With summer’s end, come the merchandise sales at the lake. Over the weekend I purchased a ball cap that I had my eye on for some time. That morning the $19.95 hat was in a large bin of hats offered for $5.00. As the young woman at the counter is checking us out she tells my wife Sue, “That will be $8.33.” Sue says, “That seems kind of high”, to which the sales clerk replies, “Well there’s sales tax”.
Mildly amused up to this point, I jump into the conversation. “ Do you agree the hat is five dollars?” “Yes”, she replies. “Is the Idaho sales tax rate still 6%?” Again, “Yes.” “Well then, the tax would be thirty cents and the total is $5.30.” At this point she presents us with a printed receipt and says, “But it says $8.33!” I offer, “Maybe if you tell it that the hat is $5.00 it will print the correct receipt.” She says, “Okay, I can override the price”. Me, “Really, they let you do that?” Oh my.
Many school districts around our country are discontinuing the practice of teaching cursive writing. Some have discontinued having children learn the multiplication tables. Personally, I don’t have much use for cursive skills but I do recognize that being able to read cursive, at a minimum, is a worthy skill to hold particularly if you try to research old documents that were written in that style. Being able to do simple math in your head is a very valuable skill, especially if you find yourself on the opposite side of the sales counter from someone like me.
Upon reflection, I should have told her the price was $1.00. After all, she had the power to override! But that would have been dishonest and out of character for me.