How far to take honesty at the grocery store? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-10-2010, 09:02 AM
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So...

I was at the grocery store and the cashier tried to give me back ninety dollars too much money. I'm an honest guy and didn't want her accounts to come up short at the end of the day so I informed her that she was giving me back way too much money. I had actually only given her a ten dollar bill for my order but she entered it as a hundred.

She got quite indignant over the whole matter, saying that 'the register says I owe you ninety dollars' and after arguing with her for more than ten minutes I finally asked to speak to a manager.

First of all, is this really the current state of our education system... that someone would think I should get ninety dollars change from a ten dollar bill?

Secondly, in hindsight I almost wish I had just taken the extra money, let the girl's cash register come up short, and maybe she'd learn a valuable lesson from it. I actually had to argue with this lady not to give me back too much money!

What would you have done in my shoes? At some point would you have just shrugged your shoulders and taken the extra money?

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#2 Old 09-10-2010, 09:19 AM
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I think you did the right thing, and I would have done the same.

And, I doubt that our current state of education is that bad, but not all of us are great at math. She could have also accidentally typed in $100 instead of $10, I've done it before when I'm at work.

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#3 Old 09-10-2010, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by LilBigBug View Post

She could have also accidentally typed in $100 instead of $10, I've done it before when I'm at work.

I can tell you that's exactly what she did. But that's my point.
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#4 Old 09-10-2010, 09:31 AM
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If I ever have trouble with a cashier, I ask for a manager right away. No sense going back and forth. It sounds like your cashier had a major brainfart, but it's good that you insisted on doing the right thing anyway.
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#5 Old 09-10-2010, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Digger View Post

I can tell you that's exactly what she did. But that's my point.

It's not always the cashier's fault. She may have had a brainfart moment, but there's also the possibility that the keys got stuck, it happens at my work all the time. Or, she could have had an off day.

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#6 Old 09-10-2010, 09:38 AM
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I've frequently seen that people with learning disabilities are employed as cashiers or shop assistants, sounds like this lady might have had difficulty with numbers.

In any case I think you did the right thing, especially with getting the manager. Everyone makes mistakes, that isn't bad service IMO, but it becomes bad service when they argue with a customer over it. Her superiors need to know that she requires more training, both in the till and with customers.
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#7 Old 09-10-2010, 09:49 AM
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You argued with her for 10 minutes??? I wouldn't have argued anywhere near that long. I'd have told her the mistake, tried to explain it once if she didn't get it, but after that, either call a manager or just walk away.

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#8 Old 09-10-2010, 09:55 AM
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You argued with her for 10 minutes??? I wouldn't have argued anywhere near that long. I'd have told her the mistake, tried to explain it once if she didn't get it, but after that, either call a manager or just walk away.

Yes but I would have walked away with an extra ninety dollars in my pocket. The ten minutes were spent going over the cash register receipt with her and trying to explain that I had only given her a ten dollar bill, rather than a hundred, while the customers in line behind me groaned and muttered 'dude just take the extra money'.
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#9 Old 09-10-2010, 10:19 AM
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Yes but I would have walked away with an extra ninety dollars in my pocket. The ten minutes were spent going over the cash register receipt with her and trying to explain that I had only given her a ten dollar bill, rather than a hundred, while the customers in line behind me groaned and muttered 'dude just take the extra money'.

That's the part I wouldn't have done. It would have been like:

"You're giving me too much change."
"No, the register says to give you that much."
"But I only gave you $10, and you're giving me $90 back. I think maybe you accidentally put in $100 instead of $10 on the register."

And if she continued to argue at that point, I would have given up on her, rather than going through the receipt.

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#10 Old 09-10-2010, 10:30 AM
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To be honest Fromper, I wish I had done that now. I did my bit and tried to do the right thing. When she argued with me I should have just taken the money and ran. She might have learned a valuable lesson from it. My point of course is why anyone would automatically do what a cash register 'tells' them to do, rather than what actually makes sense. Which is why I asked the question. At what point do you simply take the extra money and leave?
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#11 Old 09-10-2010, 10:51 AM
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The same thing happened to me once, though it was only a dollar and some odd change. I said "Oh wait, you've given me the wrong change. It should be..." and she interrupted me before I could finish and got downright NASTY! I just clammed up and stood there smiling at how she was digging herself into a hole, assuming I was trying to fight with her for more money, when it was the exact opposite. The manager came over, and I said she gave me too much change. You should have seen the look on her face. It was very amusing.

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#12 Old 09-10-2010, 11:00 AM
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The manager came over, and I said she gave me too much change. You should have seen the look on her face. It was very amusing.

Haha.
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#13 Old 09-10-2010, 11:03 AM
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next time charge $10/min. of your time for conversing/arguing with the cashier and we're even.

I would have been honest, but I like to have good "karma," or better stated, "feel good about the things that I do in my everyday life."
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#14 Old 09-10-2010, 11:05 AM
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I could understand her being foggy headed since being a cashier made me forget how to think for a few minutes when the routine had stopped, but I am surprised there was a such a fuss made of it since it sounds like you were being very reasonable!!

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#15 Old 09-10-2010, 11:13 AM
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There are a couple things going on here.

First, if she's smart and she's new and there aren't any added benefits for working the register, she might have done it on purpose in order to get assigned to work a different section of the store. I've seen it happen. Working the register is NOT fun and if there's no added benefit, plenty of smart employees will try to get out of it. It's just extra work, annoying people, dirty money, and added responsibility. YUCK!

Second, when you're an employee there's a class thing that goes on between you and the customer. You are NOT equals. The customer acts like they're higher class than you, whether they intend to do that or not. It's part of our consumerist culture and it's codified in the statement "The customer is always right." Sometimes that whole power dynamic can fluster otherwise smart people and make them get their math wrong.

Or sometimes it's the same as a stage-fright. Most people are uncomfortable giving public speeches. That situation where the customer is saying the cashier made a mistake can feel like being put on the spot. She might simply have reacted negatively because she was nervous.

But it's very likely she's just not very good at math, in which case it's really the manager who made the mistake of hiring her and assigning her that job.
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#16 Old 09-10-2010, 12:39 PM
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At what point do you simply take the extra money and leave?

Personal I would have just left the money on the counter , maybe pointed it out to the manager and left .

Out of interest Digger , what was the reaction of the cashier when she realized she screwed up ?
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#17 Old 09-10-2010, 12:52 PM
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Out of interest Digger , what was the reaction of the cashier when she realized she screwed up ?

She still hasn't realized that she screwed up. In fact she took my name and phone number down when I left, because she believes her register will be over ninety dollars at the end of her shift and the store will owe me that money. I won't be a bit surprised if I get a check in the mail for ninety dollars which of course I will appreciate, but trust me when I say that as a grad student, it has been many years since I have carried a one-hundred dollar bill in my wallet.
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#18 Old 09-10-2010, 01:16 PM
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regardless of how the mistake was made on the register she should have been paying attention and realized her mistake right away. maybe she thought it was a $100 bill that you gave her and punched it in that way on purpose. american bills all look the same to me but this is why i usually place the money on the keyboard while i count the change so if i make a mistake or a customer tries to claim they gave me more than they did the bill is still sitting in the open and not mixed into the drawer. then i put the money away once i've handed over the change. it's a good habit to get into when working on cash, it's saved my butt a few times.

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#19 Old 09-10-2010, 01:32 PM
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I'm a very honest person. I would have reflexively handed the money back. But with the arguing? I would have been tempted to just take it and leave. Maybe if I'd been thinking on my toes, I would have gone to the customer service desk and asked to speak to a manager, explained the situation and asked him to hold the money for when the drawer came up short so she could "see" her mistake and maybe learn a lesson that way. Of course, I only came up with that plan after pondering over this thread for 10 minutes or so. LOL I'm not so much one for thinking on the spot.
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#20 Old 09-10-2010, 01:34 PM
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I would have done as you, given her the benefit of the doubt as you did that she could or would be open to understanding. Then called for the manager. Exactly the way to do it. The Fact is if she just had a momentary loss of common sense and common patience, you were giving her a chance to redeem herself and keep her mistake quiet. That's the right way to give someone a chance first, I think.

I've experienced major stupidity from some service providers both with boring easy jobs and "professionals", some which defy all logic. It's more an attitude problem than education. It's about attitude. Can you imagine the poor people who must live with that person?!
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#21 Old 09-10-2010, 03:02 PM
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regardless of how the mistake was made on the register she should have been paying attention and realized her mistake right away. maybe she thought it was a $100 bill that you gave her and punched it in that way on purpose. american bills all look the same to me but this is why i usually place the money on the keyboard while i count the change so if i make a mistake or a customer tries to claim they gave me more than they did the bill is still sitting in the open and not mixed into the drawer. then i put the money away once i've handed over the change. it's a good habit to get into when working on cash, it's saved my butt a few times.

That's what I do too, it's what I've been trained in. My problem is remembering to put it back in the till!

Shauna: That's a good idea too!

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#22 Old 09-10-2010, 06:49 PM
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You did the right thing. Many many years ago when I was about 19 or 20, a cashier gave me back too much money (probably about 10 or 15 dollars) I didn't say anything because I was broke and could have used the money. 30 years later and I still think about that and feel bad.

A few months ago I bought something at Sears which came to something like $16.20. So I gave the cashier $21.20. Change to equal $5.00. She looked and looked at the money and could not figure it out. And neither could her co-worker. They were young.
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#23 Old 09-10-2010, 07:25 PM
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I think you did he right thing as well. I feel bad though because I don't think I would have argued for so long. I would have definity pointed it out but if she started being rude with me I would have said screw you and just left. But that's what is wrong with me. I think you did a good and honest thing.

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#24 Old 09-10-2010, 08:16 PM
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Maybe she realized right away that she made a mistake and she was simply trying to cover for it because she was embarrassed. Not everyone is willing to own up to making a mistake; they'd rather argue over it even when they know they're wrong.

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#25 Old 09-10-2010, 09:22 PM
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I am honest. I do hate confrontation though. I would have done the same thing but got the manager earlier.

Recently I did same but opposite thing at work. I was given $5 extra. I counted a couple times and it was a bit too much. I gave it back and the guy thanked me for being so honest.

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#26 Old 09-10-2010, 11:52 PM
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Only time I've ever taken money that wasn't mine was from Blockbuster once. They gave me back $10 or $20 too much. I don't remember the exact amount. What I do remember is that a couple weeks before they charged me a late fee on a movie that I know for a fact was not turned in late. The late fee and the amount they gave me came back to be almost exactly the same so I considered it a wash and gladly took it. Otherwise I've always been totally honest.

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#27 Old 09-13-2010, 06:39 PM
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You did the right thing.....I believe honesty is always the best policy....

I had a similar situation happen to me once I was at the bank and the teller was counting my money back to me and four 50 dollar bills stuck together....I tried to explain to her that she gave me an extra $200.00 and she got really upset and snippy and said something like dont tell me how to do my job...I think I know how to do my job....I even counted it back to her and she wasnt convinced.....I asked to see her manager and that made her a bit more steamed....she was red faced and sooo angry....a few minutes later a woman walks up and I explain the situation and she is shocked that I didnt just walk out cause the error was in my favor....she thanked me and fixxed the situation and before I left she pulled the teller....I hope she was okay and calmed down....I dont know if she was just embarressed because she was wrong or whatever.....some stupid friends of mine said they would have just left or whatever.....I couldnt and wouldnt do that....I dont need or want the bad karma and its just wrong.

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#28 Old 09-16-2010, 12:46 PM
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I've only been given the wrong change once or twice, one time it was only a couple of pence so I didn't really think of bringing it up, especially as there was a really long queue so I just plopped it in the nearest charity box.
The other time, I was given a few pounds extra and I did bring it up and the checkout person was fairly friendly and apologetic because she said it was near the end of her shift and it had been a busy day.
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#29 Old 09-16-2010, 01:49 PM
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Yeah I suppose I should have called the manager earlier, but ya know, I've worked retail between archaeology gigs and I know how frustrating and difficult it can be at times. I would much rather settle things person-to-person than get a manager involved because not only is it embarrassing for the clerk but it puts them at risk for losing their job. I don't know many managers who wouldn't question the continued employment of a clerk who was trying to give away ninety dollars too much money. It was kinda funny hearing the reactions behind me though. "Dude, WTF? Just take the damn money!"
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#30 Old 09-16-2010, 08:10 PM
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Yeah I suppose I should have called the manager earlier, but ya know, I've worked retail between archaeology gigs and I know how frustrating and difficult it can be at times. I would much rather settle things person-to-person than get a manager involved because not only is it embarrassing for the clerk but it puts them at risk for losing their job. I don't know many managers who wouldn't question the continued employment of a clerk who was trying to give away ninety dollars too much money. It was kinda funny hearing the reactions behind me though. "Dude, WTF? Just take the damn money!"

I am right there with ya....I was on both sides of the fence many years ago I worked retail and then a few years later I worked my way up to manager...its not an easy job...but what is....and I never hesitate to call a manager or boss when there is a problem that needs to be addressed......oh and I can relate to the just take the damn money part...when I was standing in the bank waiting for the manager/boss....a few of the bank patrons said.....come on lady just take the cash and buy yourself something nice.....go out for a nice dinner or something....99% of people would......well I am of that 1% that wouldnt and couldnt....I wouldnt be able to live with myself or have bad karma.

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