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lisa was one of our two night cashiers. ever since greg died, we've been having trouble keeping that position filled. they stepped kiera up to 5 nights a week, but they can't get anybody to work those other 2. sometimes, i do it. marie, rashid, and amit take turns, too. they keep hiring people, but nobody sticks around for more than a week or two. lisa, it seemed, had made it past that stage. she had been working as a night cashier two nights a week for over a month. she had never called off, and she was always on time or early. everybody was congratulating jacqui for picking out such a good worker, and marie, amit, rashid, and i were mighty glad, too.

then, about a week ago, i was workng my early shift in the office. some lady called the store and explained that the previous night, she had left her credit/debit card in the atm. she wanted to know if anybody had turned it in. i dug through the pile of cards, and informed her that yes, we had it. she could come in any time before 9 this evening and pick it up. before i could hang up, she said, 'but wait. there's one other thing. i have online banking with that account, and i looked it up, and one purchase was made that night. is your store number xxx?'
i told her it was, and she said, 'then yeah, somebody made a purchase at your store with my card. that's the only transaction that's gone through so far, that i didn't make...'
i know we can look up purchases, given the date and the amount, so i ask her for the amount. she says, '$4.22'
i'm a little skeptical. somebody stole her credit card, charged $4.22, and then turned it in? i ask, 'you didn't buy any cigarettes?' (a pack of premium cigarettes is $4.22 with tax)
the lady replies, 'what!? i didn't buy anything, just used the atm... why would i buy cigarettes?'
i don't want to sound like i'm calling her a liar, or stupid, so i just mumble something like, 'uhhh... if you bought cigarettes, maybe somebody could have... ummmm... well, i don't know...'
she says, 'no, i don't smoke. so what should i do about this?'
i tell her to hang on, and i get kelly, because i don't know how to look up the transaction. neither does kelly, so we call jane down. when we explain the situation to her, she remarks, 'right... the lady probably just bought a pack of cigarettes, and forgot about it.'
'she doesn't smoke,' i tell her.
so she shows us how to look up the transaction and pull up the batch number. i dig through the dates, until i find the right one, and then i sort through the batches, and then i go through the receipts in that batch until i find one for $4.22. the purchase was made at 1:30 in the morning, and the credit slip wasn't signed.
occasionally, one of the self-check slips will wind up unsigned. with 4 stations, it happens. a customer from one station will slip by while the cashier's helping somebody at another station. but on a regular register, there is no reason to have an unsigned credit slip. all the cashiers know enough to get the customer's signature...
i look at the cashier number on the slip. i remark, 'it wasn't kiera.'
jane looks, and says, 'it wasn't lisa, either.'
i do a double-take, and then realize that she's right. the numbers belong to sam (the boy)... but he's a minor. he's not even allowed to be working at 1:30 a.m.
now we're a little confused. we know that it had to be lisa or kiera. they're the only ones who are here at 1:30 in the morning. one of them must have signed on the extra till, just to ring up this transaction. we look it up on the schedule, and lisa was working that night.
i ask, 'so lisa decided to buy herself a pack of cigarettes?'
jane and kelly both glare at me, and i quickly say, 'i mean, i'm not accusing or anything... but i don't understand how the card could wind up here, in the office, if it hadn't been her. at 1:30 a.m., if you found a lost credit card, you could ONLY turn that card in to lisa. there's nobody else around. at 1:30 a.m., if you want to buy a pack of cigarettes, you can ONLY buy them in lisa's line. again, there's nobody else around. so you buy a pack of cigarettes from lisa, use this credit card, and then hand it to her, saying, this is a lost card? it doesn't make any sense...'
there's silence, while we all consider this, and then kelly comes up with a what-if. 'what if the customer charged it, but got flustered when lisa asked him to sign, panicked, and left without the card?'
'sure, but that still doesn't explain what lisa was doing on sam's till,' i say.
'maybe it was busy, and she called evan up to run register,' jane says.
in a perfect world, that's how it would work, if we got busy at night. that's why they trained evan on register, and it's why they leave that extra till out. but in real life, evan refuses to run register, no matter how busy it is. if it gets busy, and i call evan, tyrone (or sometimes chuck) will feel bad for me, and help me out by bagging... but nobody ever touches that second till. i try to explain that to jane, but she thinks i'm exaggerating, and insists that maybe this time, evan decided to run register.
she goes over to the other computer and, using the cashier number and the timestamp, pulls up the details on that transaction. the purchase: a pack of newports.
'that's what lisa smokes...' jane says, slowly.
i hate to say i told you so, so i keep my mouth shut.
'see what lisa was doing at that time,' i suggest.
jane looks for the same time, with lisa's numbers... and the closest matches are 1:12 a.m. and 1:43 a.m. it wasn't busy at 1:30. in fact, when she rang up that pack of cigarettes, it's probably safe to say that nobody else was around...
by now, the lady has hung up. when she comes in a few hours later, to pick up her card, we refund her the $4.22 and apologize for the inconvenience, and we say nothing else about it.

but i come in today, and discover that lisa got fired. evidently, they asked her some real open questions, hoping to get her to admit to charging the cigarettes with a card that didn't belong to her... and instead, she confessed to stealing cigarettes... or money... or both; i'm not sure. all i know is that that pack of cigarettes was only the tip of the iceburg...

people are stupid. seriously, if you're going to use a stolen credit card, don't turn it in when you're done! and buy something worth more than $4.22... and if you're going to be honest and turn in the credit card, don't use it first, especially not for something as cheap as a pack of cigarettes...

i find credit cards all the time, and it never even occurs to me to use them... turning them in is automatic to me. how do people get to be dishonest? are they born that way?

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(Deleted comment)
ok, that sucks... i would hate to be accused of something big like that, when i didn't even do it. didn't anybody remember that you shared a computer with the guy who got fired?

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