So I'm in the grocery store, buying a few things, and decide to use the self-serve lane for a change. I realize I have just $15.25 in cash. So I start scanning things... careful not to go over. Then I go over.
An employee walks by and I tell the lady, a middle-aged black lady, that I need to take the last thing off (rubbing alcohol) because I don't have enough money. Now this wasn't the last of my items. There was a whole half hand-basket left behind: fresca, onions, pita bread. Meanwhile the "essentials" I could afford included pretzels, ketchup, vaseline, and beer. The lady says, "Be sure to take your receipt. I'll tell you why."
I finishing paying the machine. I realize I can't even do basic math right because I still have $2 left. The machine spits out a receipt. The lady takes my receipt, and writes a lot on it. She tells me to go up to the front desk. I tell her I will, thanks her, and apologize for my groceries left behind. She assures me it's no problem.
On the receipt, carefully written and circled, is the fact that I bought a four-pack of beer and the machine charged me bottle deposit on a six pack.
I was owned 10 cents.
So I went to the front desk, handed over my receipt, and was greeted with a puzzled glance. I explained I only bought a four-pack of beer and was charged deposit on a six-pack. I had a dime coming my way. But I got my dime. I would have been rude not to after all the lady had noted on my receipt.
If I only cared about a dime! But I thought of Barbara Ehrenreich and Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. And I was very thankful to have a good job, and a wallet filled with cash left behind at home.