I had an extra-long day planned the other day and in typical me fashion, I had only scheduled an hour of downtime between getting out of work and an evening commitment. I was determined to fit all of my errands into that hour and things started out well enough when I stopped by the drugstore to pick up
a few a ton of necessities. It was good timing to run out of everything in the house – from toothpaste to toilet paper and more – because I had a 30 percent off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. After hitting up practically every aisle, I made my way to the registers and when I got there, my heart sank. SELF CHECKOUT ONLY.
Going through a self checkout for me is a guarantee that something will go wrong. I was never a good cashier in my past life when I worked at a cafe, and I’m still not. Inevitably, the machine will break. It will yell at me for putting items in the wrong place (how does it know where they are?). It won’t take my money. It will delete my order and make me start over. Or, in the worst possible scenario that happened the other day… IT REFUSED TO HONOR MY COUPON.
Now, I am not one of those extreme couponers – I just know the value of a 30% off coupon when I see one. I am my mother’s daughter after all – she is a sale shopping force to be reckoned with and has taught me well, dammit!
I alerted the “clerk” (who really is just someone who stands by the old registers and diverts people to the self checkers) and waited patiently while the manager came to the front. Things started out alright but they quickly went downhill. Ahem:
Me: My coupon isn’t working, can you help me?
Manager: Well if it’s not working, it’s not working.
HOLD ON A MINUTE. That’s the solution you go to right away – that you have no solution? Great. So we went on:
Me: You’re telling me there is nothing you can do for me?
Me: Not even like, an override? You can’t print one out and let me use it?
Manager: I could override it but then you would get TWO coupons – the one I print, and the one on your account.
Me: But the one on my account isn’t working.
Manager: Doesn’t matter, you’d get two.
Me: Well, one clearly isn’t working so I would only have one. In fact, I do only have one. Plus, I don’t really see how it’s my fault that the system isn’t working.
Manager: How would you feel about getting two?
Umm… I’m sorry, did he just ask me how I would feel about getting two? Was he trying to make me feel bad? I don’t know about you, but I would feel fucking fabulous about getting two 30 percent off coupons. I channeled my mom – she would not stand for this if she was here, and neither would I! Instead of debating my coupon morals with the manager, I tried to play it cool:
Me: I don’t really care about getting two, I’ll throw the other one out.
Manager: You don’t get it.
Holy shit. Did he just really say, “you don’t get it?” I may not be a mathematician, but I’m pretty sure I can add one coupon plus one coupon.
Me: (scoff) I don’t get it?
My disbelief at what he just said was lost on my new friend who then replied:
Manager: No, you don’t understand.
For the record: telling someone who actually does “get it” that they “don’t get it” in a different way will not solve any problems. It will only make them worse. If I had to pinpoint the moment when I morphed into a complete crazy person… this was it:
Me: Oh no! I understand! You’re telling me I’ll get TWO COUPONS if you DO help me, which you WON’T. I understand that JUST FINE. I GET IT.
Annnnd people were staring when the manager said:
Manager: Well… (dead air)
It was clear that we had reached an impasse.
Me: Well… if you’re telling me there is nothing you can do for me, I don’t want any of these items.
Manager: But you already scanned them.
And, in a moment of sweet poetic justice, I still had my debit card in my hand because I was, after all, at the self checkout. As I waved said debit card in his face, I made sure to enunciate each and every word:
Me: BUT I DIDN’T PAY FOR THEM YET, DID I?
I left everything on the self checker machine and knew immediately that I could never go back to that store. They probably have a still frame from the security tape of me losing my mind marked, “AVOID THIS WOMAN AT ALL COSTS.”
In all seriousness, I let something pretty inconsequential get the best of me and I knew rushing through the rest of my errands would be a recipe for disaster so I threw in the towel, momentarily. I went for a walk, grabbed a bite for dinner, and headed off to the next event for the evening with a clearer mind.
Since the TP situation at the house was getting dire, I stopped into a different drugstore later that night to finish my shopping where, for the record, they did honor my coupon.