I work in Nova Scotia, Canada at a retail store which doubles as a Government monopoly, and sells a variety of products that have appeal to virutally every demographic group around (save toddlers and Mormons. Ummm I guess Muslims too). The store is the only one of its kind in this small town, which is a lively mishmash of University students, salt-of-the-earth labourers, and white-collar professional types either attached to or supported in some way by said university. So I get to see all types of people on a daily basis, and I've noticed some trends over time in how each type will pay for their goods. *sigh* standard generalization disclaimer applies, etc. etc.

University Student (not broke): Payment by debit; no explanation needed on how to work it, how to swipe, or how to use the chip; electronic payment is second nature. After 8 pm, Thursday-Saturday cash back will also be required.

University Student (broke): 12-pack of beer will be paid for with: The $2.66 remaining on his gift card, ten dollars cash and the remainder on debit split three ways with his friends. One of them will be declined. Total transaction time: approx. twelve minutes.

Woman over 40, 10 am-2 pm: 26oz. of Russian Prince will be paid for with cash. Receipt violently rejected.

Male with clean blue-collar accoutrements (cap, work shirt, etc.) and hands: Twelve-pack of Alexander Keith's totalling $20.99 will be paid with a crisp, fresh hundred dollar bill, chosen out of a thick wad of the same in his wallet.

Male with filthy blue-collar accoutrements (cap, work shirt, etc.) and hands: Twelve-pack of Alexander Keith's totalling $20.99 paid with a grubby twenty and a loonie, and after handing them to me will promptly walk away with his purchase without waiting for change or receipt.

University Professor: Purchase of expensive wine or Scotch whisky paid for with credit card; if credit card has a chip, said professor will require a tutorial in its use, for which he will show his gratitude by scowling at me. If wine, may demand that it's organic; because if not, well, I might as well not even bother.

Anyone over 40 with a chip card (debit or credit): Will immediately swipe despite my instructions to the contrary. Upon receiving error message, will swipe in opposite direction. If using credit, will tell me repeatedly that it is a credit card, not debit, upon being prompted for their PIN. Will immediately remove card after punching in their PIN, thus cancelling the process and having to start over again. Customer will then swipe card.

Underage Customer: Will attempt to pay for a pint of rum with his allowance; upon being prompted for ID, will have left it in the car.

Preparing Beer Can Chicken for Supper That Night: Single can of beer paid for with debit, thereby giving customer ample opportunity to explain that they never drink, don't come here, and wouldn't know lager from a dixie cup of warm coyote urine.

Preparing Twenty-Four Beer Can Chickens for Supper That Night: See above.

Colt 45/Faxe 10 Enthusiasts: One bottle, paid for with loose change. Two or more, coin rolls.

Ontarians: If students, will loudly argue amongst each other who owes who thirty-four cents, and will ask me to deduct it from their 1/4 of debit. If older, will attempt to pay for purchase with LCBO gift card; will ask why not, when refused.

American Students: Will be utterly thrilled that at age 19, are legally purchasing a 12-can pack of Budweiser; will offer to show ID, even if not asked.

Ush Clones: Will attempt to pay for 6-pack of Old Milwaukee tallboys with expired coupon. When informed of this, will loudly denounce the coupon-reimbursement system and demand free beer. Will be escorted from the premises; on his way out, will knock over a tequila shelf, just because.




That gives a pretty accurate breakdown of the people I see on a daily basis. Working in the "beverage enjoyment" industry leaves no shortage of opportunities to reflect upon the human spirit, perform sociological field work, and get drunk on alcohol tasting stations while at work. *smiles* Life is good.

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