I dropped by the convenience store the other day to pick up a few things on my way home. There was a polite young lady at the counter. She smiled and said hello when I came in. Friendly enough I thought. After a few moments to locate what I wanted, I headed to the counter to check out. I laid my items down, and she typed the information into the cash register.
My bill was $15.21. I gave her a $20.00 and .21 cents in change. She rang everything up and handed me back a five-dollar bill and 79 cents. I said are you sure that’s right? She said that’s what the computer is telling me.
Really, Kids Can’t Count Change
So, I thought for a second, here we go again. Take a deep breath FJ. I’ve been here before with a counter person who doesn’t know how to count change back. I asked her, “Does it make sense that I bought items totaling $15.21 and you gave me more money back than I should have received?”
She then went on to complain that the computer has been acting funny and she’ll tell her manager. When I asked if her manager was on her about the cash drawer being off at the end of the day, she said yes, and she doesn’t know why. She does what the computer tells her. He is always on her, and it was getting frustrating because he is picking on her.
Life Skills Are Essential Tools of Life
There are essential life skills that every young person needs to know. Is counting change one of them? Ok, some of you may be saying, FJ, get off the little stuff. I challenge this on several fronts. What happened to learning the basics in school? Did she miss this class? Was she a causality of a teacher who didn’t care about students? Did education laws come into play here? What did her parents teach her?
Sure, she didn’t enter the correct amount of money I gave her. I get that. But it’s a broader issue. If a young person doesn’t understand the basic concepts of counting change back, then they may also think that using a credit card every month and not paying it off is ok. In recent years the volume of bankruptcies from credit card abuse has been at an all time high. The amount of these from people whose age is below 30 is staggering. Staggering! Ok, coincidence you say. I say not.
Basic financial literacy is key to basic money management, like managing a checkbook or debit cards.
Are we turning a blind eye to what has become a larger epidemic of the lack of basic life skills in our young people?
I asked my wife to read this article before I posted it. What you are reading is the severely edited version. She said my rant was too strong to publicize and for her that says a lot. Go figure.