Friday, June 12, 2015


My husband took another loop around the sun. For his birthday, he wanted a little fan to sit beside him on the nightstand. He's a maniac about white noise. Has to have it. His little fan started squealing and he'd been using a giant monstrosity ever since. He tripped over it at night. We ran into it. It worked in a pinch but that was about it.

So he put a fan on his birthday list.

I went to Walmart to obtain this wind machine. I found it on the shelf but couldn't find it anywhere else. I asked an employee if they might have some in the back or if I could possibly buy the display. She disappeared and reappeared a few minutes later. "We don't have any in the back but you can buy this one. Just tell them at the front to give you a discount."

When I checked out, I asked the cashier for a discount. "Hmmm," she said. "I don't know what the discount is. Just a second."

Soon, another employee walked up. The first employee started to ask what the discount would be and the second one cut her off. "We don't sell the display!"

I'd already been told that they did sell the display. I said as much and the woman yanked at her shirt, pulled her little microphone toward her mouth and barked, "Do we sell the display?" Just a moment later she said, "What's the discount?"

She looked at the checker and said, "It's ten percent." This was met by a blank stare.

"How do I figure that out?" she asked. "I don't have a calculator." Now. I GET this. I do. Math and me are not the best of friends. We are not even frienemies. We're just enemies. If she needed to figure out 13% or 36% then, by all means, utilize the calculator. But it was ten percent. The fan was $24.88. Instantly, in my head, I knew that 10% was $2.48 and that my fan should cost me $22.40.

The other employee pulled out a calculator. They stared at each other. "What do I do?" blinked the second woman.

"You divide $24.88 by point ten and then we sell it for that price." Hmmm. No you don't.

The calculator wielding employee punched it in, looked puzzled at the answer and turned it toward the first woman. No, I'm not paying $248 dollars for this fan.

I tried not to sign audibly. And also, I was kind of having fun. "You times the total by .10 and then subtract that number from the total." Or you multiply the total by .90, you can go ahead and take your pick.*

"Oh. Right. It's been so long since I've had to do percentages." But, wait, don't you work in retail?

They fumbled around with the calculator for another minute, at least. Finally, looking perplexed and visibly upset, the first woman looked up at me and asked, "Would you...would it be okay with you...can I give it to you for $20.00 and call it fair?"

Well, we can't call it fair but I'll certainly take it off your hands for 19% off. "Yes, of course. That would be fine."

*In the interest of full disclosure, my husband actually reminded me of that one after the fact.

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