I'm normally quite careful with money although I'm happy to spend it on enjoying myself or a new gadget. For example I'll cheerfully blow £50 on a spontaneous drink after work, then complain about having to pay 30p to use the loo in Euston station while I'm waiting for the train back home.
I possess many loyalty cards but one of the best is Bite, which gives 10% off most shops based at railway stations. When I tried using it recently though, at Upper Crust - a sandwich shop - I began to wonder if it was worth it. I ordered a sandwich and two cokes and the assistant told me it was going to cost £5.50, I presented a ten pound note along with the Bite card and she swiped it through the till before announcing that I owed £6.00. She was not phased at all by this turn of events and it was only when I pointed out that usually a discount card meant a reduction in price that she saw the problem.
Then the usual happened, the manager is called, so now two lines of customers are now at a grinding halt whilst the runes are consulted as to what has gone wrong. Eventually it's sorted, who knows what had occurred, and I get my 50p discount.
What struck me most was the lack of financial awareness of the assistant, perhaps working on a till all day just makes you impervious to what's going on?
My second financial anecdote also involved rail travel, I was due to meet a friend at Stoneleigh and I needed to take a train from Waterloo. I already have an Oyster card and wanted to know if Stoneleigh, which is near Sutton, a few of stops after Wimbledon, was within the Oyster service zone. I reached Waterloo with fifteen minutes to spare and the queue for information was snaked around the concourse so I asked a member of staff on the platform barrier, he didn't know and neither did his mate. So I thought I'd better be safe and buy a ticket from the machine. I asked for a return and was shown a price of £11, it then asked if I had a railcard and I admitted that I had a Network Gold card. I was both bemused and annoyed to find the price was now £13, so much for the quoted benefits of reduced price rail travel in the London area! When I got to Stoneleigh of course there were Oyster readers on the station so I could have saved myself about £5 by using my Oyster and paying the excess. I'm still cursing myself for this, although I cheerfully paid for dinner - see what I mean about my selective parsimony?