Flash fiction: Transactions are final

A short Asian girl with a black blazer and white miniskirt brought her grocery on the checkout’s conveyor belt. An old Chinese woman behind the counter said something in Cantonese but the girl appeared dumbfounded.

“Chinese? No?” the woman asked in English.

The girl shook her head. “Japanese”, she answered.

The woman nodded and began scanning the girl’s purchases. The girl paid the amount indicated on the display and waited for the receipt but the woman had veered off to the back of the store without giving it to her.

Quietly, she snatched the receipt from the printer and read. Suspecting something, she began summing up the prices of all her items and found she had been charged nearly twice the amount.

She called the woman but the woman spoke only in Cantonese. The woman pretended that she could not speak English and pointed at a sign taped to the door:

“Transactions are final, no refund.”

—-

A slender Asian boy with a black blazer and red shirt brought his grocery on the checkout’s conveyor belt. An old Chinese woman behind the counter said something in Cantonese but the boy appeared dumbfounded.

“Chinese? No?” the woman asked in English.

The boy shook his head. “Japanese”, he answered.

The woman nodded and began scanning the boy’s purchases. The boy paid the amount indicated on the display and waited for the receipt but the woman had veered off to the back of the store without giving it to him.

Quietly, he snatched the receipt from the printer and read. Suspecting something, he began summing up the prices of all his items and found he had been charged nearly twice the amount.

He called the woman and told her in fluent Cantonese that he had only paid half of the receipt. However, he changed his mind and wanted to abort the incomplete transaction, which would not be covered by the no-refund policy.

The woman glanced at the receipt and told him the receipt had been paid in full. When the boy got the receipt back, it was the original receipt he had swapped for a fake receipt. He left the store with two identical receipts in his pocket and brought the bad news to a certain Asian girl in a nearby park…

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