Walmart gets a bad rap sometimes. There are online videos of people shopping in their underwear and curlers. Ripped Spandex and pink hair. Kids whining and generally out of control. I resist going to Walmart because our Super store is too big. I wander around and get lost and forget what I came in for. I always end up buying more than I'd planned. I lose track of time. I have to be wide awake and on a mission.
The other day, however, something very nice happened there.
After standing in line awhile, I paid for my River Rocks, which were about ten bucks. The debit receipt rang up eighty bucks. I looked at the cashier and said, "I thought the River Rocks were only ten dollars. My receipt says eighty."
The cashier looked genuinely confused. The customer behind me spoke to the cashier. "Did you ring up my purchases with hers?"
I addressed him. "Did you buy seventy bucks worth of stuff?"
He nodded. He was tall and wore a Howard University t-shirt. "That sounds about right."
We both looked at the cashier. She said, "I'm sorry. I'm going to have to get a manager. I'll have to void this and then re-ring both of you."
Neither me nor Mr. Howard U. wanted to wait any longer. He pulled his wallet from his pocket and addressed me. "Tell you what. How about I give you seventy dollars. Make it seventy-one for tax, and we call it even." He extended the cash to me.
I was a bit stunned. One, because I didn't think people carried cash anymore. Two, a stranger was giving me money. Stuff like this doesn't happen to me. I spoke to the cashier, "Don't you have to straighten this out in the register?"
She shook her head. "If you two can work it out, it's fine with me."
I thought fast. The guy's money looked legit. I'd just never been offered cash in Walmart before.
I took the money. "OK. Thanks."
He smiled. "No problem." He surveyed the bags for his purchases, pulled a bag of rocks from one of his sacks and handed it to me. "Enjoy your rocks." He hurried out while I stood there, still wondering what just happened.
With all the red tape businesses have to create to solve problems these days, this friendly customer-to-customer transaction seemed almost illegal. But, it was a smart solution to a mistake probably every cashier has made at some point.
We need people like Mr. Howard U. in Washington, don't you think?