Monday, December 22, 2008

Cheapskate not in holiday spirit

Early this morning, I stopped by The UPS Store ("The" is part of the proper name, hence the capitalization) here in South San Francisco to send back a rented textbook.*

I had a pre-paid shipping label and an almost-perfect sized used box and just needed about 12 inches of tape to secure it. With no one in line despite the shipping deadline (due to it being 8:15 a.m.), I got right to the front and asked the clerk if I could borrow some tape. "For three dollars," he said. Figuring he was pulling my leg, I said "You're kidding." "Nope," he said, "everybody comes in and want to use our tape. Do you want to buy some?"

Figuring that providing a reasonable length of tape should be good customer service, or at least a business expense, I declined and drove home to dig some old packing tape out of a drawer. I returned to the store, sealed my package and turned in my box (after the clerk said "Just leave it on the scale").

But I didn't just leave the package and go. I again got the clerk's attention, handed him the quarter-roll of tape left and said, "Do me a favor. In the holiday spirit, the next person who needs tape, give them this instead of charging them $3." He muttered "Thanks" and I walked out.

Wanna bet he charges the next person $3 to use the tape I gave him for free?

* Textbook rental (mine was through Chegg) is a great way for starving students to save money. I got a used economics book -- which normally retails for about $85 used and $120 new -- for about $50. I just had to have it shipped by today to avoid paying full price.

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