You owe me money.
Have you ever not gotten your change at a store or a retail establishment? I can admit that it might seem like an easy thing to do, but think about it for a minute.
This is MONEY that we are talking about. Money is the grease that keeps our society rolling along smoothly. In my experience, customers know EXACTLY how much they're supposed to get back and EXACTLY what you're supposed to be doing to give it to them. So walking back in to the store two hours later and claiming "I didn't get my money" and thinking we'll just roll over and give you $75 isn't really going to fly.
For starters, there are procedures to follow. At the Wal-Mart, we no longer have individual cash drawers. Everyone at the Customer Service Desk uses any one of the five registers to process refunds, although we still have to sign on to the register under our own operator number and password. Each individual transaction is tracked and can be traced to a specific register and cashier.
Whenever there is a question about the money in a specific drawer (that's what we call the cash registers, because the till has this little drawer that goes in and out), there's a specific process.
You take what's called a "reading" from the register, which gives you the amount of cash that's supposed to be in the register. It also tells you loads of other stuff, like your credit card sales, refunds, food stamp & WIC sales, coupons and voids and can basically be used to balance the entire till. But what you really need is the cash total.
After getting the reading, TWO supervisors remove the drawer from the register and go to a secure place and count the cash, down to the last penny. One counts it once and then the other. If they don't agree, they count the cash till they do agree, or until the difference is really only pennies.
You add up the cash on hand in the drawer and then subtract the amount of loans that particular register has gotten during the day to give out refunds and cash payroll checks. It can take a few minutes, because Service Desk cash registers start the day with $2000 in them and we usually get around another $6000 in loans throughout the day. And you've got to make sure you add our money orders and travelers checks in that too -- both those count as cash.
After you add the cash on hand in the drawer (which is what I've taken in from customers), you subtract the loans and the $2000 I started with (this is what the store gave me). This figure, which may be a negative, should match the CASH figure on my reading. Any amount over or under that is how much cash that particular register is short or over. You really don't want to be over. You especially don't want to be short. Especially not every day. That's a quick way to be fired.
Which leads to the point of all this.
Last Saturday was hopping. There were three of us at the desk and we were still losing the battle. One of the other guys went to his lunch and me and the other girl were stuck there from noon till 1 p.m. by ourselves.
In the middle of all this, some yuppie with two snot-nosed brats comes up to me after cutting off an old lady with an issue over the price of peas and starts hollering that I owe him money.
I hold up the finger and finish taking care of the old woman and then ask him what his deal is. He holds out a receipt and says "That Spanish guy that was here two hours ago didn't give me my change."
OK. It can happen. I'll be the first one to admit that I've been a bit scattered lately and almost caught myself closing the drawer without giving people change. BUT THEY ALWAYS SAID - "OH, YOU OWE ME MY MONEY!" or some variation thereof.
In doing refunds, you can get up to four or five pieces of paper spitting out of the register for just one return. You've got to give them their receipt and a credit slip and then make sure they sign the refund slip.
And then they want "check out" at the Service Desk and sit there like a lump while you're bagging a counter full of frozen food while everyone else in line is looking daggers at them.
But anyway. He's thrusting this receipt at me. I take it and he claims he returned some video games and walked away without his $75. Uh huh. And I'm dating Jake Gyllenhaal.
So I have to call the supervisors over and go through the process of having the register counted. The result, it was over $6. NOT $75. And the employee he's accusing of not giving him his change -- a three-year veteran who was promoted to Customer Service because he was never short or over when he was a cashier.
So one of the supervisors tells the guy "Look, it's not in there. We can't give it to you today. You can come in Monday when they do research and we can go over the numbers again. We can also check the security cameras and see what happened."
Instead of being rational about it, because if someone did forget to give him the change, we can check the tape and find out, -- the guy blew up and started yelling at the supervisor and then at the poor guy who just walked back up from his lunch. "Do you remember me? You didn't give me my change. You're a bad employee and you should really work on your skills."
Yeah. And then the guy goes "I'm going to let it go this time, but Wal-Mart should really train its employees better." And walks off.
The thing is that no one actually remembered doing a return for him.
And then later we finally figure out what was possibly going on.
We think this guy watched Customer Service and found a receipt that someone leaving the counter area dropped. He noticed which register they were at and then just came back a few hours later and said that we didn't give him his change. The kids were just window dressing.
A return with a receipt is the most common thing we do -- at least a hundred per day per register on a weekend and we can't possibly remember each customer, so it was no big shocker that he figured he could get away with it.
But I'm a little shocked that he thought there were no procedures in place to prevent people like him from ripping the store off.
And if we really did forget to give him his change and the cash drawer got screwed up some other way -- I feel bad for him. I mean, they will check the tapes for something like that -- it could be that someone has sticky fingers -- or it could be that the register is off for some other reason. But they're not just going to hand over $75 for no good reason.