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  • Nicholas J Johnson

Four ways shopkeepers get short change

ACT I: A corner store in small town America. The con artist enters with the easy nonchelence of a man who probably knows how to spell nochalence. Notchalence?

He approaches the counter.

Con artist: What sort of gum do you have.

Shopkeeper: Just the ones on the counter. Peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon…

Con artist: Cinnamon! Who the hell buys cinnamon?

Shopkeeper: People who like the zing but don’t like the coolness of mint.

Con artist: I don’t know, that sounds dodgy to me.

Shopkeeper: That’s nothing, the distributor was pushing liquorice the other week.

Con artist: Liquorice gum?

Shopkeeper: It’s pitch black. Looks like tar.

Con artist: I think I’ll just stick with peppermint.

Shopkeeper: Fine. That’s fifty cents.

Con artist: I’ve only got a fifty dollar note. Is that okay?

Shopkeeper: I suppose. It’s almost closing time anyway. I’ll just have to go to the bank for more change in the morning.

Con artist: Thanks, sorry to be a pain.

Shopkeeper: There you go, $49.50 change.

Con artist: Hang on, I think I’ve got a bunch of change in my bag.

Shopkeeper: That would be better…

Con artist: Man, I’ve got like another fifty bucks here in coins!

Shopkeeper: I only need 50 cents.

Con artist: Ok, well if you give me my fifty bucks back I’ll give you the fifty cents.

Shopkeeper: Here you go.

Con artist: Hang on, why don’t I give you the change back plus all my loose change and you give me a hundred dollar note. Then you have some spare change.

Shopkeeper: I’m not sure that adds up…

Con artist: Oh yeah, you’re right. That only adds up to $99.50.

Shopkeeper: And…

Con artist: …and I need to pay for the gum too so here is another dollar. A hundred dollars in change for the hundred dollar note plus 50 cents for the gum.

Shopkeeper: Let me count that up again.

Con artist: Sure. It’s exactly hundred plus 50 cents.

Shopkeeper: All adds up. Here’s your $100.

Con artist: You can’t be too careful.

The con artist leaves, fifty dollars up on the transaction. The shopkeeper, completely unaware he’s been scammed, closes up for the night.


ACT II: The same shop, the following day. The con artist re-enters.

Con Artist: Hey, can I buy that Barack Obama keyring?

Shopkeeper: Sure, that will be $1.

Con Artist: Here is $10.

Shopkeeper: And $9 change

Con Artist: Wait…I’ve got all these singles I forgot about. Here is ten one dollar notes. Can I swap them for  a ten dollar note?

Shopkeeper: Weren’t you in here yesterday with a bunch of change?

Con Artist: Nah, probably thinking of someone else.

Shopkeeper: If you say so.

Con Artist: Better count that.

Shopkeeper: Wait. You’ve give me nine ones and one ten. That is $19 total.

Con Artist: Sorry, here is the $1. Hey, why don’t I give this ten as well and you give me twenty?

Shopkeeper: Ok…

The con artist leaves, this time with a cheeky extra ten dollars.

ACT III: The same damn shop. The following day.

Shopkeeper: You again?

Con Artist: Hey can I buy this lighter with a photo of Betty White naked on it.

Shopkeeper: *sigh* Ok, that’ll be $1

Con Artist: I’ve only got $20. By the way, you have nice hair.

Shopkeeper: Thanks.

Con Artist: No problem. Is it real?

Shopkeeper: What?

Con Artist: Is your hair real?

Shopkeeper: What sort of question is that?

Con Artist: Sorry. Can I have my $19?

Shopkeeper: Here you go.

Con Artist: No problem. Sure it’s not horse hair?

Shopkeeper: What? NO!

Con Artist: Ok

Shopkeeper: Get out of my shop.

Con Artist: Hey. I found a $1. Here you go.

Shopkeeper: FINE! GET OUT!

Con Artist: But I gave you $20.

Shopkeeper: Here it is. NOW GET LOST

Con Artist: Thanks.

The con artist leaves with an extra twenty bucks.

Perhaps the shopkeeper has some kind of acquired brain injury?

ACT IV: Same shop. Next day.

Con Artist: Hey! How much is this—




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