09 Dec 2005
She was tallying up my purchases. I saw that she had written 42. I pulled out a hundred RMB bill and two 1-RMB coins. I placed them on the counter.
“Do you have 6 jiao?” she said. “It’s 42.6.”
“Oh, 42.6!” I repeated. I had missed the amount after the decimal. I found that I didn’t have 6 jiao. So I gave her an extra 1-RMB coin and a 1-jiao coin.
She gave me a confused look. “What’s this for?” she asked, pushing back the one-jiao coin.
“Trust me,” I replied, pushing it back to her. “This way you can give me 60.5 in change.” (I don’t like carrying around the 1-jiao coins. I much prefer to have 5-jiao coins if I can.)
She didn’t think I knew what I was talking about. She started tapping away on her calculator. The figure
“Wow!” she said. “You’re smart.”
“You haven’t been doing this job long, have you?” I asked. “Do it a while longer, and you’ll be thinking like this too.”
“But I always just use the calculator,” she told me.
“Well, maybe you could use your head more,” I replied.
She nodded and handed me my change: six 10-RMB bills and five 1-jiao coins.