October 14th, 2007

krazy koati

Instant karma's gonna get you

Sometimes you're just at a point in life where you seem to make cashiers laugh. I do, at least. For example: at a 7-Eleven fairly nearby the office and therefore good for picking up something at the end of the day, there was a small mob of pre-teenage children trying their best to buy some Slurpee-class beverage product. The trouble is they were apparently unaware of what parts of this would get sales tax added. I can't blame them for not knowing, since I don't keep track of just what sales tax applies to, and just trust that the computers in the register will probably get it right. Plus, the difference in a typical 7-Eleven purchase amounts to a couple of pennies and I'm not worried about knowing my wealth down to the penny. I'm satisfied to have it within a couple percentage points.

Anyway, the result was the kids were a couple cents short on what they wanted, and they got into a circle of figuring out what they absolutely had to buy, what they could put back, how much that would put back, and -- this was the real potential time-sucking vortex -- how much each of them had put in and therefore how much they should get back if they didn't buy everything they had planned. I don't blame them being upset; at that age I took every single penny really very seriously, since I didn't have all that many of them.

So I reached in and donated the change, which they didn't notice. The cashier smiled to me, though, and as he started ringing it up the kids figured out what had gone on, and they gave me a couple rounds of thanks. They left, and I put my own stuff -- a Diet Coke and a little sandwich -- and the cashier rung it up. That's when I discovered: ``And now I'm a couple pennies short.'' He burst out laughing (and I started getting out a larger bill since I did have enough cash, just not right for exact-change), and waved it off since I was being such a nice guy. It's rare that I'm able to make so many people happy on just eight cents.

Trivia: Pope Gregory in 1583 issued a bull granting Antonio Lilius, who with (deceased) brother Aloysius Lilius had devised the new leap-year formula for the Gregorian Calendar, a ten-year exclusive license to print calendars with the new formula. (The license was rescinded when Lilius failed to print new calendars fast enough for demand.) Source: The Calendar, David Ewing Duncan.

Currently Reading: King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led The World To War, Catrine Clay.