Saturday, March 9, 2013

One coin is like another

I watch the cashier and calculate my change so I can casually check it while lifting my purchase with my other hand.I tire of being shortchanged by underpaid till jockeys supplementing their rent by imposing a thief's levy on unsuspecting shoppers.

Before me, an older woman waits after the till is closed. She has a few pastries in a bag.

"Was there anything else, Madame," asks the suddenly wary sales assistant.

She says she handed over three two-euro coins totalling six euro; but received change from a fiver.

The man opens the till and stares at the tumbled coins and notes of many transaction. He says yes you are right, I have your other euro here in my hand for you. Did you want anything else?

She shakes her sorrowful head and walks to a table to clutch her paper bag and await the arrival of someone else, who seems in no hurry to appear.

The same thing has happened to me, thrice, in different places in the past few weeks. All challenged by me, all apologised for as a mistake.

If it was a mistake, why did they not mistakenly give me too much change?

On my way out, I think to bond with the pastry buyer; but she flicks her wrist and produces a two-euro coin secreted by her in her coat. She had handed over not three coins, but two, to a value of four euro and received change of five.

She is in short, a thief, and the till jockey is not only an honest human but is now short of his employers' takings.

Do the police know who she is, or should I lock her in and ring them, I wonder?

I do neither; but watch out for pickpocketing grannies on my way home.

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