Winning isn't as easy as you might imagine. Wait. It probably IS as easy as YOU might imagine. Not all that easy. But Val seems to have better-than-average luck with the lottery. Dealing in a high volume of tickets helps, compared to Hick, who only buys a couple tickets every few weeks.
Anyhoo... most days, it's just a matter of cashing in my winners to buy more tickets, which generate a few more winners, and so on. Thursday, I encountered an uncharacteristic roadblock in my scratcher journey. I had three tickets to cash in. Below is a picture of the KIND of tickets, although these are losers.
I had a big blue $25 winner, a little red $3 winner, and a $2 Cash4Life draw ticket that The Pony plays. I stopped at the School-Turn Casey's, and went to the first register available. The girl took my tickets, and shuffled them like they were radioactive. She was young, with red hair that while not little red wagon red, was a color not quite found in nature.
"Oh. Wow. Lottery. I'm not sure what to do about lottery."
She darted her eyes furtively, to the girl cashiering at the next register, and out into the store.
"Do I need to go to the other line?"
"Yeah. That would probably be best."
Yet she held onto my tickets. I was not averse to moving over one register. That customer was finishing up a purchase. Nobody else in line. Just waiting to be handed my winners back.
"Rick. Um. Can you help me with lottery?"
A young man in a Casey's shirt came from the aisles to join her behind the counter. He was about her age, early 20s, and polite and protective.
"Don't get all freaked out. Here. This is how you do it."
Rick took my tickets out of Red's shuffling hands, and waved them under the scanner, and took the printed orange paper receipt it spit out. This is what they put in the register as the payment for winners, or cash back. While he was doing that, RED DISAPPEARED! She walked off, leaving Rick to finish waiting on me. Rick set the receipts aside, and tore off the new scratchers that I requested. He rung them up, scanned the orange paper receipts, and said,
"That will be $2."
"No. It should be even. I turned in $30 of winners, and I'm buying $30 of new tickets. Let's take a look."
I took the stack of tickets he gave me, and named them one-by-one as I set them aside.
"I have a $10 ticket. A $5 ticket. And these five $3 tickets. That adds up to $30."
Rick looked baffled, looked at his orange paper receipts, and at the winners he'd scanned. I took them and did the same count-out.
"This big blue one was a $25 winner. This little red one was a $3. And the draw ticket was a $2 winner, wherever it is. That's $30. We should be even."
Rick said, "Draw ticket? I don't have a draw ticket. Just these two. $28."
"Did you throw it away? You'll know it's mine, because it has writing on it. On the top. A number 2. It's a $2 winner."
Rick looked all around the register, and the side counter. Then found a draw ticket laying atop their lottery terminal that spits out the draw tickets as people buy them.
"There's this one."
"That's it. See the 2 written on top? It's a $2 winner."
"This one has an L written on top. For LOSER."
WHAT IN THE NOT-HEAVEN? What kind of idiot writes an L for LOSER on top of a ticket, then turns it in? I can't believe Rick was flat-out denying the existence of my $2 winner!
"Well, my son wrote it on there, and he's kind of sloppy. Could you scan that ticket, please?"
Rick scanned the draw ticket. Ta, da-DAAAA! The machine made the winner sound, which it does for draw tickets, I imagine as a safety feature so people cashing them in don't get ripped off by cashiers trying to scam a big winner for themselves. Rick printed an orange paper receipt for my $2, and rang it up, and pushed my newly-bought tickets across the counter to me.
"There. We're even." Rick said, with his mouth set in a not-very-pleased line. "You have a good afternoon."
"Thank you. You too."
Here's the deal. Rick walked into that predicament by trying to help Red. I'm sure that ticket got set aside in the juggling of my winners during the handover. Rick was probably most upset with Red for abandoning him when he came to show her what to do.
This was at 1:45 in the afternoon. Even if Red was brand-new, odds are that she had been working A MINIMUM OF 45 MINUTES, if her shift started at 1:00. Surely somebody would have trained her on how to perform the basic cashier transactions. Or maybe they DID, and she walked away during the lesson, like she did this time.
Is it wrong of me to expect more competency from a $10.30 per hour worker?