Monday 8 August 2005

A minor evil.

What is it with giving customers change? How can such a simple little thing be made to be such an irritating hindrance?

I reach out my hand — that's my one free hand, the other containing a shopping bag or a wallet at this point. And the "assistant" puts a banknote into my palm, my receipt on top of that, then coins on top of that. What the hell am I supposed to do with that? I don't want to scrunch the banknote and receipt up into a little ball around the coins, but what else, at this point, is possible? It's like some hellishly everyday philosopher's knot. I just want to put my money in my pocket, after folding the note, and put the receipt in a different pocket. Is that so bizarre? We're not talking about a high level of anal-retentive organisationalness here. What really pisses me off is that they have to make a special effort to hobble me this way: the till gives them the receipt seconds before it allows them to take change out of the draw, but they insistently hang on to the receipt during that time, no matter how hintingly I hold out my hand, just so they can give it to me sandwiched between two layers of money.

The simple solution, of course, is to pay by card, but lately they've started sodding around with that too. They fold the receipt around the card before handing it back to me. What in God's name are they thinking? Does anyone ever put their card back in their wallet with a receipt folded around it? If I get cashback, they gleefully include the note in this origamic nonsense.

Trainee assistants don't do this; brand new ones don't either. They start out giving me my money in a normal way, as if they're humans or something, but then they change. Someone is teaching them this. Who is it? And what is their bloody problem?

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