Aggravating ways make for irritating days
Using a scale of one through 10, with 10 being the most serious, I’ve come up with a rating system for irritants, the ones I can’t seem to do anything about. Here’s the first entry:
‘Did you find everything OK?’
‘Yes, thank you.’
‘Do you have a JayC Plus card, ma’am?’
‘Yes, I do … ‘
Pause … pause … pause.
‘Could you get it for me, please?’
‘Oh, sure. Just as soon as I get these potatoes and beans off my purse and onto the counter belt-way, so I can get to my purse. It’s buried in here … somewhere.’
Root … root … root.
(Why can’t I think to get the thing out when I first come into the store? Maybe because my mind is on Yoplait? Or better yet, the cr’me de la cr’me?)
Finally, I locate the card and hand it over, just as the person with the cart behind me gives up in disgust and moves a couple of aisles over. Sure, she has her JayC Plus card in hand, having learned my lesson.
‘Cha-ching! Cha-ching!’ the check-out scanner sings, joyfully. ‘That will be $41.32,’ the cashier says.
So it’s time for ‘ what else? ‘ another card. This one’s a Star debit card.
‘Now, how does this contraption work?’ I ask. ‘It’s new. Oh, no!’
Just as I had learned to operate the old type. Already frazzled, I decide to do it the old-fashioned way instead, the tried-and-true method of paying a bill: Cash. Two $20s and a $10.
That brings up Irritant No. 2:
While I stand there waiting with billfold in hand, the computerized cash register informed the clerk I had $8.68 in change coming. So what does he do? Counts out a $5 bill and three $1s, and lays those in my outstretched palm. Before I can put the bills away in my billfold, he plops the 68 cents on top on the bills and then a cash register receipt that’s so long it nearly reaches the floor. On top of that, he puts a coupon for $1 off on my next purchase of two Stouffer’s frozen lasagna (family size) because I had just bought one, and the cash register thought I would need another one soon.
Rather than perform a juggling or sorting-out act, I poke everything in the bottom of my purse.
I’m reminded of a recent interview with retired schoolteacher Jon (Springwater) Wiseman, who agrees that no one knows how to count change back properly. (OK, I can just hear the teens say: ‘Just because that’s the way it was done in the ‘old’ days doesn’t mean it’s better.’ And the store managers say, ‘With the computer, there aren’t as many mistakes. Profits are up! This is progress.’)
Since no one is likely to go back to the old way, because, I’m told, most people feel special when they get the discount, and they like that, I just need to ‘get over it,’ or ‘get a life,’ or ‘chill,’ as my hip cousin would say. Either of those suggestions would be fairly simple to do, if the clerk would just count out the coins first, then the bills and receipt. That way, the coins don’t slide off the bills.
When I get home, I take out the receipt to find out how much I’ve saved by using the JayC Plus card. ‘Yeah, right,’ my skeptical husband says. ‘You have to spend money to save money, you know,’ I reply.
By now, everyone who comes into the store on a regular basis has one of the cards. I feel sorry for the traveling camper who comes in to stock up. But if he or she has time, they can go ahead and get a card. It just takes a few minutes to fill out an application.
At least that’s what somebody at CVS told me, when I didn’t have their card. (I thought theirs was a credit card, but not so, I’m told.)
Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler to mark down the prices at the shelf, in plain view, and a lot fairer to give everyone the savings?
No. 1 – an eight.
No. 2 – a seven.
Now, excuse me. I have to go get one of those ‘senior’ discount cards that can be used on Tuesdays for five percent off. That’s when I do my weekly grocery shopping, don’t you?