November 12th, 2006

Conrunner Kevin

Well, Nobody Would Make Up a Story That Stupid...

On Friday night, we went grocery shopping, and I asked for $50 cash back as I was nearly tapped out. On Saturday during errand-running, I realized that I only had about $15 cash in my wallet. The blood drained out of my face as I said to cherylmorgan, "I walked away from Safeway without my cash back."

Now $50 isn't going to break me, but it is darned annoying and wasteful. And as icing on the cake, Cheryl pointed out to me that I'd picked up the wrong variety of Diet Coke as well. (We prefer the one sweetened with Splenda.)

Thinking about it for a bit, and fishing my receipt out of the trash can next to the computer where I'd put it after entering the purchase into Quicken, I decided that going back to Safeway and asking if they'd had a till come up $50 over wouldn't do any harm. After all, the worst that could happen would be that they'd say, "Nope, sorry, nothing we can do," and I'd be no worse off.

So this afternoon, Cheryl and I took the two boxes of Diet Coke with us to Safeway and trundled up to the Customer Service counter. As I expected, they had no problem with us exchanging flavors of Diet Coke, on account of we hadn't opened the boxes. Then I sprung the more difficult question. I get the impression this sort of thing has happened before, because the desk manager took it in stride. She said, "Let me go see," took my receipt, and headed into a back room.

I told Cheryl she could go swap Diet Coke boxes while I waited. "How will I get back here?" She asked.

"Just bring the cart back here to the Customer Service desk. Don't worry about the checkout stands." I said. In the UK, she's used to layouts that wouldn't allow you to be able to get past checkstands, and what she was trying to do -- go past the checkstands with goods in the cart without paying -- would be highly suspicious. I reassured her that we had the Customer Service desk behind us. Besides, the layout of this store allows you to bypass the stands to get to Customer Service.

As Cheryl was returning with the correct brand of Coke, the woman from Customer Service came out of the inner office with an handful of cash. "The till was $52 over," she said, handing me my $50. That was it. No special paperwork, no forms to sign, nothing. She kept the receipt because they would use it to clear the totals up later, but I didn't need a receipt at that point. I rolled the Coke back out to the van while Cheryl went and bought us some bagels for breakfast tomorrow.

I'm feeling very pleased about how painless that was. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes, too. After all, you'd have to be pretty stupid to make up a dumb story like I did and expect to collect $50 unless it was true. Besides, the receipts are coded by transaction and till, so they could match me up to what really happened. For that matter, they're probably almost as relieved as I am. From my experience working retail, I hated overages as much as shortages, because they both meant an error in the records.

Anyway, good for Safeway's Customer Service desk for being so nice about my being so air-headed.
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