Back in Toronto, Katr and I lived dangerously near a 7-11. I'm not going to lie to you - I spent a lot of time at that same 7-11, rocketing towards adult onset diabetes with my frequent Slurpee consumption.
One time, I paid for a Slurpee with a $10 bill and the clerk, who was new and nervous, gave me change for a $20. I was all "Oops! Only gave you a $10!" and handed the extra money back.
It was like I had handed her the fucking Hope Diamond. This woman LOST IT - she COULDN'T BELIEVE I had given her the extra change back. She was practically in tears, falling all over herself to thank me for not just taking off with the spoils of her innocent mistake. She came out from behind the counter to HUG me. And every time I went in there after that, she would remind me that she remembered that I had given that money back and she would tell the story to anyone else who was there.
It was pretty hilarious how smug I felt, considering I was essentially being congratulated for not being a selfish, possibly criminal, douche for 5 whole seconds of my life.
Was the clerk's reaction ridiculously over the top? Sure. But I have to say that my experience with the 7-11 clerk has certainly encouraged me to continue my honest ways in retail situations.
So last week I was shopping in another convenience store with another new, nervous but friendly clerk. I bought some snacks, a magazine and a book and the total only came to $16, which seemed kind of low. I checked my receipt on the way out and sure enough, she hadn't charged me for the book.
I hesitated. I like free books. But I remembered how good it felt to be honest and also thought that it would be nice to help out this young person who was clearly new to the workforce and also, I'd forgotten to buy gum.
So I headed back into the store and said "Hey there! You forgot to charge me for this book!" and waited for the adulation to pour down upon me.
When no adulation was forthcoming, I downgraded my expectations to a "thank you!" from the clerk. I didn't get that either. But I did get "Oh. Okay. Here."
She acted like I was kind of bugging her by coming back.To PAY FOR MY BOOK. Like she was doing me this big favour by charging me for the book I could have had for free. No "thank you" - no "sorry" even.
I came away kind of confused. Going in, I thought I was adding a few more karma points to my coffer. On the way out, I thought maybe I was paying OUT karma points. Like I OWED the universe $19.99 and I'd finally cleared my debt. Or maybe it was just the universe balancing things out after the 7-11 clerk treated me like I was Warren Buffet for six whole months. I ... don't know how these things work. What do you guys think?
The book I bought - The Quality of Mercy by Faye Kellerman (which is kind of Alanis Morissette ironic, really) - is pretty good so far, by the way. Certainly worth paying for - although the author seems to have a personal hate-on for fat people which is perhaps striking only to me, a person who is fat.
The book is just filled with descriptions of fat, nasty, stinky, fat villains who are nasty, stinky, fat, disgusting, evil, greasy, saggy, stinky, constantly eating like pigs, taking big dumps, fat fat fatty fat fat. I was like "Lady, I get it. They're fat. Move on." But otherwise, pretty interesting stuff.