“The best of us must sometimes eat our words.”
― J.K. Rowling
It all started after a morning of errands with my husband. We had dropped of books and movies at the library, took a new route to Tractor Supply, and then headed to Woodman’s for groceries.
Later that night, as I was lying in bed, I had an unsettling thought. I had intended to get cash back at all of the stores we shopped at. My husband had an upcoming trip to Germany, and I was being Ms. Frugal, avoiding cash machine fees. Where had I gotten cash back? I popped out of bed, looked in my wallet, and found $40.00. Huh. I thought I had gotten cash at two places. I should have $80.00.
I looked at my receipts, and saw the $40.00 cash-back entry on the Tractor Supply receipt. My immediate conclusion was that Tractor Supply had not given me my money. It made complete sense to me in my sleep deprived (and hormonally sopped) state. And to answer your question now… NO, I did not look for the second receipt that I most definitely should have been looking for. I was a lady on a mission.
Early the next morning, I was on my 40 minute quest to Tractor Supply, armed with my receipt and my conviction. I walked into the store to find the young woman who had checked me out the previous day. As I asked to see the manager, I eyed her and chewed over if she had pocketed my money; maybe X-Men and no expense spared at the concessions?
The manager smiled as she walked up to the register. “How can I help you?”. I slowly pulled the receipt out of my purse and pointed at the evidence. She mumbled untruths about last nights reconciled accounts, and there was talk of “going to the back room” to check the books again. I was not backing down. No gift certificates or in store credit either. I wanted cash.
She continued to be disagreeable as she walked towards the registers. She opened the till, counted the money, and handed me the $40.00. My mission was accomplished.
That night, around the same time I had the original cash-back thought, I had a much, much more terrifying thought that I proclaimed to all who laid near me: Dear God, there was no second cash-back! We had gone through the self-serve line at Woodman’s and were unable to receive cash. Somehow (please don’t judge me) I had completely blanked that out. My daughters both stared at me with empty expressions, until a smile crept across my older daughters face. Her timing was magnificent…”You robbed Tractor Supply. Oh my God. You really robbed Tractor Supply. You just walked in, demanded money, and they gave it to you!!!”.
And that my friends, is how I came to be known as the Cash-Back Bandit; armed only with my false creed and a crumpled receipt.
Epilogue: The following day, I left early to return to the scene of the crime, with an apology note, $40.00 in hand and some humble pie on my breath. I did not end up doing any hard time, yet I am living with the whispers.
What have I learned?
1) We are not always right! Can you believe it?
2) Think the best of people.
3) Take time to laugh at our mistakes.
4) Forgive and be forgiven.
5) Take the time to really listen to others. They might have something important to say.
6) Take time to process your thoughts. The need to act quickly may be a red flag.
7) Tell your stories, so others can learn from your successes and mistakes.