A fellow film club member’s attempt to get a round in before the film on Thursday, was frustrated by one of those slow methodical barmen. Probably too clever the job, he’s most likely a student or recent graduate. But this led into a short discussion on those modern tills that have each brand’s logo on the screen so that bar staff don’t even have to key the price in. It’s all about deskilling, of course, so you can recruit people on low wages.
This is why it’s becoming ever more common for you to go into a shop; run up a bill of, say £5.15; offer a £10 note; say ‘Do you want the odd 15p?’ and be met with an odd expression. (For stupid readers, the idea is that it’s usually easier all round if you can provide a single £5 note as change.) Often the helpful shopper is not only met with that odd expression that suggests they’re the stupid one, but sometimes a weird excuse like, ‘But I’ve already put it through the till’ or ‘I’m not allowed to give change’. In truth they only trust themselves to provide the exact change the machine tells them. Sometimes, you can catch them before they key £10 as the tendered amount and watch them key in £10.15, in a way that shows they’re most dubious about the whole thing. Look for the expression of wonderment when the till says £5 change. They’re always impressed when a shopper works it out without a calculator.
Anyway. Maybe it’s just as well that we have these idiot proof tills, because without them the numerically challenged would be all but unemployable and we’d have to support them through a lifetime on the dole.