Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bud it wuz suppoz tuh be fuh-ree

The subject of today's very much fun and oh-so-enlightening little entry will be coupons. Because, you know, there is nothing more dangerous than mixing white trash, tiny little print, some flip-flops and a bag of Funyuns.

Add a can of Natural Light, season with Cheetos and garnish with Cheez-Whiz and a Pringle. Serves 6.

The genius computerized scheduling system left us with seven cashiers after 5 p.m. on a Saturday night. When I got back from my lunch one of the managers asked me to jump on Register 2 to help get the lines down. It was INSANE. There were like 9-10 people in every line - don't these people got places to BE on a Saturday night? The club, the American Legion, they house, I dunno. Somewhere. Anywhere else but here. I know I'm not up in Wal-Mart because I want to be!

I don't mind Register 2, because it's a speedy checkout - and people are usually pretty good about not coming through there with $400 orders with a ton of produce.

Anyway. The third customer I get is this ancient and withered crone who thanks me for opening up another register. She is so effusive in her praise that I feel almost embarrassed for the store for being so stupid about the schedule.

About 20 minutes later, I get a woman who resembles what Britney Spears is going to look like in about three years if she continues down her current road to ruin. She's wearing an ancient printed T-shirt - so faded I can't even make out what it says - something about beer - complete with more holes than Swiss cheese. Cutoffs, of course. And dirty green flip-flops. (These I see later when she stomps away from the register.) Her dirty blonde hair also just plain dirty. And greasy. Ears pierced four times each. Cheap gold rings on nearly every finger.

She's smacking gum as if her life depended on it. Hubba Bubba, more than one piece, from the looks and smell of it. How the person on the other end of that cell phone she had jammed in her ear could understand her I'll never know.

I finish bagging up an old man's loaf of bread and three bananas. (For this he probably stood in line a good ten minutes. Old people - get a clue - do NOT go shopping on Saturday nights. I don't UNDERSTAND the need to recreational shop at a time WHEN YOU KNOW THE STORE IS GOING TO BE BUSY AND THEN YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT THE LINES!)

I turn to greet GumSlinger. She doesn't answer, but throws a big box of diapers up on the counter and moves down by the bag rack. She continues on the phone. Somebody effed up somebody else's truck and somebody gonna pay for it or she's gonna eff them up.

I run it the diapers over my scanner. GumSlinger is still on the phone and the woman behind her is putting bananas on the counter.

I hit total and swing the screen toward the woman and tap it. That's what she owes me. She's still yakking on the phone and has not responded to anything I've said. Effing deputy tried to take her cousin to jail because he didn't have a valid license.

She sees the total, shakes a finger and her head at me and whips a coupon out of a pocket and thrusts a grubby paw in my direction. Apparently, she's gonna have to 'throw down' with someone over something to get this truck fixed. And there's gonna be a party at somebody's house tonight. She need to go somewhere and get some beer after she's done at Wal-Mart.

The coupon from Huggies and can be redeemed for a free box of diapers - I just have to scan the coupon and take off the price of the diapers - in this case $24.99. I also have to write down the amount of the product on the coupon, so we can get reimbursed from Huggies.

While I'm doing this, I see her move to grab the Diapers and start to leave. Predictably, she's still on the phone. Hold up!

ME: "Ma'am. You still need to pay me $1.50." Now she gets off the phone. I actually hear her say "I'll call you back. Wal-Mart trying to act a fool up in here."

HER: "These is free."
ME: "Yes ma'am. They are free. You need to pay the tax."
HER: "That means they're not free." Lord. I must have run over a kitten or something to have deserved this. Working on a register AND getting the stupids.
ME: "Ma'am. The diapers cost $24.99. You get the box of diapers free but you have to pay the tax on the diapers."
HER: "I ain't gotta pay that. The coupon say free. So they is free."

ME: "No ma'am. It does not say that you can walk into a store and grab a box of diapers and walk out. The product is free but you still have to pay tax. I need a dollar and fifty cents or I need those diapers back." The woman waiting to check out is watching all this with a certain amount of morbid fascination.
HER: "I don't got it."
ME: "You don't got what?"
HER: "I don't got no money."

ME: "Okay. I need that box of diapers back then. Do you have some money in the car maybe?"
HER: "Naw."
ME: "OK. I need you to leave that here."
HER: "My baby need some diapers." No. Your baby needs Social Services to pay a house call.

ME: "You can come back later tonight when you got some money."
HER: "Can't I brang sum money back later?" OH HELL NO!
ME: "No ma'am. I can't give you stuff for free."
HER: "You betta gimme my coupon back. It say free. This ain't free. I'ma go sumwhar else."
ME: "Here's your coupon ma'am."

She leaves and I see her pull the phone out and start yelling into it again."Wal-Mart won't let me get no free diapers."

Good luck finding somewhere that's going to let you get "free" diapers lady.



Clark said...

The $1.50 tax would probably have kept her from buying her beer. The diapers were probably going to go on eBay.

Emily said...

I wonder where she got that coupon. My baby could use some free diapers.

I forgot my name badge said...

Where were all those 24.99 coupons when my kid was little?? No doubt they were all used up by the cretins in line at the Walmart.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I'm confused. Maybe I've never paid close enough attention, but I don't remember ever paying tax on a coupon. Was it just that particular deal? For example on a "buy one get one free", do you still have to pay tax on the free item? Or if an item is $5 but you have a 50% off coupon, do you pay tax on $5 or $2.50? Just curious.

powercat99 said...

All the coupons (the valid ones anyway) say in small print, "Customer must pay all applicable taxes." That coupon was probably an internet fake anyway, although sometimes the manufacturer will send free coupons to you if you complain enough. The cashiers have been trained to hit total before ringing up coupons so it will charge the tax.

High-Maintenance & Hostile Heidi said...

Just because you have a coupon for a free package of diapers or cat food or whatever does NOT mean you don't have to pay sales tax! Usually, it's printed right on the coupon that you still have to pay taxes.

This sort of reminds me of the people who got free cars from Oprah and then complained they had to pay the applicable taxes. Good God, you're getting a $20,000 car for free and then you complain about having to pay tax on it?

I love free coupons - once, I bought 400 pounds of cat food with free coupons from the Sunday paper -- and I didn't mind paying the sales tax. I still saved a ton!

If she wants some "free" diapers, maybe she should go to Social Services instead of the Wal-Mart.

Anonymous said...

The general rule for coupons and taxes is that someone has to pay the tax on whatever amount the store receives in total.

So if it's a store coupon, that comes off before taxes are charged, since that reduces the amount the store gets. If it's a manufacturers coupon it comes off after taxes, since the store still gets that money (just not from you).

AtYourCervix said...

I knew the women I take care of giving birth had to show up somewhere else on the outside, I know --- they go to WalMart and complain about paying taxes on diapers!

It's all about getting everything for nothing, don't you know that? We give them free healthcare every time they get pregnant (about every 2 years, so they can stay on welfare too), free food (WIC and food stamps), and free diapers (those coupons, or else through other social service agencies).

I vote for FREE TUBAL LIGATIONS FOR ALL!!!!! At least that will make my job a little easier.

Boringscreenname said...

Our Speedy checkout lane at Wal-Mart is always the slowest. One time we went in and bought 2 12 packs of pop and a bottle of shampoo. After waiting in line awhile, I just gave the boyfriend money to pay and went across the store to Subway. I ordered two foot long sandwiches and walked slowly back to the register and he was just being rung up and the cashier acted like it was killing her to lift a couple 12 packs of pop to scan them.

Ihar Filipau said...

10 people in line???
waiting 10+ minutes?????

Come to Europe once. They would keep you waiting for 15+ minutes. Or more. In line of 20 people.

Worst part: free cashiers would be chatting nearby, sometimes dropping a look at you as at looser.

Worser than worst: serving cashier would see a friend in line. That's adds another 5-10 minutes for sure - clear all the things accumulated since the time the two haven't seen each other.

Service over here sucks badly. And I'm not talking about Saturdays - any other day is the same. (It's just on Friday and Saturday evenings they hate you more than usually.)

You can come to store and find single register open, line of people and no cashier at all. (That happens all the time when for example goods have no price ticket or it was damaged beyond recognition.) Then 5+ minutes later cashier comes and - absolutely surprised - sees the lots more people in line. (They always surprised over here to see customers.) Probably now she would call some other freeloading cashiers to actually start serving clients. You know, 10+ people waiting is no reason to interrupt a everlasting coffee pause of their colleagues.

P.S. Well. My sarcasm is went overboard slightly. But factually this is my experience from grocery where I live (German chain REWE). And other closest grocery is 20 min away.

yoyo said...

Is paying tax on a 'free' item an american thing?
I've never seen anything like that in the UK,I imagine there'd be a very polite riot if 'free' didnt really mean 'free'.

Anonymous said...

Seriously - where'd she get that diaper coupon? I'd pay twice the tax amount for free diapers!

I think the people who shop at the Wal on saturday night are most likely bored parents who need some sort of excitement. that's the excuse in our house...

Anonymous said...

Wht I'm always suprised at, and depressed by, is the abuse of the english language that poor BBC has to deal with.

And I find it ironic that this moron can afford a cell phone plan with all those minutes but not a "buck fiddy" for diapers for her kid.

Anonymous said...

The only time I don'y pay tax on a Get Free Coupon is when it's a NON TAXABLE ITEM. Geez! If I was standing behind the woman I'd give the buck fifty to end the poor cashiers nightmare.
As for getting a gree 20 grand car I would gladly pay the taxes and be grateful to do so. We americans are too self entitled and spoiled.

j-yo said...

So she had money for beer but not $1.50 for diapers. Classic.

Anonymous said...

Yoyo - in the UK, VAT is included in the shelf price, whereas in the US sales taxes are not, they're added at the register when your purchase is rung up. On rare occasion you'll see a food retailer (like the hot dog carts in New York City) where the tax is included, otherwise prices don't inlcude sales tax. Americans are used to it. Gasoline is the only real exception - gas prices at the pump will always include all state and Federal taxes.

Christopher B said...

I would have SNAPPED. I would have gotten fired in your shoes. I would have started yelling at her about how if she kept her legs closed she might have stayed in school long enough to learn how to speak proper English and how tax works. I can't articulate into text how frustrated I would have been, and how I'd be looking for a job 5 minutes after that. Good thing I don't work at the House of Wal.

Stuart said...

Thank you! Makes me feel tons better about my job, and soooo glad to be in an office.

I had my run at retail. I feel for you.

Plummy said...

I always hated fighting customers with manufactuer coupons vs. store coupons. They couldn't ever figure out that one gets deducted before the total and one gets deducted after, thus leaving you with tax. Boooooo customers.

yoyo said...

Thanks for the explanation,anonymous.

I wonder how much cheaper stuff here would be without Tax on it.

contessa said...

Stay classy, Wal-Mart diaper lady. Stay classy.

ra said...

yoyo. Sales tax in the UK is called VAT. It is charged at 17.5%, so that is how much stuff would be if we didn't pay tax on it. There are xceptions to this. Childrens clothes and (non luxury) food items are not VATable and cigarettes, fuel and alcohol are charged at a higher rate (though that is excise duty not VAT).