takes care of the $0.19 in the total. How was I not supposed to get a ten back after that?"

I stared at the receipt for a full fifteen seconds before I finally figured out the problem. "20.10," she said she put in, and "$20.10" it said on the receipt. I gave her two dimes (I am positive I did), but 20.10 is what she punched on the keys. $20.20 minus $10.19 is, in fact $10.01. I may not remember enough algebra and trigonometry to get me a community college-worthy score on the ACT anymore, but at least I could still pass the fourth grade.

I wish I could say the same for Rainbow's finest.


Anonymous said...

Because I am a genuine cranky old lady, I hold up the line to argue about change at least twice a month. What I hate is that they never count it back anymore; they just hand you a wad of bills and coins and a ridiculously long receipt and expect you to move along. This is also how they get rid of their Canadian quarters.

lizgwiz said...

And this is why I've started using my debit card most of the time instead of cash, even for tiny purchases. They can't do math, but they all know how to swipe.

digital janitor said...

I hate the ghetto Rainbow. Why can't they remodel that place already? Horrid. I'll pay the extra cash at Lund's just to avoid that armpit.

stefanie said...

digital janitor--Oddly, this run-in wasn't even at Ghetto Rainbow. This was at a relatively OK one (the recently remodeled Quarry location). The list on Friday, though? Yeah, that was Ghetto Rainbow!