The Holger Beer Incident

People have no idea how expensive Amsterdam is. It's so expensive that I was always broke during the two years I lived there. Well, that's what I would like to tell myself, but the truth is that I was a deadbeat. 

Naturally, I was inclined to imbibe in Holger Beer, the cheapest, finest beer available at Vomar Discount Supermarket. At 30 cents a bottle, you quickly come to understand why the liquid is only worth twice as much as the bottle itself. Yea, it tastes like crap, but when your daily dispensable budget consists of however many bottles you have lying around in addition to pocket change, Holger Beer takes a rather more seductive power. 

So there I was, closing the supermarket down with exactly 12 bottles in my shopping cart. I had drunk 8 bottles earlier that day and upon entering the supermarket immediately proceeded to the recycling machine which printed out a fancy, barcoded receipt with "80 cents" powerfully emblazoned across the top... I knew that it added more than a full half liter to my haul that night. 

I happily stood in the aisle, putting my Yale degree to maximum use; I quickly calculated that with 2.80 in my pockets and with an 80-cent "statiegeld," I could purchase a shockingly good 12 bottles. 

There I was, standing in line, my tongue salivating for the 3.6 liters of beer which awaited me that night. I was salivating and smirking despite the presence of my rival there. 

When you frequent a small supermarket twice a day, you eventually become acquainted with all the cashiers. Most were respectable women in their 40s; friendly but detached. The rest were high school girls; either very friendly or very bitter about their predicament. 

That night, Shaniqwa, a bitter cashier, was training another girl. Terrible training, they overcounted the number of bottles, and, suddenly, I was facing a ridiculous surcharge of 90 cents. I looked at the subtotal, perplexed as to why I was 90 cents short, but I wasn't wearing my glasses. 

I squinted at the checkout screen and asked Shaniqwa if the price had increased that day.  She told me "yes," and I was like, "but it still has the same price back there." 

Shaniqwa simply told me: "You're not taking into account the price of the bottles." A line of people was building up behind me, the supermarket was about to close and Shaniqwa had the only open register. I was a bit drunk, kinda confused, asking Shaniqwa why I was 90 cents over, when the guy behind me grew frustrated.

I was holding up the line, so he offered to pay the 90 cent difference, but I immediately said, "I don't need help!"

At that moment, the security guard came in and said, "he's trying to help you," but I screamed, "I don't need any freaking help!" The security guard played it cool, though, he was like, "everybody needs help."

By that point Shaniqwa had taken the 2 euros from the Dutch guy behind me, and proceeded to hand me the change from the 2 euros he'd given her. I took a look at the receipt and noticed that she'd overcharged me by 3 bottles; I pointed it out to the security guard and he was like, "you're right."

I was pissed! Shaniqwa had made me look like a cheapskate in front of a line full of Dutch people, but I was also happy about the change I got back; the incident was a full euro and 10 cents profitable for me. 

I told my German friend about the incident when she was visiting, and she just took pity on me. I told my German girlfriend about it and she just said, "yea, you were fucking desperate!" 

However, now she doesn't let me buy cheap beer, so this has all resulted in people getting me nice beer. Win/win.