The Scene: Target Checkout kiosk

The Player: Incredibly witty and attractive woman of a certain age

The Action: The Incredibly witty and attractive woman is using the kiosk to check out her purchases

  1. Woman approaches kiosk.
  2. She tells the screen that she is using her own bags
  3. She takes the scan gun from its holder
  4. Uses scan gun to scan first item, laundry detergent- hears BEEP
  5. Woman puts detergent in her reusable bag
  6. Uses scan gun to scan T shirt- BEEP
  7. T shirt in bag
  8. Woman continues to use scan gun to scan next five sundry items, and place them in reusable bags that she has brought- BEEP- BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-
  9. Last item in woman’s cart are bananas. Bananas can’t be scanned because they are considered grocery
  10. Woman finds bananas on the screen in front of her. she punches in code and number of bananas-
  11. 4 bananas- BEEP
  12. Woman taps screen to pay.
  13. Total owed flashes up:
  14. AMOUNT OWED: .76
  15. Woman looks aghast at screen- her mouth drops open at the sight of her bill being 76 cents.
  16. Woman scratches her head and then realizes that the only thing she was actually charged for was the bananas
  17. Woman concludes that there is a problem with scan gun
  18. She stares at the screen for a few seconds

The audience sits with bated breath:

Does the woman pay only .76 cents for all her things?

The camera above the kiosk clearly shows her scanning every single item. Will the store even know the items didn’t register?

or

Will our heroine take every item out of the reusable bags and rescan everything, paying the full amount for her items?

If you were writing this play, how would you end it?

94 thoughts on “76 Cents- A Tale in One Act

  1. this is one of those times when there could be multiple endings – depending: on the number of people in line behind the attractive and witty woman; whether she has other appointments to keep; what is her mood like that day? and so on.

    Me? I’d try again, and if it still registered 76 cents… I’d have minor tantrum

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Woman continues to use scan gun to scan next five sundry items, and place them in reusable bags that she has brought- BEEP- BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP”

    I worked in Retail for 16 yrs – if the business wants to entrust their sales to systems, and to their shoppers and if the shoppers – acting in good faith – follow the request of the retail store, the shopper should pay their 76 cents and enjoy her walk home. The shopper has become a defacto employee and should be compensated. Sundry items are acceptable barter currency.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. As a former retail employee, I am opinionated I am also an IT guy and CPA so I feel this should not happen if as a company you are entrusting your sales to shoppers. RFID would be the best solution except for produce of course.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. As a consumer, it’s very frustrating to do everything correctly and have it be wrong…and how many others left without paying that day?

        Liked by 3 people

    1. She talks the goods, that’s how she can afford to be well dressed, 🙂 She takes the goods then feeling good that the universe as given her a gift she gives an homeless man the bus fare to the shelter where he meets a man who gives him a job. He takes the job and uses the money to go to school, he becomes a company owner who helps the elderly. One of which is now the well dressed woman.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, but employee empathy is a real problem. I was at the market closest to my house the other day (for convenience as they are overpriced as well as other things) I stood at the register for five minutes while the two clerks looked at stuff on each other’s phones. We also have a shortage if employees here. Stimulus checks are better than actually working. But that my .76 on that subject…

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      2. I’d take chase cheer as opposed to blatant apathy, which is what we get. My typical experience is that the employee is doing me a huge favor by working

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  3. If I were writing it as a story I’d make it more suspenseful and dramatic than what I’d do in real life. In real life I’d call for assistance immediately because I’d figure the machine would error again. If nobody was around I’d pay for what it said I’d owe and then go to another lane and have an employee check me out with the rest of the items. I would not walk out without paying.
    If this were a story I’d probably add a reason why the protagonist couldn’t stay to ring it up again. I’d have her go over the guilt in her mind and eventually leave the unbought items in the store …. Or…. I’d have her walk out with everything and attempt to leave but then get stopped on her way out and get in trouble! I’d turn it into a moral dilemma story of someone trying to do the right thing but getting screwed over by a machine. (Man vs machine).
    But I personally have had that happen with self service machines not working and I’ve just gone for help. To this day I never scan items myself because of it. Those self service check out stations never work.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As I am an older person who, when self check out kiosks do weird things, will begin talking out loud to the machine as if it can understand me and reply, would have drawn attention to the issue and could not at that point have simply paid the .76 and walked away. I have to learn not to talk to inanimate kiosk machines.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. She pays the small change, goes back to the pharmacy, buys that insulin she needs to enjoy the s’mores she bought for dinner¡
    And this way she is less likely to go into sugar coma, and require transportation to hospital.
    In effect, she is saving the state money¡

    Liked by 1 person

  6. She will re-scan, because of her honesty. If it happens again though she may just pay the bloody 76 cents and go home. Who has time to wrestle with technology? I don’t use self-check outs. For one thing, I am not an employee and I do not want to contribute to people being laid off as machines take over. I know too many people in retail, some are relatives of mine and I know how hard they work and how badly they need their pay.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. It is. I know larger cities in Canada are also experiencing a shortage of workers. So the issue isn’t quite as simple or as black and white as some might think. Yet, if there are people employed I’d rather go to a check out to support their continued employment than use a self check out and potentially risk their job. I know there are times we have no choice in the matter.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. The incredibly witty and attractive lady has to press that call for assistance button, as lol she undoubtedly did!……………………but more’s the point, how was this rather mature lady dressed to make her SO attractive?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Report it to management? If she’s in a hurry, leave the bags and go….? Mmmm, but then she’ll be walking out empty handed. Well, it depends on character and situation + mood?

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  9. Well what if it double charged you for everything? Would you re-scan or go directly to management?
    I am waiting with bated breath to know how it ended up. Maybe the witty lady made a witty comment to management and for her honesty they only charged her the .76 cents or maybe they at least gave her free bananas. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Those annoying self pay kiosks usually say something loudly if there is a problem..if not, I’d have her pay the 76 cents, leave but then have a mental breakdown from the overwhelming guilt of cheating the system.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t use self-scan because of the potential risk of identity theft. Who is watching those machines all the time and those who do bad things know how to compromise the machine working in plain sight. That said, if I was to be that person who was only charged .76, I’d probably start over again. I have noticed that most of our self-serve (the kids use it and I stand by and watch) say NOT to put the things in the bag until AFTER the whole transaction is done. Maybe the machine didn’t really register it beause the item was put in the bag? You can find a story for everything, can’t you?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The woman in question would find some employee who would then rescan all her purchases whilst the woman in question looked on, thereby assuring she paid the correct amount for her purchases. The woman in question is honest, but not going to do that scanning sh!t twice, thank you very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here’s the thing. Right now, we have a worker shortage…some places have reduced hours because they can’t find staff. We also have raised the minimum wage, which is wonderful except most places will find work around. And of course, customer service it’s beyond horrible. As I told Kim I went to my local market and waited while the cashiers looked at each other’s phone. I have a good experience with a cashier so rarely I usually comment to my family about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. The woman has purchased a t-shirt at Target, as did I yesterday. I’m guessing then that she’s a bit like me and would alert an employee to her predicament before scanning the items once again.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ummmmm…..it depends. Is this a love story, thriller, comedy, action adventure…well, context does matter. Hahaha. Okay, I’m guessing the witty and attractive woman rescans all the items and pays the amount owed. And, I would end it this way. Will resonate well with the audience, unless, of course, we’d like to see the woman chased by target security. Lol. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I do not believe in self scanners as it is a way for companies to get away without paying an employee and the benefits that go along with said employee. I would have called someone over for help, letting them know the scanner wasn’t working properly, at least that way the company might be aware that with a less honest person they would lose money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re assuming the worker cares whether or not the company loses money. I worked in retail during high school and college and did it with a great attitude. My mom worked in retail. The people I see today in retail…they aspire to apathy. I actually note good service because I get it so rarely. And this was pre pandemic

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  16. If I were righting this, I’d have her try to pay, but not be able to, so she’d simply take her things and head out the door. At which point she’d be stopped by security and charged with shoplifting (although that rarely happens these days.) But that would set up a conflict that could be the basis for a really good novel, I think!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m sure the incredibly witty and attractive (and well dressed) woman rescanned the items because she was not pressed for time and is an honest soul. If the amount didn’t change, she would now have a moral dilemma on her hands and it turns into a Divine Comedy. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I believe in karma, take it all out and rescan. It’s not worth the $16.36 to have negativity seeking you out as if a heat sinking missile. Although, there might be a one cent sale going on and in that case you might consider adding to your cart! C

    Liked by 1 person

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