How Assuming Can Lead To Misjudgments–A Storytime

Photo of retail counter with clothing and retail receipts, Salesperson has picked up a receipt and is using the  scanning gun to scan receipt. Blog graphic for blog post how assuming can lead to misjudgements about others storytime at

Somewhere in my life, I learned how assuming can lead to misjudgments about others. Things aren’t always as they appear, and an encounter with a young cashier reminded me of this lesson.

The incident

Back in the day when I was pregnant, I went to my usual grocery store to grab some grub. This baby had me eating every hour on the hour! After loading up my cart, I headed to the checkout line.

While the new cashier scanned my items, we chatted. I found out this was her second day on the job.

When it came time to pay, I handed her my bank card, thinking everything would be smooth sailing. But no. She told me I still owed $63. What?

I was confused because I had enough money to cover this purchase. Heck, I had checked my bank account before I came to the store. 

Well, I thought maybe there’s a glitch with my bank card, so I tried my credit card (though I didn’t want to).

Nope, same story – still $63 short. 

At this point, I started to get flustered. First, at the situation, I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

Then second because I could feel the impatience of the people in line behind me. I felt sorry for holding them up.

The cashier suggested using another form of payment, but I was already maxed out on options.

That was when she called over her supervisor. I felt so embarrassed and frustrated at that point, but I tried to keep it together.

After the cashier explained the situation to her superior, the supervisor ran both cards again. No luck.

Then, the supervisor asked me to see my debit card again.  She looked at it momentarily and asked if it was a bank card. I said yes. 

Suddenly, I heard the cashier gasp. When I looked at her, I saw her face turn pale. 

With a horrified look on her face, she blurted out that when I handed her my navy blue bank card, she assumed it was an EBT card; and therefore ran it through as an EBT transaction. 

Since EBT is used to purchase food only, I would have to pay out of pocket for any non-food. Hence, the $63 total. That was the amount of the non-food items in my order. 

Mystery solved!

As the supervisor removed the EBT marker from my purchase, the cashier apologized profusely. To let bygones be bygones, I told her it was okay.

At that point, I just wanted to get my groceries and go home!

The reflection

Later on that day, I thought again about the situation. I think I was more embarrassed than anything. This had been played out in front of the three strangers who waited in line behind me.

This whole mixup could have been prevented if the cashier had looked at my card closely, and not assumed that it was an EBT card. I would think there are other cards out there that are navy blue.

What I Learned 

What I learned is to avoid jumping to conclusions. The best thing to do is to wait until you have all the facts. Looks can be very deceiving!

The takeaway

As this situation proved, never assume anything about anyone or anything. Things are sometimes not what they appear. Assuming can lead to misjudgments of others. 

There’s an old saying that applies here. It says “When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me”

Just saying!

If you have a story or comment you’d like to share, please add it to the comment section below. I’d love to read them!

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