Although I've worked retail before, including some very busy department stores, never before have I seen some of the things people do with money as I have since working in a grocery store. So, if anyone out there can enlighten me, please do.
First off, what's with the Ziploc baggies? I mean really. There are wallets, change purses, pockets, bags ... why do so many people use Ziploc baggies? I've rung in the groceries, given the total, and out comes this flimsey little bag (couldn't you at least use the stronger freezer bags?) filled with cash and change... and sometimes I get to see the customer search through a wallet full of credit and debit cards (but no cash) after they discover they don't have enough in the baggie to pay for their groceries. I can sort of understand using an envelope - get a check in the mail, cash it at the bank, put the cash in the same envelope the check came in - but a baggie? I just can't understand it.
Another question. How can some people carry such huge amounts of cash on them comfortably? Like the customers who pull out a thick wad of cash held together with straining elestic bands, then use $100 bills to pay for their $15 transaction. I've had some customers pull one thick wad of cash from one pocket, then a second one, then waffle back and forth between the two before deciding which one to use to pay for their groceries. I remember one customer who went through my express till, where transactions rarely reach as much as $40, pull out one of those bi-fold wallets with two pockets for bills. Out of one pocket, he removed a "fresh" bill from a respectable wad of cash. It was the other pocket that raised my eyebrows. It held a wad of bills at least an inch thick and, by the colour, I could see that over half of that consisted of $100 bills. *Old* bills, at that. The rest appeared to be old $50's. (those of you know know how our Canadian bills have been changing over the years will know what I mean.) The wad was so thick, it didn't completely fit into the pocket, and they had been there so long the corners of the entire stack were worn off, matching the wear and tear of the wallet itself. There had to be at least $2000-$3000 in that one pocket. Now, I'm not entirely comfortable carrying a few hundred dollars, never mind a few thousand! Then there's the thought that someone actually has a few thousand dollars they can just leave in the wallet and ignore long enough for it to show that much wear and tear... must be nice!
Then there's the crumplers. Why, why, why??? My husband is one of these, and he's never been able to give me any real reason as to why he does this. Rather than put the money into their wallet, or even just fold the bill at all, crumplers crumple the bill(s) in their hand before shoving it into their pocket. Then they dig it out to pay me, and I have to try and open these without tearing them, verify how many they actually handed me (I've had people hand me what they thought was a single bill, only to find 1 or 2 more hidden in the crumpled ball when I opened it), then I have to get the bill smooth enough to actually go into my till without catching on the top when I open and close it.
And finally, there are the dedicated non-cash users. I've had people, many of them repeat customers, so I know this isn't an isolated event, use their credit cards to pay for even the tiniest transactions. Seriously, when it costs more to use the card that the bill you're paying, why do it? I've started to wonder if it's somehow a cultural thing, since the customers that do this are overwhelmingly Chinese - but then, that could simply be because we're so close to Chinatown. Can someone enlighten me? Is there a cultural reason for it, or is it just co-incidence?