Sunday, September 11, 2005


So yesterday I contributed to the dummying up of America...or maybe I'm just the dummy. Let me elaborate;

I went to work at the music store yesterday morning and from the get go, the computer network was down (by the way, I should mention that we still use a DOS based program to do everything). So anyway, we had to use hand written invoices to account for our sales. We had an adding machine to figure tax and adding mulitple item prices. So my first sale of the morning is a $270 layaway. So I hit the adding machine, plug in all the figures and badda-bing, complete the transaction.

So next is a $30-something dollar kick drum head. I do the adding machine thing again and badda-bing. The total was like 42 bucks. HMM that seemed kind of an odd total, so I refigured it on the old adding machine....Same thing came up the second time, so it has to be right...right?

The next customer comes in with his son. You can tell he isn't in the same economic class as the previous drum head customer (I only mention this to illustrate that my customers run the entire spectrum of social and economic range). So anyways he's a working class dad who really wants to enhance his young teen's interests in the drums. So we are talking, and dad tells me his son has an older kit, and the cymbals are really crappy. I show him our Zildjian starter packs. These packs are marked at $350, and I am allowed to take off 20%. Dad still cant afford that. In cases like this, I wish I could give it away. So, dad says maybe Christmas time. I told him to come see me and I'll do better than 20% off then.

So as me and dad are talking, the kid sees our AHEAD drum stick display. Ahead sticks are not wood. They are made of Aluminum with a composite sleeve over the shank of the stick to protect cymbals when you hit them. In my last post, there is a promo shot of Peter Criss holding some. These sticks are rebuildable. The tips and shaft sleeves can unscrew and be replaced. So, they are EXPENSIVE. $33 bucks compared to $8 bucks for wooden sticks. The kid wants a pair. Dad says ok.

Here's where my day went amuck. I begin hitting numbers on the adding machine and try to do a 20% discount. I come up with only 20 cents off the price. Suddenly I realize that the store is crowded and the phone is ringing off the hook. I try to do the discount again on the adding machine...20 cents off again... So I give up on my mathematical error and charge him full price. Now, on top of a crowded store, some kid is banging the hell out of a drum set, and the damn phone wont stop ringing. So I frantically punch in my numbers to complete the transaction for the sticks and a book. The adding machine comes up with $8.25 for sales tax on about 38 dollars worth of merchandise. That seems odd because our sales tax is 8.25%. I do the math again...I get the same figure. So I charge him that amount. He kind of looks uneasy with the final price, so I did it a 3rd time. Same price. Dad and son leave.

I did one more high dollar transaction and come up with $8.25 for tax. This is too coincidental. So after the lady writes her check and leaves, I ask one of the experienced guys to come check my sale. He comes up with 6 dollars and some change less than I do. He checked my drum stick sale and comes up with $4 less.

Come to find out, I was "adding" 8.25% to the sale instead of "multiplying" 8.25%. I had like 4 transactions like that. Here is the kicker. My first sale of the day was right. I don't know how that happened. So I felt like crap because I over charged the drumstick dad. Since computers were down, I cant get in touch with him to make things right. I did call the lady who wrote the check and made things right with her.

I have become so reliant on the computer to tell me what to do. It took several sales to get me to step out of the box and check myself. That aggravates the hell out of me.


Wendy said...

I have done a lot of retail in my day. I can give you a little "trick" I use to figure percents. The drum sticks were $33. If you know what 10% is, you can figure the discount by multiplying by 2. Ex: 10% of 33 is 3.3. multiply times 2=6.6. So, 20% of $33 is $6.60 so just subtract. 33-6.6=26.40 It seems, dumb, but the 10% makes my brain calm instead of having to deal with the whole 20% or 30%, whatever the case may be.

MomThatsNuts said...

ahhh honey! Thats terrible. I would have helped you, but my talents lie in other areas that are NOT math....
Hey do you know where I could get a CD of drum solos? I want the boy to have something to play along to. Thanks~~


Paul (rock star wanna be) said...

There is free video and audio stuff at under the education link.

You might also look at which has free vids and audio of drum solos.

:phil: said...

The fact that you even care that you may have accidentally overcharged them says a lot about you as a person. I'm sure things will turn out ok. I know what you mean about relying on computers too much, one can get spoiled.

jenbeauty said...

You are a sweet guy. Maybe dad and son will come back soon.

trish said...

I suck bad at math...if you overcharged me, id rather pay then try to calculate it myself..

Wendy said...

Paul, where are you? Come back!