How Working in Retail Changes You, part 1: Currency of the Devil

There are some things in this world that just defy logic. The world today is grubby – money is in more demand than celebrity sex scandals. There is the rare occasion, though, when money isn’t the most important piece of living – the Holy Spirit is.

Things like this are amusing to me for many reasons, one of which being the reactions of people when the “Dollar of the Beast” comes up, either in change or in the total transaction. So many people freak out about it, and with my retail background, I’ve seen it with my own eyes – and laughed about it behind their own backs.

I distinctly remember one time, when I worked at JoAnn Fabrics, this lady, who had to have been late-80’s or early-90’s, came up to  the line and this plethora of fabric and accessories, bringing her total to $93.34. She handed me a $100 bill, presumably without thinking. I relayed to her the amount of money she would be receiving back. Here is the conversation recalled, as best I can:

“Ma’am, your total is $6.66”
“Wait – what was that?”
“Your change is $6.66”
“You have got to be kidding me.”
“No, ma’am. $6.66”

Then what happened? The lady placed her hand on her chest and raised her other arm in the air, screaming for “Jesus to protect [her] from the wicked this day has brought forth!”

I quoted her as best I can.

She then proceeded to recite scripture, and placed her hand on my head, crying out for “the Devil to resign from taking this [my] body and cast back into the bloody pits of Hell!”

I was terrified, to say the least. Not of the Devil, but of her. I had never been scared of anyone who couldn’t lift a rock before, but this crazy woman instilled the fear of her into me.

Another ironic bit: it was a Sunday afternoon.

Customers stared in disbelief. My co-cashiers stared in shock. My managers stayed the hell away.

After about five minutes of what I assumed was her trying to save my soul, she calmed down.

“Ma’am, your change?”

Panting, she reached toward the candy display and removed a Snickers. “Put that on there,” she said.

I went back through the transaction, added the candy bar, and revised her total. Pleased with the current amount, she reverted back to that delicate old woman again.

“Thank you for all your kind work, sir.”

I shifted uncomfortably.

“Sure. Have a good afternoon.”

She left, pushing a cart full of fabric bolts and threads, walking through the door held open by one of the stunned customers, leaving me to contemplate the Devil’s existence – within an old woman?

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About Robert L. Franklin

Ah, the About Me section - social networking's excuse for you sounding like an elitist prick. Hmm... what to say? What to say?
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