Friday, June 11, 2004

And The Score Is...

Me: 2
Scammers: 0

It happened again. For the second time in less than two months, some hopeless low-lifes tried to scam me out of some money while working at Taco Bell. Around 7:30 pm or so tonight, a few black ladies ordered one Meximelt, and pulled up to my window to pay. The driver handed me a $20. Immediately I think, "Now, you're telling me that between you 3 ladies, the smallest bill you have is a $20?" So I was mildly suspicious, but people have paid for smaller priced items with larger bills before with no problems, so I didn't think too much of it. In fact, I think the record for me so far is someone once ordered around $2-3 of food, and paid with a $100 bill.

Anyway, I took the $20 and hit the Amount Tender button to open my drawer. The Meximelt cost $1.17, so I owed her $18.83. But there was one problem. It was particularly busy tonight, and I was running out of $1 bills. At the time, I only had two $1 bills. So I took a $10, a $5, and the two $1's out, trying to decide if I wanted to ask her if she would mind getting a dollar in quarters back or if I should make her wait and get some $1's from my manager.

But I wasn't able to think for very long, because the driver said, "Here honey, here's 20 cents." So now I owed her $19.03, which meant I now needed two dollars more than what I had. But before I am able to do anything, the driver turns to me again and says, "Hey honey, I got a dollar bill here instead." So I immediately think, "YES! You just rescued me from my dilemma!" So I take the dollar, put the $10, $5, and the two $1's that I had previously taken out back into the drawer, and pondered for a second.

To make sure I gave her back the right amount of money, I had to remember now what she had given me. First she gave me the $20, then the 20 cents, then the $1. So all I really owed her was the $20 bill that she gave me originally, plus the 3 cents change, since the Meximelt cost $1.17. So I figured that out, and then this is the important part. I only had one $20 bill in my drawer. The one that she gave me. So I take that $20 bill out, plus 3 cents, and give it to her. I then turn to my drawer for just a couple seconds to tuck all the bills back in. In that time, she and her friends apparently did the ol' switcheroo, because she then said, "Hey honey, you only gave me back a $1 bill."


That was when my brain's Scam Alert and Prevention alarm (or my SAP alarm...used for recognizing saps who try to scam me) activated. At that exact moment, I realized what I was dealing with, and I wasn't about to let them get away with it.

I said, "No, I gave you back a $20."
She said, "No, you gave me a $1."

I then proceeded to take out my drawer and show her where I always put my $20's and to have her see that there was nothing there. I said, "Look, this is where I put my $20 bills. There's nothing there because I gave you back a $20."

She then hesitated for a minute, and said, "Let me talk with your manager." So I said alright, I closed my drawer, walked over to my manager, Thaddus, and laughingly said, "She just tried to scam me," and I told him what happened. So we walked over to the window, only to see that they had driven away. Turns out, after I left to go talk to Thaddus, they had driven up to the 2nd window, taken their Meximelt that they had paid for, and left, because they knew that I was aware of what they were trying to pull and they didn't really want any part of Thaddus...they just used it as an excuse to hightail it out of there.

If I had fallen for the scam, they would have ended up getting $20 out of it. But since I didn't, they ended up paying $1.17 and getting a Meximelt. Fortunately for me, I almost always drop my $20's in a little drop box we have below the register after every order to prevent theft and scams like this from happening. Because I had dropped all of my previous $20's, the only $20 in my drawer was the one that the lady gave me, so I had proof that I had given her back a $20 and not a $1 bill. And when I showed her my empty $20 slot, she knew that I was on to her scheme and she basically gave up the fight and ran with her tail between her legs.

So I'm feelin' great right now knowing that I am undefeated as a cashier against scammers, with a spotless record of 2-0. Bring on the next challenger please, honey.

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