After being back in the U.S. for a couple of days, I needed to get my laptop looked at. The technician told me on the phone that it would cost $25. So I immediately bristled when charged me $26.50 at the store. And then I remembered: right. This is how things work here.
I’ve gone back to relying on my credit card more than I really need to, and imagine that sales tax is one of the (many) reasons why Americans so readily charge their purchases: it’s nearly impossible to provide exact change if you’re not gifted at calculating 6.25 percent tax on the spot. And if you do try to go for exact change after dealing with euro coins for a couple of years and while still in a jetlagged fog, be ready for some embarrassment. My apologies to the cashier at TJ Maxx. I’m not really sure where I thought I was going to come up with a 20-cent coin.