I’m finished at the checkout. I’ve handed over my notes; bags are packed and in one hand and I’m waiting to claim my change with the other. The checkout operator has already scooped up the coinage – they could give it to me there and then – but no, they decide to wait for the receipt to finish printing. In the time it’s taking for that piece of paper to be spat out I could be sequesting those pieces of silver about my person with no fuss whatsoever. But no, the bastard at the till wants to streamline our final moments together into one single interaction. I look on helplessly as the inevitable comes…
And sure enough, he plants everything into my outstretched hand in one go; receipt at the bottom, change on top.
My other hand is weighed down with shopping so I’m limited in the choices available to deal with this mixture of paper and metal both quickly and efficiently. I didn’t buy clothes or a gift for my mum, so proof of purchase is not necessary, but I can’t isolate the receipt for binning because it’s buried under my change. And I’m not going to drop the whole lot into the carrier bag – that would be foolhardy.
I could stuff the whole lot into my jeans, but the pockets are tight – when I attempt to remove the receipt later, there’s a real risk that some of my change will come flying out of my pocket at the same time. I’ve lost pound coins doing this. It’s annoying.
Alternatively, I can try to deposit just the change into my pocket, leaving the receipt in my hand for disposal. But to do this I would need to open my hand before it enters my pocket, and the reduced friction caused by the underlying receipt means the change would begin sliding all over the place rather than finding purchase in my clammy palm. The chances of the coins missing the target and scattering over the floor in front of everyone in the supermarket are just too ruddy high!
I’m paralysed, caught between a rock and a hard place, and it’s all your fault cashier-boy. I don’t know what I did to make you hate me so much, but you’ve just ensured that the feeling is very much mutual. Next time give me the change first. Or just pop the receipt in the bag. Thanks. (Cretin.)