Monday, September 17, 2007

Tales of a Cashier - A Mother's Lesson

I work part-time in retail and come across a lot of people buying a lot of things. The store I work in is a home store, so almost all of the items are not necessary to survival. I try not to judge the customers coming through my line, but sometimes it's difficult. I am in a self-imposed frugal lifestyle to work on getting out of debt and people just spend so much money. Just about every day I see an interesting purchase, or in this case, a return.

It was the end of the evening, right before we were closing up for the night. I had a couple of people left in my line and then the doors would close. I came upon a girl, probably about 11 or 12 years old, and her mother. They each paid for their items separately. The girl purchased a day calendar and a photo frame. She put her items down and pulled out a $20 to pay. When I told her the total of $26, her mom stopped her from getting more money out and chipped in a $10. I rang her out and continued to the next customer in line.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the mother and girl having a discussion. A minute later, when my line was empty, the girl came back up to me. "I would like to return this, please," she said, holding out the day calendar. "I didn't realize it cost $11.99."

Once I gave her the money back and they had left, I got to thinking. What a great lesson the mother had just given! In five minutes, she managed to convey mindful shopping, budgeting, and smart spending. The girl was able to quickly remedy her error, renege on her original decision, and keep her $11.99. I was so excited to see an example of good money habits.

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