A woman came up to the counter, late 20's, dark wavy hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing jeans and a pale peachy colored sweater. She put a Justin Bieber book down on the counter.
"I'd like to return this, please," she said.
"Do you have a receipt?"
"No, I don't have a receipt. It was only about five dollars, though," she said.
"We have to have a way to track the transaction," I said. "To do a return or an exchange we have to either have a receipt or I can search the computer for the transaction if you paid with a credit card or are a member with us."
We tried several credit cards to search for the transaction and it did not come up.
She said, "So if you pay with cash, you're just out of luck?"
"Well, if you pay with cash and keep the receipt, then you're in luck," I said.
She paused for a minute. "Wow," she said. "I'm trying to return this for my daughter." She turned the book over and pointed to writing on the back that said, "Printed in China". "We don't buy products made in China. That's the only reason I wanted to return this. I was going to get a store credit and just get a Justin Bieber magazine for her. She wanted it returned. She's making her social statement here. She's five."
(She's five?) "I can check with a manager, I'm not authorized to do the return without any way to track the transaction." I take the book in the back and ask the manager. She looks up the book, which was just on clearance and is no longer in print. All of our clearance items are gone. "Tell her I can give her a dollar of store credit. With it being clearance and all the clearance gone now, that's all I can do."
With the book in my hand, I tell the mother that I can give her a dollar in store credit. I explain that it was a clearance item and that our clearance items are gone.
Her face falls. "Okay, I'll do that." She pauses. "No, never mind. I can just donate it." She pauses again. "Are there any magazines of just Justin Bieber?"
I take her over to the magazine section. "There used to be a few that were just about him. I haven't seen those for a while. Tiger Beat and Pop Quiz have him on the cover, with all the other teeny-bopper heartthrobs, but there isn't one just of Justin Bieber."
"Oh. Okay. Well, thank you."
I leave her at the magazine rack.
An older woman, late 60's, early 70's, short dark hair, bright red lipstick, comes up to the counter.
"I have two books on hold." She gives her last name. I go get the books, two children's books about dinosaurs by Bernard Most.
As I bring the books back, I notice that there is a line forming behind her. There is one other cashier who is involved in a complicated transaction. I hand the books to the woman.
"Oh, these are just the best," she says, opening one. "I used these when I was teaching, years ago. They are hard to find now." She flips through the pages and reads it to herself. "These are great for teaching. They are fun, and they give information." She keeps looking at the books. Then she looks over her shoulder. "I don't want my husband to see that I'm getting these. I'm not teaching any more, but they would be great for my grandchildren. Should I get just one? Or both? They are so hard to find now!" She pauses. The line gets longer. "I just love this!" She turns the book around so that I can see the pictures. "Isn't this just great?" She reads a page aloud. To me. I smile.
"Would you like to get them both?" I ask.
"Yes. I think I will. I mean why not? I really like them."
I ring up the books and tell her the total.
"What was that again? How much was it?"
I tell her the total again.
"Oh, that's not so bad. I'm so glad to have these! You should really get these for yourself too!"
"Thanks so much," I said. "Have a good day."
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