Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Digging for Pennies

Because I am low on funds I try to carefully gather the most basic necessities when I go to the store. I keep a running total in my head, and it usually works out fine. I also try very hard to go through the registers with live cashiers. The lanes where you can scan your own items and put the money in the machine are always quicker. But I'm trying to help support the jobs of the few people left employed.

I gave up on that the other day. After waiting in a long line for ten minutes without it moving, I decided to check out my own groceries. I only had about ten items anyway. I rang things through. I pulled out my purse and started feeding cash into the machine. Suddenly I realized that I had a balance of $1.45. I don't have a credit card any more. I didn't have my checkbook with me, I think it has a $5. balance. I looked around to see if there was a familiar face to borrow from. No luck. Just people waiting in line, waiting for me to move on.

I began digging through the bottom of my purse. I kept coming up with pennies. I would plug them in as fast as I found them. The balance slowly moved to $1.05. Then I found a quarter and two nickels! It really doesn't matter, there is still a balance.

I would have been glad to put something back, have it taken off my bill. But there were no store workers in sight. So I kept digging through my purse. I didn't look up at the people behind me. I was too embarrassed. After more pennies, a few dimes another nickel my balance was down to thirty cents. I remembered that there was change in a tray in my car. I tried to imagine how I could go out and get it--still no store workers in site. I started taking everything out of my purse and shaking it. I could feel the impatience of the people in line behind me. The weight shifting, the sighs. My predicament had to be obvious. No one came to my rescue.

Finally, a miracle! Two quarters tumbled out of my Kleenex packet. I quickly fed them in. Now I even had change coming back. I quickly gathered my things and dashed out the door without looking behind me.

I have seen people in similar predicaments, and I've always stepped forward to help. Just placing a quarter down and walking away so as not to embarrass them. From this day forward, I will watch more carefully to seek out anyone in such a situation. Because the little things like that can make such a difference in the long run.

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