Friday, April 28, 2017

When Paying it Forward Backfires

I mentioned a few days ago that I was going to work on giving money away for 29 days.  Let me tell you, it is much harder than I imagined.  The first few days were easy, giving a dollar to my neighbor, throwing change into a tip jar, and dropping a few quarters in my apartment complex's hallway, but then, I discovered, that when you don't spend any time with other humans, or go anywhere but to a farm, giving money away becomes a little more challenging!.

So, today, while I was relistening to You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, I was reminded of my on going goal of giving money away, and I hadn't given any money away in three days.  I decided it was finally time to go grocery shopping... something I haven't done in months.  Yes.  Months.  (Last month I challenged myself to not get any groceries until April, and I got so good at cleaning out my cupboards and working with what I had, I didn't need to go to the store other than for one or two ingredients.  I believe I only spent $15 on food for the month of April.  I would also like to note several people gave me food such as potatoes, apples, spaghetti squash, and avocados, to name a few).

My dad had given me a left over visa gift card and he told me to use it to get some groceries.  I followed his advice, and headed to Aldi's to purchase some fresh fruits and vegetables.  My mouth was salivating at the thought of a salad.  (This is how I know I am lacking with my nutrition... I was craving a salad.  I love vegetables but I'd rather eat them other ways besides salads.  Salads get old fast, in my book, anyway.)   On the drive over, I realized this would give me an opportunity to give away some money because in order to get a cart at Aldi's, you have to put in a quarter to unlock it, and when you lock it back up, it gives you your quarter back.   My game plan was to give someone a cart!  Easy!  Right?!?!

I pulled in just as a lady was finished putting her groceries away.  I poked my head out of the car and told her I'd take her cart so she wouldn't have to take it back.  I grabbed my Aldi's quarter which always resides in the arm rest of my car door.  I offered her the quarter but she refused to take it since someone had given her the cart, so she was simply paying it forward.

Yay for the cycle of paying it forward continuing but nay... I wanted to give some money away!

I loaded my cart with groceries and headed to the check out line.  Once the cashier started ringing up my items, she came across a small wheel caddy I decided to purchase for my avocado tree.   It'll be a lot easier to move around when it is on wheels.  Except, when I added this caddy to my cart, the sku code sticker did not come with me.   I told the cashier I was pretty sure it was $2.99 but she just shrugged her shoulders, put her finger over her lips, made a shush sound, and placed it in my cart.

I have always said if there is no price tag, it means it's free... but this was the first time that statement was true.... or maybe I just had permission to shoplift the caddy... either way, it was in my cart of paid for items and I didn't pay for it.

She read my total and I swiped the gift card.  I had an idea of how much was left on the card and I knew I'd spent over the amount that remained, so I expected a second total to be paid on my debit card.

It went through.  I had $13.66 left to pay.  I swiped my debit card.

Nothing happened.  No beep.  Nothing.

I tried it again.  Again, nothing happened.

"It isn't working.. the screen doesn't even say it's ready to swipe.  Do you have to press any other buttons on your end?"  I asked the cashier but she said her screen looked normal and I just had to swipe.

I tried again, nothing.  I pulled out my credit card.  Nothing.

I looked in my wallet.  I had one crisp dollar bill and mentally slapped myself on the forehead for forgetting to get cash out when I went to the bank to deposit my paycheck a few hours earlier.

"I don't even have enough cash to pay that.  I only have my cards.  It's not like I don't have the money, it's just not letting me swipe!"  I mumble more to myself than the cashier, and the patient people in the line, looking at me and wondering why I am holding up the line.  I apologized to them for making them wait, but no one seemed annoyed at this, instead they all gave me sympathy smiles and shrugged their shoulders.

The cashier took my card and tried a few tricks but nothing was working.  It was some sort of technical error that wasn't reading the card.  She called the manager and as the manager arrived, so did another customer.  Without talking to me, she simply swiped her card through the machine, hers didn't read either.

"Oh, you don't have to do that, it's not that I don't have the money, the machine isn't reading anything."  I explain to her, grateful for her attempt to pay the remaining of my bill, yet feeling slightly embarrassed my register was becoming the center of attention.

Meanwhile, the manager typed in a few codes and the machine did something because the screen was now telling me to swipe my card.  However, the other customer never left and she swiped her card, typed in her pin number, and walked away, barely even giving me the chance to get out a thank you for her kind act.

I move my cart aside and start loading up my groceries, and I heard other people making small talk, "bless her heart, we've all been there...."

Once I got to my car, and emptied my cart, I looked around for someone to give my cart to so I could at least pay it forward with the already free cart.  The previously busy parking lot was empty.  I locked up my cart and took the quarter, chuckling to myself as I walked back to the car.... "Okay God, that was funny, I see what you did... I wanted to give money away and people ended up blessing me and taking care of me.  You are funny....there's no doubt about that..."

1 comment:

  1. That's so funny! I love those unexpected blessings. Even though it IS a little embarrassing when it's because something thinks you couldn't take care of it yourself. But still so sweet! That would never happen around here.

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