Image source: Twin Reality
Today at work, I made my first mistake on the till.
A woman was placing her order for lunch, and I couldn't remember whether or not I had already charged her for a latté in amongst the other items. I shrugged and hoped I hadn't while pressing the latté button.
Our till is an old fashioned model and unfortunately hard to check up on. A small receipt prints out each time, but the words are still nestled inside the machine until the next person comes along and orders... then the previous order gets pushed up and becomes part of this huge long line of paper that we let snake its way down to the floor.
When the next person stepped forward and ordered, I saw the previous lady's order come up - 'latte, curry, toastie, latte'. Damn. I finished the current order and pondered what to do.
You see, I knew it was only $3.80, and not a huge deal.
But I wanted to fix it. Preferably without telling anybody else so they wouldn't know I stuffed up. The woman had told me she was planning to come up and order dessert later on, so I grabbed a copy of the handwritten [yes, we do that too :P] order for her table and stashed it in my apron pocket.
While waiting, I worried about the possibility of the woman deciding to skip dessert and go home. Then I worried about her coming up to the counter and watching me stumble my way through some dramatic refund process on the till. I had no clue how to even start with that.
Eventually I said to myself, 'You know what? Who cares what I have to do - these people will appreciate not being ripped off, and my managers would prefer to have happy, trusting customers.' I swallowed my pride and approached Sarah for advice.
It turned out being really easy. Sarah suggested I grab the lady and she'd show me how to do a refund on the till, but I had another plan in my head which involved doing some deductions when the dessert order was placed.
The woman's husband actually came to order, and when I explained that I'd accidently overcharged his wife and wanted to make up for it, he was stunned.
"Oh, no, that's no problem at all - thank you for telling me!," he said
"That's okay, I had to fix my mistake!" I replied.
I just left the pot of tea he'd ordered for dessert off the bill, and it was all sorted.
He went on to say that I could've easily kept it to myself but it was really honest to own up over such a little amount.
And I heard it two more times after that, even when the family got up to leave twenty minutes later and I was clearing their plates.
"Thanks for coming in!" I called after them.
"Thank you again for telling the truth about the change," the guy smiled back.
And I felt happy that I hadn't put my desire to seem like the greatest worker at this workplace in front of my morals that had been with me for a lifetime.