Thursday, 10 January 2008

Strange Little Incident

I'm fairly well-known for being constitutionally unable to add up and subtract.

This, I believe, is not uncommon in people with good maths skills -I think it may have to do with our lofty disdain for arithmetic.

When I say well known I'm of course referring to my habit of always making sure that a cashier knows that I'm spectacularly bad at arithmetic by telling her so.

This is probably to disguise my intense slowness in finding change for them.

One young lady who works at the Europa shop and restaurant downstairs from where I work is fairly typical - friendly, personable and quick with the cash register. She remembers what cigarettes I smoke and always greets me in the street.

So today when she rang up R15 worth of purchases for me and I paid with a R100 note, then offered a R5 coin to make it easier on her, she either forgot her lightning arithmetic or took it for granted that I couldn't keep up with her.

"I'll give you R80" she said, fishing in the till.

I opened my mouth to say "No- R90", then closed it again.

I smiled at her. "I'm really very bad at arithmetic" I said as I took the incorrect change and my purchases and left the shop.

I've always contested wrong change in the past. Today I just didn't go there.

If she made an honest mistake - it's no skin off my nose and I'd not feel good about getting her into trouble with her manager.

If she pulled a fast one - well, it probably makes her feel somehow better than me, which is still no skin off my nose as the person has not been born who can get me to go back to having an inferiority complex.

And on the note of Inferiority Complexes, let's see how South Africans would vote if the major candidates in the US elections were put in front of us, eh?

According to an online poll (no, I can't link to it-sorry, I tried), over 50% would favour Hillary Clinton, with just over a third going for Obama and the rest split between Mcain over (slightly more than) Romney.


I think , despite our red-into-pale-blue patriarchal citizens down here, we trust women slightly more than Americans do.

Who would you vote for?

Hillary Clinton 4110 52%

Barack Obama 2893 36%

John McCain 810 10%

Mitt Romney 154 2%