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Dyscalculic Cashiers Unite
reverend blamo
#1 Print Post
Posted on November 30 2008 05:08 AM

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We are all a little daffy I guess because it seems to me most of us have jobs that involve numbers. How did that happen. My day job (when not photographing) is as an commercial accounts manager at an auto parts store ( It's a fancy way to say I sell car parts to mechanics and garages) In this position I obviously have to deal with cash, charge accounts, daily charges and part numbers. Like regular retail I also have to deal with orders, inventory, SKUs and such.
I love auto parts, I love the automotive world...but I have to be an accountant for several garages who employ their wifes to do their books...AND I DO IT BETTER THAN THEM!! (some I am a better tech than them too but that is for another post)
I think we can't avoid numbers anywhere.
"I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused..."
Elvis Costello
#2 Print Post
Posted on November 30 2008 05:51 AM

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It's been a long time since I cashiered in a grocery store. A couple of years ago I cashiered for Dallas County Tax office,... the yearly windshield stickers. When others tell their stories, I'll probably think of one. But what I really wanted to say is that I've always memorized telephone numbers the way that you mentioned,... as a design written in the air, rather than as actual numbers. And that's also the way that I memorized piano pieces. It was as if the memory was in my fingers, not in my head. The problem arises occassionally that I can't give someone another person's phone number without having a phone pad in my hand,... because I only remember where my finger goes, not the number! And on the piano, I was able to play the slightly dumbed-down version of Turkish Rondo, but only because my fingers 'found' the right keys, not by remembering the musical notation. This was a disappointment to my piano teacher. She had once asked me if I could imagine the musical score in front of me, and I told her that I couldn't. She'd said that that was the only way I was going to be able to memorize the classical pieces. I tried for a while to do it. She didn't keep asking me that question. Maybe she already knew that if it wasn't there, it wasn't going to be there. Cashiering? When I was working at the Dallas County Tax office, we did our cashiering using the 10-key and the computer keyboard. How are the keys on cash registers arranged? I don't even remember. - jus'
Edited by justfoundout on November 30 2008 05:53 AM
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Posted on November 30 2008 08:12 AM

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I worked the Christmas season at a kiosk in the mall last year. So thankfully usually my coworkers weren't there to watch me count slow since they were at the host store, but noticed when I had to close down the register for the night. I just tended to make jokes about it and eventually they followed suit and seemed more amused than annoyed. I took solace in the fact that I knew I was counting more carefully than they were anyway, and put more effort into the other aspects of my job (customer service, keeping the kiosk straightened, closing properly) to compensate.
#4 Print Post
Posted on November 30 2008 12:45 PM
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Perhaps we should feel sorry for people that can't remember/ recall music and have to have it written down on paper for them?
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Posted on November 30 2008 04:18 PM

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Amusing thought, Geoff. But, no, Alas! My concert pianist career was doomed before it could take off. Thanks anyway. - jus'
P.S. I did actually study under a Russian Concert Pianist while living in South America, but with the same reading problems. Also, polyphonia eludes me, as perfection of that skill requires mentally going back and forth quickly. ("Pat you head, rub your tummy" type exercises.)
Edited by justfoundout on November 30 2008 04:21 PM
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Posted on December 01 2008 05:33 AM

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Dear Kat,
I also have an easier time reading the treble clef than the bass clef,... and I've never played the clarinet.

But I don't have trouble 'working both hands',... although, yes, I'm right handed, and that hand does a little better and has more strength. Just to be clear,... polyphonia, which I have difficulty playing, means "many voices". It's the playing of two, and even three melodies simultaneously. The melodies interweave. To play polyphonia on the piano, the ability to quickly change the mind's focus back and forth is necessary. This is where the mind-spliting, back and forth, "pat your head, rub your tummy" comes in. Bach wrote 2-part Inventions, and 3-part Inventions. One of my Russian teacher's pupils was able to play these beautifully, and she went on to study at Juliard. It was with this very special young lady that I got to enjoy a class or two of 'ear training' under the Russian teacher. At the time, I didn't know about dyscalculia, of course. And I didn't know why, try as I did, that I couldn't 'will myself' into playing the beautiful polyphonia. Now it all makes sense. - jus'

P.S. I lost my Steinway Grand piano when I got married.
Edited by justfoundout on December 01 2008 05:49 AM
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Posted on December 03 2008 09:32 PM

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Thanks, Kat. And even that wouldn't have been so bad if I still had the marriage! - jus'
Loco Toxico
#8 Print Post
Posted on December 11 2008 05:07 AM

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I was about 21 or 22 the last time i worked on a cashier...but i totally feel you on what you say about unnerving...
the SKU and all the long numbers wow how i would get lost trying to read them start over and over trying to reread them and not lose my place...counting change??? oh man thats why i loved the debit people and check writers....then again thats why i volunteered for the camera dept at thrifties...who are now rite aids....
but yes what would help me with big numbers and the only thing that seems to work which i learned in kindergarten (which i still use this method as of today) was the whole learning the sequences of numbers not as a sequence of numbers but as a sequence of i learned my phone # by humming it or singin it to a little tune to help remember use the syllables if that makes sense heh...
and counting the register at night wow your right it does take us double the time if not longer than everone else....i was always the last guy to count out my draw everyone would be waiting on me....checking my math over and over to make sure i was doing my math right and each time i'd come up with diffrent answer...
so to speed up the process i would go with the best 2 out of 3 (or 5 out of 7 if my drawer had a lot of cash) haha and i know this isn't right or cool but id always have extra money in my pocket incase my drawer came up short id throw that money in to make it even...i just hated stalling everyone on my account....checking our math i believe is our bane well in my case it is...comming up with a diffrent answer each time jeeeeeeeeeeeez!!!
well anyway before i get too carried away that whole memorizing a sequence as a visual i thought was a good way to memorize long sequences of numbers...i mean anything helps

- Loco Toxico

#9 Print Post
Posted on December 11 2008 05:33 AM

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I have always had a really hard time working my left hand on the piano. I can read the notes on the treble staff fine, it's the bass notes I can never remember. I think it has to do with the fact that I learned how to formally play clarinet before piano, and while the staff music looks similar, it's a little different. To me, the two clarinet hands work "together", while my two piano hands are doing two separate things. I do like it, though - it feels like brain exercise to me.

I am a little sad because I had to leave my piano at my mom's house when I moved, since I couldn't get it up 2 flights of stairs safely (or cheaply). So now I only get to fool around on it when I'm home visiting, and she keeps threatening to sell it! I told her she can sell any family heirlooms she wants, any priceless jewelry passed down through the generations... but damnit don't touch my piano. xD[/quote]

Not being able to play with both hands was part of the reason that I eventually ended up giving up on piano. It was beyond frustration or confusion, any time I would try to play with both hands it was just a sense of pure bewilderment. Maybe I'll try again. I do love piano.

I used to be quite good at alto sax, and could even sight read at one point. But WRITING the music was a whole different game. I took a music theory class and have never had so much trouble counting to four in my life.
Edited by twistedxkiss on December 11 2008 05:33 AM
#10 Print Post
Posted on December 11 2008 06:32 AM

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Hi all,

Its a really interesting discussion - I have worked with cash registers - and was very slow at the counting adding etc and no sorry couldn't balance one if I tried. So then I became a Library technician more numbers - great -why? because I didn't have to add them up! - Brilliant! as for piano I love my old german antique walnut piano -
Clemm - and yes I cannot read my left hand and find reading above "g" treble - difficult - so many of us are the same - (are we sure we are not all related?)Grin

Now for you youngens out there - has any one played a game with a soni play station 3 called "guitar hero"? where you have to play the beat with your right hand strumming the guitar while coloured notes on the screen have to be hit with your right hand? my son and daughter do this effortlessly but I cannot even make it through the first easy song played at the slowest beat!! -( it's sad but I keep getting booed off the stage by the crowd). - made worse with son 19 and daughter 17 laughing at you!!telling me I have absolutly no hand eye coordination - (as if i didn't know that!) But I am determined to master this!! and become a bass rock goddess - Grin I will let you know if I can get off first base!!
Albert Einstein said: "Many of the things you can count, don't count. Many of the things you can't count, really count!."
#11 Print Post
Posted on December 11 2008 11:08 PM

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I tend to find I do better in Guitar Hero if I don't over-analyze what I'm doing. Just sit back and keep rhythm. As soon as I think "red - green - yellow" I find I'm all over the place.

I have a new job *hurrah* - as a supervisor in a coffee shop doing tons of different stuff. The tills are touch-screen so no number to memorize, thankfully. I'm looking forward to doing the cash ups without supervision. My tills are always spot on - ALWAYS - I am so paranoid that I take twice as long as I should, but they are exact! Grin
#12 Print Post
Posted on December 12 2008 02:03 PM

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I have worked in 2 Supermarkets. In the 2nd Supermarket i was a cashier and a stock controller.

Cashier- first rime on a till i was a nervous wreck. I can not give change back nor is it correct so i was constantly worrying about that. I had my first solo performance 2 hours after i was trained(granted this was not my offical department i was actually in Admin as a Price Controller) I would come out in nerves and be really ill at the thought of going on a till. However i survived and managed to stay there for 2 years. It wa tough though. I would be VERY vigilant at handing out cash. I would double, double check the amount was right. The worst time of the year is Christmas as you are sooooo busy your are trying to concentrate but it's tough

Stock Controller- NIGHTMARE!!!
Trying to count stock which isn't there and trying to visualise its not good. Then i had to do massive stock counts without showing myself up using my fingers. Never worked as i had to use them. Thank god for paper and pens and calculators. Sometimes though people would use my calculator and not return it. Or if i had a load of work to do i would have to use paper as i can't spend my time searchign for my calculator. I was in this job for a year and 2 months. I left as i wanted a new challenge which i have got now heehee!!

Although working in the Supermarket(s) were good i felt quite annoyed as i had to perform quick and percisely. Any muck ups with the counts i was in trouble. You forget stock is all about money. If i aid there were only 10 tins of soup on the shelf when in fact they were in a dual location (another location ie offer of the week) i was in BIG trouble. I spent hours counting stock. Starting at 6am until 2pm it was horrendous
#13 Print Post
Posted on December 15 2008 11:11 PM

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I work at a community pool (during the summer) in their small restaurant, although it may be a stretch to call it that. I actually am fairly successful at the cash register. My problem is when people give me extra money because they want change back purposely. (I don't exactly understand it, so I can't explain it). Does anyone know how to explain this better? Occasionally, I make a major error. People have given me twenties before, and I've given them back at least ten dollars less than they should have, and then they give me this really strange look. I feel really bad because as a cashier, I should be figuring out the change for them, so I hate it when they do it for me. I like being an independent person.

I have a very difficult time playing left hand piano. I can play chords and broken chords, but its hard to play a whole left melody simaultaneously with a righthand melody. Even something repetitive like in "Linus and Lucy," which consists of essentially the same two measures over and over, is taking me a while to learn. I learn part by ear, part by written music. When people ask me how I learn music I used to respond "by reading it" but I've realized that when I read it, my sense of rhythm and key signature is generally way off. I disregard the key signature, and do what sounds correct, and the rhythm, if its a song I know, is based on how it sounds, not how its written. Obviously this can present some problems for songs I'm unfamilar with. I can do some songs entirely by ear like "Hear Comes the Sun" and "The Heat Miser Song," but if I have the music, I use it.
#14 Print Post
Posted on December 16 2008 12:30 AM

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Dear ApplePi,
Regarding the people and the extra money and the change,... yes, I know exactly what you mean. And I think that somewhere on this forum (who knows when it was?), I launched into a very long posting in which I detailed that phenomenon. It's like this, right? The cash register says that the person owes $14.27, and the customer hands you a $20 bill. You enter $20 received into the cash register. The cash register dutifully tells you to give the customer $5.73 back, which you would gladly and easily do,... except that, in the meantime, the customer (a rocket scientist, recently laid off from NASA) has figured out that he'd rather get a nice even $6.00 back from you than get all that ugly, heavy change, so he's forced you to accept another $0.27. But what you're looking at on the register read-out is $5.73. Brain freeze!!! Help! And sometimes there are much worse scenarios. I used this one because I was able to count it out. And even so, I've rechecked it three times before hitting send. (Hope it's right.) - jus'
#15 Print Post
Posted on December 20 2008 03:57 AM

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I don't like to think about retail. It seemed that no matter how careful and slow I counted, I'd often end up a dollar short at the end of my shift. And I absolutely hated when someone would hand me a pile of change after I already entered the money they have me previously. Then if you give them the wrong change or are too slow counting, you're clearly some kind of idiot.
evie dee
#16 Print Post
Posted on December 20 2008 09:30 PM

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autoclavicle wrote:
I don't like to think about retail. It seemed that no matter how careful and slow I counted, I'd often end up a dollar short at the end of my shift. And I absolutely hated when someone would hand me a pile of change after I already entered the money they have me previously. Then if you give them the wrong change or are too slow counting, you're clearly some kind of idiot.

I hated it when people would pay with change.
There's a Coinstar at the supermarket, I suggest people use it.
Although, I'd be fine if they gave me rolls of change, then I knew exactly how much money to give back.
#17 Print Post
Posted on December 21 2008 01:46 AM

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Hmmm. years ago in another lifetime, I was receptionist at a small vet clinic.. so had to deal with money Sad

I was Ok if there was no rush, or if folks gave me near to correct . Must admit to many times saying my eyes were bad or something, and asking them to do their own change Sad The more flustered I got, of course, the worse it was!! I didn't know about Dyscal. then.. just always thought I was 'not right'.

Now- if I have to handle money, I smile sweetly, and explain that I have 'number dyslexia"... and folks are so helpful!! Smile
#18 Print Post
Posted on December 21 2008 02:17 AM

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This reminds me of a time when I was working as a waitress at Ascot racetrack, in England. I enjoyed the job because it mostly consisted of things I could do without getting involved in money.

Then one day, one of the cashiers had called in sick. Since I was apparently their next best thing -they stuck me on the register. I didn't think this would be a problem...until they told me the till did not calculate the change for you (how rediculous??).

I went into a major panic. I was too embarrassed to tell them I couldn't do it (and at the time, I had no idea why, just the bad math)). I did try to explain, but they just laughed and told me I'd be fine. I remember running to the bathroom, almost sick with fear.

It was an absolute disaster. I gave wrong change all day, and cried in my lunch break. I was so embarressed and ashamed. My collegues looked at me funny after that - since our sales were off and I think they might have thought I stole it.

I actually gave in my two weeks notice after that incident. The whole ordeal had deeply upset me, and even now it makes me cringe. Especially when I remember the customers complaining of wrong change...urgh!
#19 Print Post
Posted on December 21 2008 03:43 AM

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Dear Rae,
I know what you mean. Isn't it just awful when someone looks at you like you've given them the wrong amount of money on purpose? And this is true whether you are on the cashiering end or on the customer end. I was paying my mechanic one time. He's been my mechanic for almost 20 years. I handed him four $20 bills to pay him $100. He looked at me funny. I asked, "Oh, are there five $20's in a hundred?" And he said, "Usually". -An embarrassed LOL - jus'
#20 Print Post
Posted on December 21 2008 04:23 AM

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Yes, Jus. Its horrible, because it makes you feel stupid and we're not stupid. Its terrible in the sense that if you don't wear a badge that says "I have a math LD" then everyone fails to understand, which is where sarcastic comments like that come from.
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