The time I counted all the way to 60 at Walgreens

It’s been so long since I’ve written that I forgot my own blog address. That’s embarrassing.

Why have I been absent? Just busy. And my computer is about to quit on me. It’s very slow and just thinking about turning it on gives me a headache. I’m on Brent’s now, but the keyboard is funky and I don’t like typing on it. But here I am, because I have a story to tell.

I need to post pics of Scott’s first birthday at the beach.
I need to tell an amazing story of how God provided for us in big ways.

But those are for another day with more energy than I have tonight.

Tonight, I have a story about Walgreens. And math.

Yesterday, I ordered our Christmas cards and two 8x10s via Snapfish and had them printed at Walgreens. The order confirmation said the pictures would be ready at 3:09 pm. I gave them an extra hour and didn’t leave my house until after 4.

I got to the photo counter and waited for the cashier to finish with a customer at the beauty counter. Who knew Walgreens had a beauty counter like it was a department store? I didn’t. But I’m also very loyal to my Bare Minerals so I don’t have a need for the Walgreens beauty counter. Also, I don’t think the employee that is specialized at the photo counter can be equally specialized at the beauty counter. Seems like a lot to handle.

The employee asked for my name and I gave her both my maiden and married name because I think my Snapfish account is still in my maiden name (7 1/2 years later). Turns out I’m right. Or Wright. Ha!

Anyway, I gave her both names and she starts rummaging through a bunch of envelopes and boxes on the counter. I see my name and pointed it out to her. She seemed confused until I put my finger right on my box and said, “That one is mine.”

“Oh yeah. We called you.” (there was a handwritten note taped to the box)
“You called me?”
“Yeah. We called you.”
“And…?” I needed a little more info, considering no one from Walgreens had called me.
“We left you a message.”
“No you didn’t. I don’t have a missed call or message on my phone.”
“Well, this is the number we called.” (she proceeds to point to my phone number on the box…which contains an area code other than the one in which I live).
“Did you dial the right area code?” as I point to it on the box
“It doesn’t matter. Why did you call?”
“Our printer is down.”
“Oh ok, when will it be working again?”
“See that’s the thing. We don’t know.”

At this point I’m still in a fairly good mood. I usually don’t get my Christmas cards printed until well after Thanksgiving. It’s okay that the printer isn’t working. I’ve still got some time. I was about to leave the store when I noticed a stack of my cards sitting on the printer behind the counter.

“Those are my cards behind you. Can I at least see how they turned out?”

She hands me a stack of cards. I hold them in my hands and it was a good chunk of cards. I only ordered 60 and I started thinking that maybe all of them were in the stack. I didn’t need all 60 anyway, so even if it was short a few pictures, I could still take them.  There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with them, so I asked her…

“I’m confused. Is there something wrong with the picture? Why can’t I have these?”
“We don’t know how many pictures the machine actually printed.”
“Ok, but the pictures are okay?”
“Oh yeah, the pictures are fine. We just don’t know how many were printed.”

She shows me the printing on the back of the picture. Some of them say 1/60, 34/60, 28/60 and so on, all in the wrong order. She explains that the number shows how many have been printed out of the total number ordered and since they are all out of order she has NO WAY OF KNOWING HOW MANY PICTURES ARE IN THE STACK.

No way of knowing.

Like, counting to 60 is completely out of the question.

So I asked her very hesitantly, “Can I count them to see how many printed? I don’t need 60 cards so if it’s close, I would like to go ahead and buy them.”

And she doubtfully says, “If you really want to” like I just suggested I count to 6,000 while saying the alphabet backward in Chinese at the same time.

And I got all sarcastic…”All I need to do is make 6 stacks of 10″
What I’m suggesting is totally doable and reasonable. 

So I began making stacks of ten like I was hanging out with my first graders. And lo and behold, I had six stacks of ten and one stack of nine! The printer that stopped printing in the middle of my order printed more than I ordered! Well hot dog, problem solved!

She gathered the whole stack of 69 cards, then removed nine cards from the stack.

“Wait…hold on. What are you going to do with those extra cards?”
You can’t resell them.

“Umm. I don’t know.”
“Well if you are just going to throw them away, can I have them?”
“Umm, sure”

She neatly packaged up all 69 cards and counted 69 white envelopes and packaged them up in their own box. And she also remembered that I had two 8x10s in the same order. I wasn’t counting on those being ready, but they were! And they looked great! So all this was for nothing! She should have counted to 60 before she called the wrong number and left a message with the wrong person telling them that their order wasn’t ready…when actually it was ready all along.

Oh, but it’s not over.

Because I ordered from Snapfish, there was already a receipt ready to go with my order of 60 photo cards and two 8x10s. However, those nine extra cards that the printer accidentally printed? Those were not part of the total.

So the beauty/photo counter employee pulled out her calculator and price sheet ready to punch in the amount for one photo card times nine. I really didn’t expect her to charge me for pictures she was just going to throw away…but whatever. I thought it would be a nice gesture to just give them to me since this photo situation was kind of taking a lot of my time…and precious math skills. But she was going to charge me.

And she started to get confused because the price for photo cards was not on her price sheet and her manager was working on the “support queue” for the printer. I could tell she was getting a little frustrated, so I just told her, “Look, if you are going to charge me for these extra photos, then don’t worry about it.”

Again…I was thinking she would just forget about it too and give me those nine extra pictures. Instead, she cut open the box she so carefully packaged, counted nine pictures, removed them from the box, and set them on the counter.

Finally, I was able to pay for my 60 photo cards and two 8x10s. Done. Thank you. Turned around to leave the store.

“Ma’am, I’m going to need to see your box!” she yelled at me before I stepped outside.

I turned around, made sure she was talking to me, and walked back to the photo counter. She held those nine extra cards in her hand, looked in the trash can (like she had already thrown away the nine cards, which I never saw her do), and placed those nine cards back in my box.

I was extremely confused at this point. I had no idea how many photo cards I was actually leaving with.

So let’s do some math. The way I see it, I was leaving with either 60, 69, or 51 cards. I think 51 is the least likely amount due to the nine cards she placed back in my box after she yelled at me to come back to the photo counter. I think 60 is very likely, because that’s the amount I ordered. But I think 69 is the most likely because I don’t recall her throwing away any cards, so the cards she put back in the box were the nine extra.

When I got home I counted the cards and I have SIXTY ONE cards. It’s a Christmas photo card miracle! I can send one extra person a lovely picture of my family this year.

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