Correct change, please!

I stopped by a local fast food place yesterday afternoon. I didn’t feel like fixing supper and the restaurant had an old (caloric!) favorite back on the menu for a short time. Had to have one!

I placed an order for the sandwich, a Dr. Pepper, and french fries (the really bad part…), and the total was $4.91.

“Let’s make this easy for the cashier,” I thought as I drove to the pay window. Instead of giving her a $5.00, I’d give her $5.91. Here’s the scheme:

X = ($5.00 + .91) – $4.91, where X is the change coming to me.

It seemed simple enough to me. I trust people reading this post are as smart as I give them – you! – credit for, and realize all I expected back was a $1.00 bill.

I handed the $5.91 to the cashier, who stumbled around, dropped a the 1 cent piece on the floor. She sorted the change into the cash register slots, one $5.00 into the $5.00 slot; three $.25 coins into the $.25 coin slot; one $.10 into the $.10 coin slot; one $.05 coin into the $.05 coin; but (I couldn’t see) I can’t say that the $.01 coin went into the drawer because I don’t know if she found it.

She fumbled around some more, looking confused, stunned, struck between the eyes. As far as I know, her cash register tells her how much money the customer has coming back. Most do these days since most cashiers seem enumerate. Probably can’t tell time with an analog clock, either. I waited some more as cars piled up behind me.

Then she went back to the cash drawer to pull out my change, in coins. Let me finish the equation for you:

X = ($5.00 + .91) – $4.91
X = $5.91 – $4.91
X = $1.00

She handed me these coins:

I may support doubling the minimum wage to $15.00, but some people need to upgrade their math skills first!

I may support doubling the minimum wage to $15.00, but some people need to upgrade their math skills first!

For those who are familiar with US coinage, you see that the change received was $.90, not $1.00, for a shortage of $.10. I told myself not to help the cashier again, and $.10 is a small price to pay for that lesson!

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