Balancing The Books

So I did the most incredibly dumb thing last week, and you’re the only one I’ve told, because it’s so embarrassing, so don’t say anything to anyone, okay?

A couple of Sundays ago, I was in a hardware store in the next town to buy some white spray paint and other odds and ends. I’d recently purchased this very cool antique wicker chair and side table, but they needed freshening up, and just like I prefer hem tape to actual sewing, I also will spray paint literally anything if it means avoiding using a paint brush. I got up to the checkout and paid for everything, then went home, but when I took my purchases out of the bag and saw the receipt, I realized that it said 2@$9.99 instead of 3. I felt a little guilty that I’d gotten a free can of spray paint, but whatevs, am I right?

But then, after the incident at the fabric store last week where I got away scot-free with the right sized foam cushion in direct defiance of the “No Foam Exchange” policy, I started to worry about the can of spray paint and maybe that I should go back to the hardware store and pay for it. And no, this wasn’t me trying to be morally superior—this was me believing very strongly that by circumventing the laws of economics and physics (you may be wondering why I said ‘physics’—here is the explanation: up until the moment that I looked at the receipt, I had a can of Schrodinger’s spray paint, in that I had simultaneously paid and not paid for it. I would have made a great physicist because I’m very good at explaining made-up sh*t.) and it occurred to me that I had just double-dipped into karma and maybe it would come back to haunt me in an unpleasant and costly way.

Anyway, I happened to be going by the hardware store in question the other day, so I decided to stop and pay for the spray paint:

Me: Hi there. A couple of weeks ago, I bought three cans of spray paint here, but I was only charged for two. I’d like to pay for the third one now.
Sales Clerk: That’s fine. Just take the third one.
Me: No, no—I GOT three but you only charged me for two. Is there a way I can pay for the third one that I DIDN’T pay for?
Sales Clerk: Take it up to the front. I’ll explain it to the cashier and she can figure it out.

Since I didn’t have the can with me, I went to the spray paint aisle but they were sold out of white so I took a can of black spray paint to the front:

Me: Hi there. A couple of weeks ago, I bought three cans of spray paint here, but I was only charged for two. I’d like to pay for the third one now.
Cashier (whispers): It’s okay, hun. You can just take it.
Me: NO, I want to pay for it. But it’s not the right colour—will that affect your inventory?
Cashier: What?
Me: I don’t have the receipt, sorry—is there another way you can get the right code?
Me: I don’t want THIS spray paint. I just want to pay for the one I got that you didn’t charge me for two weeks ago.
Cashier: Oh! Seriously? If it was me, I would have just kept it. No problem, here, just give it to me.
Me: But this isn’t the can I got! The one I got was white! Can I just give you the money for it?!
Cashier: Sigh. Give me a minute. I can grab the bar code off the shelf. (Leaves then comes back with tag.) OK, with tax, that comes to $11.29. Do you want a bag for the spray paint?
Me: This isn’t my spray paint.
Cashier (confused): Okay, have a nice day.

So I was finally able to restore balance in the universe, even though it was in an absurdly random, Monty Python-esque way. Or so I thought. Because two days ago, I was tidying up and saw a receipt sticking out of a bowl on one of the kitchen shelves—it was the original receipt for the spray paint. And it said 2@$9.99, just as I remembered. And further down, after the cleaning supplies and the belt I’d bought as a gift for Ken, there was a third charge. For $9.99. For the third can of spray paint. Which I had just paid for AGAIN. So now the universe owes me.

And on a lighter note:

This Facebook ad made me remember a recent conversation with Ken:

Ken: Hey, can you pass me one of those…those…tooth knives?
Me: You mean a ‘serrated knife’, such as one might use for steak?
Ken: Yeah, one of those.
Me: Okay, but you realize now that you can no longer make fun of me for referring to the hedge trimmer as ‘shrubbery scissors’, right?
Ken: Fair enough.