Counting Back Change

One of my first jobs, was at a women’s clothing store. And one of the first things I was taught, was how to count back change. A term, that isn’t even common today.

As much as life has gotten easier, I’m quite convinced it has also lost a bit of its charm and value along the way.

A couple of weeks ago I ventured onto an online dating site. I was told of it by a friend. Instantly I knew the character in a new book I’m writing had an addiction to such a site. Needing to see what my character was seeing, I mulled around; albeit for less than a week. In that short time, I learned all I needed to learn. While there I was viewed, messaged, rated, critiqued and questioned. It was an odd experience for this reclusive writer, but one I needed just the same. In an odd way, perusing the site felt much like browsing I looked at pictures. I read reviews and profiles. I analyzed the marketing information displayed to promote the product. Except these weren’t coffee makers or vacuums; these were people. Some of which were endearing. Some of which made me cringe.

When we count back change, we do so, to ensure that all parties involved in the transaction will be satisfied that every coin and dollar has been accounted for. It’s a deliberate, methodical approach that requires the mind to stop and think. Calculators are easier and faster. Counting back change requires a little time and conscious, mental action.

I can’t imagine getting together with someone after only a quick message sent through cyberspace. Everyone wants to meet someone. The act of doing so has been necessary since man’s earliest days. It’s the evolving approach of the transaction that I find interesting. The way its changing over time. Its getting quicker. In everyone’s rush to get out the door with their selection, they often skip some important steps. They forget to reveal – who they are. I realize the written word can be a bother to some, but words are imperative to me. As impersonal as emails may seem upon first glance, they have the ability of mimicking the intimacy of pen pals of days gone by.

Words, over time, reveal one’s soul. Like coins slowly placed into the hand when counting back change, every word shared eventually has to add up. When it doesn’t, the transaction needs to be re-examined. When it does, it builds trust.



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