Near the end of my shift, when all was quiet, Oliver informed me that he had to run down the road to pick up some milk. He said it would take about ten minutes. No big deal, it was quiet.
I continued to doing closing cleaning when Resident Crazy walked in. She puttered around for a couple of minutes, and then picked out a Diet Pepsi. Handing it to me, she announced “I’m getting this for my boyfriend.” and then she passed me a pile of change. “Can you count this for me? Sometimes I have too much and sometimes I don’t have enough!”
I prayed she had enough, but looking down at the pile of change, I could immediately tell she would be short. There were only two quarters, and the rest was dimes and nickels. Still, I counted it out for her, and then said “Sorry, Resident Crazy, you only have a dollar ten. You need a dollar fifty.”
She looked at me, confused. “I don’t have enough?”
I expect her to get mad, but surprisingly she asks for her money back. I pass it to her, thinking that disaster has been averted, but I was hopeful too soon.
“When are you guys going to lower the prices?” She says, annoyed.
Now, in this situation, I will do anything to keep her from freaking out, so I try to stay calm, and explain to her that the prices won’t go down, but they might go up. I continue by trying to explain to her how prices work, that the pop is sold to Oliver, and then Oliver charges more to sell it to her. This is an inevitably doomed explanation that’s going right over her head, but I’m stalling and hoping that Oliver will appear.
“How do you know?” She asks. “Do you work here?” facepalm No, I don’t work here, I’m just standing behind this cash register for shits and giggles.
“Yeah, I work here,” I say. “Why don’t you try the pharmacy at the front of the building. They’re probably cheaper.” This is completely true. They’re a chain, so they can afford lower prices.
She looks confused, and then bursts out, “I was going to pay you the ten cents tomorrow, y’know!”
This is actually a thing that Olivermight allow, so I say “Actually, you owe us 40 cents. Can you pay 40 cents tomorrow?”
She looks even more confused. “I don’t know! My counselor, Belle, is on vacation, and I don’t when I’ll get money!
Ohhh-kay. So you just said you were going to pay us tomorrow, and now you don’t know if you can? This is officially out of my league. So, still trying to make sure she’s happy, I say, “Oliver said he’d be back soon. Do you want to wait and talk to him?”
Resident Crazy: Ok.
I even offer her some water while she waits, but she turns me down. So I go back to cleaning. Finally, after 10 minutes, Oliver shows up. I quietly explain the situation to him, and expect him to go over and talk to her, but he just shakes his head and mutters something about letting her sit. So I just keep washing dishes. I’m directly within Resident Crazy’s eyeline, so I can see her sitting there.
Then, I go over to clean the microwave. Suddenly, I’m completely out of Resident Crazy’s view. She takes this opportunity to leap up and loudly rant to Oliver.
The first words out of her mouth: “Oliver, my counselor Belle is really mad because you and Anna keep ripping me off.” I’m kind of shocked. Resident Crazy has accused Oliver of ripping her off before, but she’s never dragged me into it. But whatever. I keep wiping the microwave.
Oliver: “What? Why is she mad?”
Resident Crazy: “Because Anna keeps ripping me off (oh, so now it’s JUST me) and she’s really pissed about it!”
Oliver: “Ok, Resident Crazy. How is she ripping you off?”
Resident Crazy: “You shouldn’t let Anna rip me off like that!”
Oliver: How is Anna ripping you off?
Resident Crazy: I just told you!
Oliver: No, not really.
Resident Crazy: Well, I asked Anna how much a can of Diet Pepsi is to buy for my boyfriend. And she said a dollar fifty. But all I have is a dollar ten. And she wouldn’t let me pay for it!
By this point, she’s yelling, but Oliver really doesn’t care.
Oliver: Resident Crazy, a can of Pepsi is a dollar fifty.
Resident Crazy: I don’t have that. Can I pay when I get my paycheque?
Oliver: No. Go to the pharmacy. They have pop for 99 cents.
Resident Crazy: Really?
And that was it. Suddenly she was placated. She said sorry to Oliver. Then, as he went behind the cooler to fill the drinks, she said sorry to me. I said “OK”. She said, “I didn’t mean to yell about you.” Me: “I believe you.”
Then Oliver’s voice floated up from behind the cooler “No, you don’t.” He was right, of course.
The final kicker is this: Resident Crazy didn’t go to the pharmacy and buy her boyfriend a pop. She wandered around the café and asked Oliver how much a bag of chips was. It was a dollar ten. He pointed out which ones were her boyfriend’s favourites, and she bought them. And then she ate them. I guess her boyfriend doesn’t get anything.