Posted by: raesalley | October 27, 2005

it’s not a “1” it’s a “0” you nutter!

okay, a little tip for those of you looking to pick up a bit of extra cash. If you can’t read the number someone wrote on the check, ask them. Or better yet, consult the line where the individual has to write out the number long-hand. Either is acceptable. What isn’t acceptable is putting the information into the cash register, realizing that you put it in wrong when you go to get the change (because they overwrote the check after asking if it was okay) and then scolding them for being unclear with their writing.

For the record, I learned drafting in 7th grade. That is where I learned a “European” style of writing the letter “z” and the numbers 7 & 0. All involve adding a cross at some point. For my 0 they look a lot like the null symbol (which, coincidentally also is equal to nothing) – especially when I’m getting tired or sloppy. The sevens are always crossed, and for some reason, I only cross the “Z” when it’s a capital. It’s even crossed in my signature (the “S” crosses it – it looks pretty cool). Now…since I started doing this in 7th grade, that would put me at….12/13ish? fourteen years. It’s been a while. And now hanging out with all kinds of drafting types for theater, they respect it and LIKE it. And my darling D loves it because he does it as well (as someone with a degree in industrial design or some such thing).

Now let me draw you a picture – the grocery store, with a woman who’s already looking like she’s a bit behind and the computer is beeping at her because the coupon machine is out of tape. Then it’s beeping because she fed it wrong. D & I are in line, patiently waiting and arguing over a picture on the cover of Time magazine (I say it’s St Helen’s blowing her top, he claims Hiroshima). Finally, we’re up and she starts taking our stuff. She can’t find the UPC for the pizza (because it’s facing the scanner already and not her) and we slowly work our way through the groceries. I get a total of $64.03 (Sixty four & 3/100 dollars on the line) after I add my $5 so I can pay off my late fees at the library. We’re writing a check because D gets paid Thursday and it’s Wednesday night. It’s the only time we can go grocery shopping between Wednesday & Saturday. Otherwise, I would have waited and used the damn card. Less human error.

The woman asks for my driver’s license, which I show her after telling her the number is already written on the checks. I give her my phone number without hint of accent. She punches a few buttons, sends the check through the verifier thingy and then the drawer opens. The receipt tells her to give me $5.10. She looks at the receipt and realizes that I wrote the check wrong ($64.13) and shows me this, until I tell her that no…she just inputted it wrong. I wrote the check for $64.03, not $64.13 and would she please just hand me $5. She does, and then shows me the check with the proud line through the zero. I explain the whole “no that’s a zero – just like in drafting”

Cashier: Well, it looks like a one, not a zero
me: I can see how you might think that, but the line also says 3/100ths, not 13/100ths. And I said I was overwriting it for $5, not $5.10.
C: Well, what do you want me to do?
M: Not worry about it – the drawer will be right because it thinks that the check is for ten cents more than it actually is and you are keeping a dime it thinks you’re giving me.
C: But the drawer slip will be wrong
M: So?
C: *sputter* I taught math for twenty years and I’ve never seen…
M: I work with drafters. I learned to write numbers in drafting. That’s how it’s done. I’ve been doing this for fifteen years or so and never had a problem.
C: But it’s wrong.
M: No, it isn’t. You just don’t know better.
C: Silence.

And we leave. I’m just annoyed because I was right and I got attitude because she couldn’t read. What was fun is D interjected a few times to back me up, since that’s how HE was taught as well.

I think I need a new grocery store. Between that woman and the chickie who refused (!) to take my check because it was an out-of-state address (despite the fact that the check was from a local bank – it was before I had a permanent address and I had been doing it for almost a year at that point) I…I gah!


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