Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: White Lotus on September 27, 2013, 07:32:26 PM

Title: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: White Lotus on September 27, 2013, 07:32:26 PM
This happened today for the second time in a couple of months, which makes me think it is a trend.  I went out for a meal with somebody and I picked up the check.  I paid with cash, and was given only bills in change, not the $0.37 or whatever I was actually owed on top of the bills.  I was NOT asked "do you want change?" And it wasn't close enough that I would have said, "keep it," in lieu of a tip.

This strikes me as waaaaay off.  Sure, I most likely will tip, but that is for me to decide.  It is not up to the serve to keep my change, and expect me to fork over more.  A tip is a gratuity, not an entitlement.  I was very tempted to leave no other tip, because I was short-changed, and that, to me, feels like theft.   Instead, I tipped at a lower rate than I would normally have.  The service was mediocre (both times) but I usually tip well just because I know how much servers depend on those tips.  By keeping that $0.37, that server probably did herself out of a buck, maybe two. I just could not bring myself to leave more than a basic (and reasonable) tip.

Keeping my change really disturbs me.   Anybody else?  Is this a new norm I simply have to accept?
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 27, 2013, 07:45:10 PM
I would feel and do exactly as you did.  It is presumptuous on the part of the server.  I don't usually leave coinage as tip; I get my change and leave full dollar amounts as a tip.  On a lunch bill total of $10, I'd normally leave $2 or 20% (15% is the norm, here).  If the server kept 37 cents, I'd only tip a $1.  Which would be almost 14%.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Surianne on September 27, 2013, 07:45:39 PM
That's so bizarre, and not anything I've experienced.  I wouldn't take kindly to it.  I'd assume that the server decided her own tip and leave her nothing more than the 37 cents she'd already taken from me.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: rose red on September 27, 2013, 07:59:36 PM
I usually tip 20% and round up.  For example, if 20% is $3.37, I'll just leave $4.00. 

But if this situation happen and if the rest of the service is fine, that service would bring it down to perhaps only 15 percent exactly.  For example, if 15% is $2.37, I'll leave $2.00 since they already have my .37 cents.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Erich L-ster on September 27, 2013, 08:05:23 PM
If you want to put forth the effort, you might call and let them know what happened and that it decreases their tips. I wouldn't identify the server, I don't think anybody needs to get in trouble over this but the manager could bring it up with the staff.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: veronaz on September 27, 2013, 08:31:27 PM
It seems that sometimes people just don’t want to deal with coins/change.

Last time I ordered a pizza, the total was $x dollars and 18 cents.  I gave the delivery person a $20 and I had the 18 cents.  I asked for $2 back (which gave him a tip of 3 dollars), but he waved off the 18 cents.

However, in a small store this week my total was $11.03.  I didn’t have any change and gave the clerk $15.00.  She said she had 3 cents in a dish there at the register and said “I gotcha covered”.  I said thanks and left.

OP, I’m not sure what happened at the restaurant, but I feel you should be asked/be given the chance to decide what to do with your change.   It's your money.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: miranova on September 27, 2013, 08:34:09 PM
UGH, this irritates me SO much.  People have been making change for decades, it's not that difficult. Do NOT assume anything, and I will tip generously as long as the service was good.  Start tipping yourself with MY money, and I'm not going to be happy.  Obviously it's not about 37 cents, it's the principle of it.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Joeschmo on September 28, 2013, 12:39:49 AM
When this has happened to me they round up instead of down so if my change was $8.37 they would give me $9.00 to avoid dealing with change.  I make it up in the tip but if they shorted me it would negatively affect the tip.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Klein Bottle on September 28, 2013, 02:16:05 AM
Do you think it's possible the server simply forgot to give out the coin change along with the bills?  I can see that happening, especially if she was busy at the time.  It could have just been a mistake or an oversight, not kept deliberately. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: menley on September 28, 2013, 04:28:37 AM
Where I live now, it's customary to hand the money directly to the server (it's considered super rude to leave it on the table) and, if you say "Thank you" (in the local language) as you hand them the money, it means that you don't want change at all. I learned that lesson the hard way before a local friend explained the custom :)

I agree with an earlier poster that said many people don't seem to want to deal with change - and I know my husband almost always refuses coins unless they're quarters. That said, it's still presumptuous of a server to assume that they can keep the coins.

If it's a repeat issue, I would either contact management or talk to the server directly. When she didn't bring back the coins, what did you do? If it were me, I would have flagged her down and asked for them. If I decided to leave a lesser tip based on the fact that the server didn't return my coins, I would write a note or explain directly to the server. Otherwise he/she will continue to do it.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: veronaz on September 28, 2013, 08:06:35 AM
I can see why people donít want to be weighed down, so to speak, with lots of coins but every night I dump my change into a container.  Then I periodically take it to a Coinstar machine and thatís my lottery or chewing gum money.

Also, some people feel that if they ask for their change they might seem cheap or petty.  I donít understand that at all.

But the point is that I want to make the decision as to whether I want the coins or not.  I usually do; it's my money, and coins quickly add up to dollars.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: rose red on September 28, 2013, 08:25:44 AM
It's not up to servers to decide that you don't want to be weighted down with coins.  I'm always running out of quarters so coins are not a burden to me.  There have been times when pennies saved me from being short.  I also toss coins into a jar and they add up to dollars fast.

But like I said in my previous post, I won't make a big deal out of it.  I'd just adjust the tip accordingly.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: kherbert05 on September 28, 2013, 08:54:22 AM
I would
1. Consider the change they failed to give me their tip and that would be their whole tip.
2. I would leave and then communicate with the owner/corporate about their server stealing my chang




I know people like to think it is just coins/less than a dollar. But think about how quickly this could add up. I throw my change into a box each day. I regularly have between $5 - $10 a week in change. I take that to coin star and get an amazon GC that I use to pay for my Instant Video season passes.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Shoo on September 28, 2013, 09:57:16 AM
I would flag the server down and ask about it.  "Where is the rest of my change?"  I would definitely make her give me an answer.  That is theft, no matter how small the amount.

I'd also probably (if I wasn't pressed for time) talk to the restaurant manager and tell him how much I did not appreciate this tactic. 

As far as her tip goes, that would be it.  After she stole from me, I'd definitely not leave her anything else.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: VorFemme on September 28, 2013, 10:16:18 AM
I have had ONE server tell me that they were out of change (long weekend when they had been busier than usual and they ran out - since I was working at another restaurant in town, I'd already seen it where I worked).  That was some thirty years ago and none of the staff since have tried to explain WHY I didn't get change if there was none on the tray....

They were using it faster than people were bringing it in and were down to just pennies and not enough of them.  I seem to recall pulling out all the change in my purse and making a note to take the change from home to work with me that night....

I got a $1 when I handed them the difference (I've since started paying with exact change, if I have it - which I understand is very common with Baby Boomers all over the USA).
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: White Lotus on September 28, 2013, 12:43:36 PM
This happened TWICE in TWO DIFFERENT restaurants, in DIFFERENT CITIES.  I fail to see how this could be MY fault in any way.  I just didn't get my change.  The first time I did ask for my actual change. And the server made kind of a little stink about it, and my companion said, "meh, it's $0.64, what's the big deal?"  Well, taking my money is a big deal to me. It is MY $0.64! However, the fallout was a bigger deal than it should have been, and my companion was not supportive.  I am not talking of penny jars, where I try to keep good karma.  I am talking about failing to give change.  No, nobody "forgot" and it wasn't abnormally busy -- we were after lunch rush.
I think I am going to use cards rather than cash in any venue where that is possible.  I do not like theft, and this is deliberate theft.  "Is it Ok if I round it because it is so busy?"  I would have said sure and expected them to round down even of not arithmetically correct.  To do it without asking is stealing and leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. 
I might just call the manager of yesterday's place.  The food is very good.  The other place I will never go to again, because the food was not so good.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: White Lotus on September 28, 2013, 01:44:37 PM
I don't see any way this could be innocent.  In this situation, you are either making change correctly or you are holding back money that does not belong to you, where you is our hypothetical server. 
Thrust a receipt and a bunch of bills into my hand and vanish before I can even see what I have, which is what happened both times, and suddenly it is a huge inconvenience for me to track you, HS, down, demand you give me what you owe me, with no choice but allowing you to take lots of  time and fumble around doing that, while my whole party and I are standing around waiting.  No, not innocent, and no way it could be.  I am supposed to, in HS's mind, forget about it because it "is too little to worry about."  Somehow,  hypothetical server thinks it is Ok to short change people as long as it is coins, because it is too much trouble for the patrons to get their actual money back -- and HS will make that so -- and "they're going to tip anyway."    It isn't.  And I won't, in that circumstance, ever again. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Amara on September 28, 2013, 02:15:40 PM
I'd immediately call the server on it.  No one decides for me that change is a hassle or that I don't have a right to my own money. It is, after all, MY money so hand it over. And after I got it I might or, in resentment, not leave a tip at all, but I would be sure to tell the server why. I would also notify the manager on my way out that I would not be returning to a restaurant where I was not given my proper amount of change unless I demanded it. Theft is theft whatever type of clothes you dress it up in.


Hey you kids, get off my lawn!
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: VorFemme on September 28, 2013, 02:42:30 PM
I know people who want the change for parking meters, to do laundry at a coin-operated Laundromat, a soda from the machine at school or work, air up their tires at the corner gas station, get "feminine supplies" from the machine in the ladies room, their "savings program" to roll up all their change for the month & use it for their vacation spending money, or similar things that they plan to do with THEIR change - but don't want to ASK (especially not for the "feminine supplies" thing) for it out loud.  They might have been raised that it was RUDE or they may just not think that it is anyone else's business why they want coins.

Not having the coins can mean having to break a bill at the cash register before heading back to the ladies room - which means everyone in the party KNOWS why they are going back there - it's not just to powder their nose & wash their hands.  Or not having any change to air up their tires, do a load of laundry, etc.  And they know how much change they tend to roll up at the end of a month so they are wondering why THIS month no one is giving them any change!
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: flickan on September 28, 2013, 02:49:58 PM
If you want to put forth the effort, you might call and let them know what happened and that it decreases their tips. I wouldn't identify the server, I don't think anybody needs to get in trouble over this but the manager could bring it up with the staff.

I really like this solution!
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: miranova on September 28, 2013, 06:13:07 PM
I would flag the server down and ask about it.  "Where is the rest of my change?"  I would definitely make her give me an answer.  That is theft, no matter how small the amount.

I'd also probably (if I wasn't pressed for time) talk to the restaurant manager and tell him how much I did not appreciate this tactic. 

As far as her tip goes, that would be it.  After she stole from me, I'd definitely not leave her anything else.

why are you assuming she kept it on purpose?

Unless the bill came out to be an exact dollar amount, even the most math challenged person knows that it will require some coins to return the proper change.  If the server came back with bills but no coins, I don't see any possible way for that to be accidental.  Pizza delivery drivers do this too, and it drive me crazy.  I'm sorry but no.  There are plenty of stores across the world that give coins as change in almost every single transaction.  If they can do it all day long, why should a restaurant be deemed "too busy" to deal with change?  I'm not buying it, it's simply an attempt to keep more money.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: miranova on September 28, 2013, 08:57:26 PM
That's a bit of a stretch to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but I guess that could happen, every once in a blue moon.  However, this is becoming a trend, so I don't really buy it.  Plus pizza delivery guys ALWAYS do this, and they don't have a chance to make change and then set it down and forget to bring it to me.  I'm standing right there, and they only give me bills back.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Texas Mom on September 28, 2013, 11:01:05 PM
I've had this happen twice.

One server told me, "I don't deal with coins."

Both times, I asked for the manager, told them I wanted my 37 cents, and to instruct the server that I wasn't leaving my customary 20-25 % tip.

I walked out & never went back.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: kherbert05 on September 28, 2013, 11:09:00 PM
That's a bit of a stretch to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but I guess that could happen, every once in a blue moon.  However, this is becoming a trend, so I don't really buy it.  Plus pizza delivery guys ALWAYS do this, and they don't have a chance to make change and then set it down and forget to bring it to me.  I'm standing right there, and they only give me bills back.

Yes, I think sometimes they do it on purpose. But I have waited tables for years and there are some people out there who are convinced that servers are just greedy thieves trying to scam them anyway they can. Everyone makes mistakes at their job.
I assure you that I treat servers right. I am a good tipper. On at least 2 occasions I've been chased into the parking lot because the server thought I had left my change. Both occasions I was having a rotten day, as stress out and boiling because no power at home. The servers were nice and made my day better - so I gave them a really good tip. I rarely tip below 25% sometimes up to 50%.


Three big offences that will lower my tip
Ignoring me Happens every once in a while. Last time I walked up to the server the next section over who saw that I wasn't getting my food or refills and took care of me. I handed her the tip.


Not bringing me all my change and/or asking If I need change back. I remember one time my Mom only had a $50 (pre ATM days my parents didn't put restaurant meals on a credit card unless it was a business meal). Our bill was less than $25. The server asked if she needed change back. Mom told her she didn't normally tip more than 100%. Believe me the owner heard about what happened.


Lying about peanuts/peanut oil or lying about finding out. I love that some restaurants hand me an official document with allergy information.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: LifeOnPluto on September 29, 2013, 01:46:01 AM
I know people who want the change for parking meters, to do laundry at a coin-operated Laundromat, a soda from the machine at school or work, air up their tires at the corner gas station, get "feminine supplies" from the machine in the ladies room, their "savings program" to roll up all their change for the month & use it for their vacation spending money, or similar things that they plan to do with THEIR change - but don't want to ASK (especially not for the "feminine supplies" thing) for it out loud.  They might have been raised that it was RUDE or they may just not think that it is anyone else's business why they want coins.

Not having the coins can mean having to break a bill at the cash register before heading back to the ladies room - which means everyone in the party KNOWS why they are going back there - it's not just to powder their nose & wash their hands.  Or not having any change to air up their tires, do a load of laundry, etc.  And they know how much change they tend to roll up at the end of a month so they are wondering why THIS month no one is giving them any change!

Exactly. There's lots of reasons why people might need those coins. Not to mention that it's THEIR money!

I agree with flagging the server down (or going up to the counter, if necessary) and saying politely "Excuse me, I am still owed 35 cents (or whatever the amount is)."
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Need to Change on September 29, 2013, 01:56:49 AM
I've run into clerks and servers who simply, and honestly, don't know how to make change properly.  It seems to be an increasingly common occurrence.  Therefore, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt as to their intentions, but I will point out the error.

Most will make corrections themselves.  Some will need to consult with a supervisor first (... sigh ...).    If they outright refuse, then it's time to have a chat with management.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: nayberry on September 29, 2013, 06:44:38 AM
i had this happen once,  i stayed sat at the table until the waitress came back to the table asking if we were ok, i asked for the rest of my change and as she blushed and handed it over, i told her that she would have had a tip but trying to steal from me meant she got nothing.  and then i went to the manager.  she was not happy and i believed her when she said that the waitress would NEVER do that again at that restaurant.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Curious Cat on September 29, 2013, 07:59:09 AM


asking If I need change back.

Every time this has happened to me the server has not looked at the money, just picked up the booklet that you put the cash/card in.  I have no problem with that because they are just trying to find out if they need to come back to the table.  If the server looked and saw it was $100 on a $50 bill and asked that would be inappropriate.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 29, 2013, 08:01:48 AM


asking If I need change back.

Every time this has happened to me the server has not looked at the money, just picked up the booklet that you put the cash/card in.  I have no problem with that because they are just trying to find out if they need to come back to the table.  If the server looked and saw it was $100 on a $50 bill and asked that would be inappropriate.

Asking about a one-dollar bill for a five-dollar tab would be just as inappropriate because it's not the server's money.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Curious Cat on September 29, 2013, 08:07:52 AM


asking If I need change back.

Every time this has happened to me the server has not looked at the money, just picked up the booklet that you put the cash/card in.  I have no problem with that because they are just trying to find out if they need to come back to the table.  If the server looked and saw it was $100 on a $50 bill and asked that would be inappropriate.

Asking about a one-dollar bill for a five-dollar tab would be just as inappropriate because it's not the server's money.

I was exaggerating for effect.  My point was if they don't look I don't mind them asking because they don't know what is in the billfold.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 29, 2013, 08:10:57 AM


asking If I need change back.

Every time this has happened to me the server has not looked at the money, just picked up the booklet that you put the cash/card in.  I have no problem with that because they are just trying to find out if they need to come back to the table.  If the server looked and saw it was $100 on a $50 bill and asked that would be inappropriate.

Asking about a one-dollar bill for a five-dollar tab would be just as inappropriate because it's not the server's money.

I was exaggerating for effect.  My point was if they don't look I don't mind them asking because they don't know what is in the billfold.

I think asking at all is rather presumptuous. If a customer wants to leave a tip, she will do so.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Curious Cat on September 29, 2013, 08:14:33 AM


asking If I need change back.

Every time this has happened to me the server has not looked at the money, just picked up the booklet that you put the cash/card in.  I have no problem with that because they are just trying to find out if they need to come back to the table.  If the server looked and saw it was $100 on a $50 bill and asked that would be inappropriate.

Asking about a one-dollar bill for a five-dollar tab would be just as inappropriate because it's not the server's money.

I was exaggerating for effect.  My point was if they don't look I don't mind them asking because they don't know what is in the billfold.

I think asking at all is rather presumptuous. If a customer wants to leave a tip, she will do so.

Yes and sometimes that tip is already included in the money that is left in the billfold.  Clearly we are at impasse here so I'm happy to agree to disagree.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: kategillian on September 29, 2013, 08:15:52 AM
I am a server, & I admit to doing this at times, but only when the change is less than a quarter. I'm so annoyed at change in general, I don't know why we still use pennies, which to me are completely useless. I guess I assumed everyone felt the same way, but now I realize they don't! I will start bringing everyone their change.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 29, 2013, 08:21:07 AM


asking If I need change back.

Every time this has happened to me the server has not looked at the money, just picked up the booklet that you put the cash/card in.  I have no problem with that because they are just trying to find out if they need to come back to the table.  If the server looked and saw it was $100 on a $50 bill and asked that would be inappropriate.

Asking about a one-dollar bill for a five-dollar tab would be just as inappropriate because it's not the server's money.

I was exaggerating for effect.  My point was if they don't look I don't mind them asking because they don't know what is in the billfold.

I think asking at all is rather presumptuous. If a customer wants to leave a tip, she will do so.

Yes and sometimes that tip is already included in the money that is left in the billfold.  Clearly we are at impasse here so I'm happy to agree to disagree.

So am I.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Tea Drinker on September 29, 2013, 12:41:08 PM
I don't like being asked "do you need change?" because it can feel like pressure. On the other hand, I sometimes hand the money to the server and volunteer "I don't need change" if I have put in the amount I want to give them, including tip (especially if I have small bills). I figure that tells them that they don't need to deal with my payment right away, if there are other jobs waiting (bringing someone else food or change or taking an order), and that this is a cash payment, not a credit card that they need to run. "Can I keep all this as a tip?" is a different question from "is it okay if I take their order before processing your payment?" but the server would probably ask it the same way.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: delabela on September 29, 2013, 12:56:07 PM
It's weird for a server to make the assumption that a dinner doesn't want the coin change, and it would likely be something I'd notice.  However, I would have very little interest in doing anything about it.  When I go out to eat, I assume tip as part of the cost, and I suppose in my mind some of my change does indeed belong to the server.  Assuming I was going to tip more than 99 cents, it's just part of doing business, and I would hate to ruin the experience of having a relaxing/fun meal out with complaining to the manager about less than a dollar. 

I have found it interesting to hear from the people who would have a stronger reaction that I.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: jaxsue on September 29, 2013, 01:09:38 PM
Back in the dark ages I waited tables. I never asked customers if they wanted the change. I would say, "I'll be right back with your change."
As for making change, I agree with the poster who said that some people simply don't know how to figure out the change due without help from technology. I am glad we were taught to count back change in math class at school. It's a skill you use your whole life. As servers we were expected to figure out tax and change.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Shoo on September 29, 2013, 04:41:32 PM
I am a server, & I admit to doing this at times, but only when the change is less than a quarter. I'm so annoyed at change in general, I don't know why we still use pennies, which to me are completely useless. I guess I assumed everyone felt the same way, but now I realize they don't! I will start bringing everyone their change.

Ever not get a tip and not know why?

I am glad you won't be doing that anymore.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: MrsJWine on September 29, 2013, 04:54:49 PM
I think it's completely possible that it could have been an accident. A lot of cash registers now spit out the coins for you, while you retrieve the bills from the drawer. When paying at the grocery store, I have forgotten to grab my OWN change on more than one occasion.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: delabela on September 29, 2013, 04:56:51 PM
I am a server, & I admit to doing this at times, but only when the change is less than a quarter. I'm so annoyed at change in general, I don't know why we still use pennies, which to me are completely useless. I guess I assumed everyone felt the same way, but now I realize they don't! I will start bringing everyone their change.

Ever not get a tip and not know why?

I am glad you won't be doing that anymore.

Please forgive me if it's not my place to say, but this seems harsh - especially when the poster is acknowledging she made an assumption that she realizes is incorrect and will not be making any more.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 29, 2013, 05:58:13 PM
I can't think of the last time I paid with cash at a restaurant, but this is something I doubt people will ever agree on. For me, it is so not an issue to round to the nearest dollar. I thought this would be a situation of giving a server a $50 on a $35 tab or something. I think there are enought people who think counting out 37 cents only to be handed it back is an exercise in silliness that it is unkind to portray the server as some sort of evil theif, trying to get rich 37 cents at a time. I can see sime people feel strongly otherwise, but I just can't get behind the "she is stealing my money" type spin on this. Sure, it's not technically the server's money, but social convention makes it reasonable for the server to assume she will be getting a tip and to a lot of people, 37 cents is just an annoying amount to carry around.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Miss Understood on September 29, 2013, 06:05:03 PM
Back in the dark ages I waited tables. I never asked customers if they wanted the change. I would say, "I'll be right back with your change."
As for making change, I agree with the poster who said that some people simply don't know how to figure out the change due without help from technology. I am glad we were taught to count back change in math class at school. It's a skill you use your whole life. As servers we were expected to figure out tax and change.

This was what I did too (also back in the dark ages).  90% of the time, if the person didn't in fact want change s/he would say so at that point.  However, sometimes they wouldn't hear me I guess so I would end up bringing back change even though it was obvious from the amount that it wasn't wanted ($33 on a $27 check for instance), because I had said I would.  Then I'd get the "are you mentally challenged?" look.  Oh well - better than looking presumptuous. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Shoo on September 29, 2013, 06:29:20 PM
I am a server, & I admit to doing this at times, but only when the change is less than a quarter. I'm so annoyed at change in general, I don't know why we still use pennies, which to me are completely useless. I guess I assumed everyone felt the same way, but now I realize they don't! I will start bringing everyone their change.

Ever not get a tip and not know why?

I am glad you won't be doing that anymore.

Please forgive me if it's not my place to say, but this seems harsh - especially when the poster is acknowledging she made an assumption that she realizes is incorrect and will not be making any more.

Harsh why?  It's something that's been brought up in this thread and I genuinely wonder. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 29, 2013, 06:43:01 PM
I can't think of the last time I paid with cash at a restaurant, but this is something I doubt people will ever agree on. For me, it is so not an issue to round to the nearest dollar. I thought this would be a situation of giving a server a $50 on a $35 tab or something. I think there are enought people who think counting out 37 cents only to be handed it back is an exercise in silliness that it is unkind to portray the server as some sort of evil theif, trying to get rich 37 cents at a time. I can see sime people feel strongly otherwise, but I just can't get behind the "she is stealing my money" type spin on this. Sure, it's not technically the server's money, but social convention makes it reasonable for the server to assume she will be getting a tip and to a lot of people, 37 cents is just an annoying amount to carry around.

I tend to keep the small coins and tip in full dollar amounts.  So a server not bringing back the coins would get less tip from me, especially if it was a smaller check.  On a $10 bill, I'd tip $2.  But I wouldn't tip $2.37 and if I don't have any other coinage to make up the $0.63, I'm only tipping $1, on top of the $0.37.  Maybe I am being petty but I'm not going to be forced into tipping more than I intended because the server failed to bring me all my change, whether by accident or on purpose.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: gollymolly2 on September 29, 2013, 06:44:14 PM
I can't think of the last time I paid with cash at a restaurant, but this is something I doubt people will ever agree on. For me, it is so not an issue to round to the nearest dollar. I thought this would be a situation of giving a server a $50 on a $35 tab or something. I think there are enought people who think counting out 37 cents only to be handed it back is an exercise in silliness that it is unkind to portray the server as some sort of evil theif, trying to get rich 37 cents at a time. I can see sime people feel strongly otherwise, but I just can't get behind the "she is stealing my money" type spin on this. Sure, it's not technically the server's money, but social convention makes it reasonable for the server to assume she will be getting a tip and to a lot of people, 37 cents is just an annoying amount to carry around.

I agree.

When I was a waitress, it was a pain to give back exact change for a variety of reasons. So I always rounded. Now, I always rounded up, so if I owed them 37 cents, I'd give back 50 cents, so I wasn't doing what people complain about here. But I certainly understand why some don't give change back and I can't imagine myself ever caring about someone keeping thirty cents that I was going to give anyway.

Between this thread and the thread about the family deciding to donate a dinner to the homeless, it seems like some people here are quick to be upset and find the negative in situations. Maybe part of etiquette should be assuming the best about others and not making mountains out of molehills.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: delabela on September 29, 2013, 06:45:13 PM
I am a server, & I admit to doing this at times, but only when the change is less than a quarter. I'm so annoyed at change in general, I don't know why we still use pennies, which to me are completely useless. I guess I assumed everyone felt the same way, but now I realize they don't! I will start bringing everyone their change.

Ever not get a tip and not know why?

I am glad you won't be doing that anymore.

Please forgive me if it's not my place to say, but this seems harsh - especially when the poster is acknowledging she made an assumption that she realizes is incorrect and will not be making any more.

Harsh why?  It's something that's been brought up in this thread and I genuinely wonder.

Possibly due to the limits of relaying tone in writing - but I thought your statement came across as sarcastic and a bit like taunting the poster.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 29, 2013, 06:50:57 PM
When I was a waitress, it was a pain to give back exact change for a variety of reasons. So I always rounded. Now, I always rounded up, so if I owed them 37 cents, I'd give back 50 cents, so I wasn't doing what people complain about here. But I certainly understand why some don't give change back and I can't imagine myself ever caring about someone keeping thirty cents that I was going to give anyway.

I wouldn't have a problem with this.  If you are giving me back change, rounded to the nearest quarter, that's fine.  Here in Canada, we've actually done away with the penny so I would only be expecting 35 cents, anyway.  It is the principle of the matter, for me. 

I once loaned someone a package of Kraft Dinner.  She told me she would replace it.  Then when it came time to do that, she told me to buy it and she'd reimburse me.  When I replaced it at full cost, when I'd normally only buy it on sale, and told her how much she owed me?  She refused to pay me.  Yes, it was less than $1 but it was the principle of the matter.  And I see this very similarly.  And no, I never loaned her anything ever again.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: rose red on September 29, 2013, 07:18:12 PM
I've been a waitress and a cashier and even if it's a pain (which I never thought it was.  There are many reasons I hate those jobs, but counting coins was not one of them), I give back the full amount.  It's not my money even if it's only a penny.  I doubt the owner of the store/restaurant will forgive .37 cents from each customer just because the customers think it's a pain to fumble and count out coins when it's time to pay (yes, I know most customers pay with bills, but for those who hate coins or don't want all those coins back for a bill of $10.13, they will need to fumble for the exact change.)
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: gollymolly2 on September 29, 2013, 07:25:14 PM
I've been a waitress and a cashier and even if it's a pain (which I never thought it was.  There are many reasons I hate those jobs, but counting coins was not one of them), I give back the full amount.  It's not my money even if it's only a penny.  I doubt the owner of the store/restaurant will forgive .37 cents from each customer just because the customers think it's a pain to fumble and count out coins when it's time to pay (yes, I know most customers pay with bills, but for those who hate coins or don't want all those coins back for a bill of $10.13, they will need to fumble for the exact change.)

In my experience, some places have cash registers, in which case it's very easy to make change. And others require servers to be their own cashiers - so the servers have to bring in their own bill and coin change each day and carry it around. For those places, there are lots of reasons it can be difficult to make exact change (you don't want to carry around a ton of coins, a few customers end up needing a lot of change, resulting in you running out of coins, etc). Not saying it's a huge ordeal, but lots of tiles it was easier to just round (up) than to find another server or the bartender and have them break a dime for you.

Not saying that it's good practice to give back less change than is owed. I just don't see any need to assign nefarious intentions. Just doesn't seem like a big deal. It's a matter of cents.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 29, 2013, 07:25:44 PM
I think there is a difference between a cashier and a waitress. A cashier has a cash register and there is no expectation of a tip. Like I said, I don't pay in cash but a typical lunch for two might be $34.17 and I would just add $7 as roughly 20% and call it a day for a total of $41.17. If for some reason I were paying cash I bet I would put two twenties and a five and leave it all for a total of $45. In my circle of colleagues and friends, my approach is typical. As a former server I feel tipping is a part of eating out.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sharnita on September 29, 2013, 07:42:54 PM
I don't see failure to return the appropriate change because it was too much effort or because you don't know how as being all that superior to avarice.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 29, 2013, 07:50:41 PM
I don't see failure to return the appropriate change because it was too much effort or because you don't know how as being all that superior to avarice.

I think there is (at least) a third reason of "because it is a pointless exercise." When I was cocktailing I can think of very few times a person actually wanted their change as in coins back. I think I always asked but the answer was 99.99% percent, "don't be silly." I see not everyone agrees, but I don't think it's fair to paint the change-keeping servers as maliciously taking advantage of their customers or as too stupid to count change.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Shoo on September 29, 2013, 08:25:09 PM
I am a server, & I admit to doing this at times, but only when the change is less than a quarter. I'm so annoyed at change in general, I don't know why we still use pennies, which to me are completely useless. I guess I assumed everyone felt the same way, but now I realize they don't! I will start bringing everyone their change.

Ever not get a tip and not know why?

I am glad you won't be doing that anymore.

Please forgive me if it's not my place to say, but this seems harsh - especially when the poster is acknowledging she made an assumption that she realizes is incorrect and will not be making any more.

Harsh why?  It's something that's been brought up in this thread and I genuinely wonder.

Possibly due to the limits of relaying tone in writing - but I thought your statement came across as sarcastic and a bit like taunting the poster.

I read it the same way.

So even when I've explained what I meant, you still felt the need to join in and bash me?  Nice.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: June24 on September 29, 2013, 09:33:56 PM
I don't see failure to return the appropriate change because it was too much effort or because you don't know how as being all that superior to avarice.

I think there is (at least) a third reason of "because it is a pointless exercise." When I was cocktailing I can think of very few times a person actually wanted their change as in coins back. I think I always asked but the answer was 99.99% percent, "don't be silly." I see not everyone agrees, but I don't think it's fair to paint the change-keeping servers as maliciously taking advantage of their customers or as too stupid to count change.

Yeah, I agree. I think the opinions of people on ehell sometimes differ very substantially from the opinions of a lot of people I know in real life. I like getting another perspective, but sometimes I'm pretty surprised. I don't think I know anyone or have ever been to dinner with anyone who would care about not getting back coins. Most people I know factor it into their tip or don't take much notice of it at all.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: bellacullen on September 29, 2013, 10:59:53 PM
I work at a restaurant and I can guarantee you it's not malicious in intent. We round. We don't carry change, just bills. So if you change back is 3.42 we will give you back 3. But if it is 3.50 we will give back 4.

No one is trying to steal from anyone. It is just easier all the way around and it evens out for us at the end. If a customer wanted exact change back I would have to probably go out to my car and dig through my change cup because we just don't have it. On that same note. If a customer really wanted their 42 cents back I might internally roll my eyes but I wouldn't argue with them either.

To the poster that said they would demand an explanation... That's really not necessary. If I were asked for the change back I would immediately explain why it wasn't given and ask if you were able to wait while I track down 42 cents.

Like I said no one is trying to steal from any one in these cases, and I think it's a bit odd that anyone would think that a server would steal 40 some odd cents. Because really, as much as we rely on our tips, 40 cents is not going to be the difference between a great shift or a bad one.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Mel the Redcap on September 29, 2013, 11:26:20 PM
Are all the posters who are saying "I work at a restaurant, we always round the change" or "Nobody ever wants the coins" or "I never care about the coins" in the US? I'm in Australia, and I've never seen anyone assume that not getting every cent of your change could possibly be OK. ??? If the server was keeping it, that would be petty theft, and if the restaurant was keeping it, that would be fraud - and either way there would be trouble! The thing about rounding your change to the nearest dollar wouldn't fly, either. We round to the nearest 5c and we have RULES about how you're meant to do it! ;)

I wonder if it's at least partly because we're not a tipping culture here? In places that do tip as a matter of course, perhaps a lot of people feel that you're going to be giving your server some of your change anyway, so it's no big deal to start with the coins?
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: mbbored on September 29, 2013, 11:30:29 PM
I am a server, & I admit to doing this at times, but only when the change is less than a quarter. I'm so annoyed at change in general, I don't know why we still use pennies, which to me are completely useless. I guess I assumed everyone felt the same way, but now I realize they don't! I will start bringing everyone their change.

Ever not get a tip and not know why?

I am glad you won't be doing that anymore.

Please forgive me if it's not my place to say, but this seems harsh - especially when the poster is acknowledging she made an assumption that she realizes is incorrect and will not be making any more.

Harsh why?  It's something that's been brought up in this thread and I genuinely wonder.

Possibly due to the limits of relaying tone in writing - but I thought your statement came across as sarcastic and a bit like taunting the poster.

I read it the same way.

So even when I've explained what I meant, you still felt the need to join in and bash me?  Nice.

It doesn't come across as bashing; it comes across as conversation and debate, which happens often on this board.
Title: !
Post by: Amara on September 29, 2013, 11:32:55 PM
I work at a restaurant and I can guarantee you it's not malicious in intent. We round. We don't carry change, just bills. So if you change back is 3.42 we will give you back 3. But if it is 3.50 we will give back 4.

...

Like I said no one is trying to steal from any one in these cases, and I think it's a bit odd that anyone would think that a server would steal 40 some odd cents. Because really, as much as we rely on our tips, 40 cents is not going to be the difference between a great shift or a bad one.

I'm telling on my age here but in the early 1970s, just after I turned 21, I worked for a couple of years as a cocktail waitress. We always gave the proper change back, and though the bartenders had cash registers we were expected to bring in the money we would need for the evening to make change. (If needed, the bartenders would make change for us, but that was a back-up method and not the primary one.) I never thought, and I know none of my colleagues, ever thought about keeping any change despite customers who would often say, "Keep the change" meaning keep the bills and coins left over.

I also worked retail for a while earlier and learned the old-fashioned way to count change back so every coin became valuable to me and, I assumed, to others. How much was shown to me recently when I finally put all those pennies that had built up to an annoying amount into one of those coin machines at the market and without any fee received back an Amazon gift certificate for $17.84! Pennies really do add up.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Psychopoesie on September 30, 2013, 12:02:57 AM
I work at a restaurant and I can guarantee you it's not malicious in intent. We round. We don't carry change, just bills. So if you change back is 3.42 we will give you back 3. But if it is 3.50 we will give back 4.

No one is trying to steal from anyone. It is just easier all the way around and it evens out for us at the end. If a customer wanted exact change back I would have to probably go out to my car and dig through my change cup because we just don't have it. On that same note. If a customer really wanted their 42 cents back I might internally roll my eyes but I wouldn't argue with them either.

To the poster that said they would demand an explanation... That's really not necessary. If I were asked for the change back I would immediately explain why it wasn't given and ask if you were able to wait while I track down 42 cents.

Like I said no one is trying to steal from any one in these cases, and I think it's a bit odd that anyone would think that a server would steal 40 some odd cents. Because really, as much as we rely on our tips, 40 cents is not going to be the difference between a great shift or a bad one.

Another Aussie who's a bit shocked at the idea of a waiter (or anyone really) keeping the change without being asked. I also wouldn't view keeping 42 cents change as rounding. Rounding to the nearest whole dollar seems a bit over the top.

I can sort of see that it might be if someone gave 40 cents change instead of 42. I'd also expect a genuine rounding arrangement to work both ways - so if 44 cents was owed, the waiter would give back 45. This sort of arrangement works in Australia (everything's rounded to nearest 5) but only because it's the law and everyone knows (or should) the rules.

Our lowest denomination is now 5 cents but I grew up using 1 and 2 cent pieces and honestly can't see why it's so difficult to give people back the change they're owed.

Maybe it's because we're not really a tipping culture.  But even when we all chip in for a meal and round up what we're owed, the restaurant will bring the change back to the table unless you remember to tell them to keep it.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: jaxsue on September 30, 2013, 12:08:05 AM
Amara, like you I like collecting change and turning it in for gift cards. I do it once every couple of years, and it is usually about $50 worth. Several years ago my DS cashed in about 10 yrs' worth of change. It was over $400!
I didn't grow up with much, so even .40 in change means something to me.  :)
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: MariaE on September 30, 2013, 12:23:14 AM
Shoo, FWIW I read your comment as a genuine and non-snarky question.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Miss Understood on September 30, 2013, 12:29:19 AM
I think what some current servers are saying is that they round up or down depending on the amount.  I didn't do that in my (dinosaur) day but it's not inherently unreasonable for them to give back $22 when the real change is $21.50, nor is it somehow reprehensible when the same server gives back $22 when the real change is $22.37 (although in that particular case, had I been the server I would have just given back $23 - 63 cents are not worth worrying about).

For such a germ-obsessed forum, I am surprised that so many are adamant that their food servers handle money as much as possible - there are few things as dirty as money (I mean that in a literal sense) and they can't be washing their hands every minute.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sharnita on September 30, 2013, 05:09:49 AM
I am from the US and I definitely don't agree it is OK. I have never been to a restaurant that had no coins to make change. That sounds like irresponsible business at the most basic level.

Yes it is difficult to carry coins back. There are tedious, difficult parts of any job. That df oesn't really seem like a good reason to give someone all their money back.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: perpetua on September 30, 2013, 05:28:01 AM
I work at a restaurant and I can guarantee you it's not malicious in intent. We round. We don't carry change, just bills. So if you change back is 3.42 we will give you back 3. But if it is 3.50 we will give back 4.

No one is trying to steal from anyone. It is just easier all the way around and it evens out for us at the end.

It doesn't even out for the person you're shorting. It's their money, and you're taking it.

I'm also stunned that people are saying that servers may not know how to make change. It's basic maths. Are kids not taught this in school any more?
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: menley on September 30, 2013, 07:35:43 AM
I work at a restaurant and I can guarantee you it's not malicious in intent. We round. We don't carry change, just bills. So if you change back is 3.42 we will give you back 3. But if it is 3.50 we will give back 4.

No one is trying to steal from anyone. It is just easier all the way around and it evens out for us at the end.

It doesn't even out for the person you're shorting. It's their money, and you're taking it.

I'm also stunned that people are saying that servers may not know how to make change. It's basic maths. Are kids not taught this in school any more?

I agree with this completely - it may even out for the restaurant over the course of time but for the individual person who paid, they are getting shortchanged. Literally.

I'm from the US (lived there 29 years) and have always received my exact change. If I didn't, I would tell the server and I would expect her to promptly give it to me. But if she said "Oh yeah, we just keep it because it evens out in the end", I would not only not tip her, but I would speak to the management of the restaurant and likely not eat at the restaurant again.

Yes, bellacullen, in your example it may only be $0.43, but it's my money, not yours, and it's not up to you to decide what to do with it.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 30, 2013, 07:36:15 AM
Rounding to the nearest dollar?  That's just too much, IMO.  I'd accept rounding to the nearest quarter.

And what this whole discussion has really taught me is that if I don't have the exact change for the bill and what I want to leave as a tip, I'm using my credit card.  Which costs the restaurant money.  But if they make the decision to not give me all my change back?  That's the price they have to pay.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Mel the Redcap on September 30, 2013, 07:51:36 AM
For such a germ-obsessed forum, I am surprised that so many are adamant that their food servers handle money as much as possible - there are few things as dirty as money (I mean that in a literal sense) and they can't be washing their hands every minute.

In most restaurants, the person handling your food is not the person handling your money - if a waitress is actually, physically touching the food (not just the plate) there's something badly wrong with their training! Even at Subway or MacDonalds, the person operating the till doesn't touch the food until it's been wrapped up by the person who actually made it. In situations where the same person is making the food and taking my money, they'd better be wearing disposable gloves to touch the food and taking them off to work the till, or I won't be eating there again. Yes it's a pain, but it's necessary.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Another Sarah on September 30, 2013, 08:11:40 AM
I think this is definitely an America thing, in the UK if you didn't give someone their change back, you'd probably be fired.
Having said that, I've worked as a waitress and in retail and it's entirely possible to do this by accident, even if the restaurant isn't that busy, you could have a manager in your ear, another table asking for help, an order waiting to be taken out, and you can just slip up while trying to do too many things at once (no, I wasn't a very good waitress)

I think your first approach in the first restaurant was right, and it's unlucky that you had a bad experience with it (I'd probably have given my friend an earbashing after we left the restaurant if they told me it was "only 64 cents"- it was YOUR 64 cents) but I'd ask for your money back every time, and if they got shirty with me, they wouldn't get any tip, cents or not.

Also - and this is genuine curiosity not snark here - to all those people saying that they round up or down, does nobody cash up and check the amounts? I would be really surprised if being constantly up/down didn't really annoy the boss at closing time?
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 08:30:31 AM
Also - and this is genuine curiosity not snark here - to all those people saying that they round up or down, does nobody cash up and check the amounts? I would be really surprised if being constantly up/down didn't really annoy the boss at closing time?

When I was a cocktail server, I handled thousands of dollars per night, and I kept my own "bank."  This meant I made my own change.  Credit cards were "easy" because I just had to keep the receipts.  Making change could be difficult because one table could clear out all the small bills and coins I had, and going to the bartender for change could take a very long time during a busy period. 

At the end of the night, I had to be sure the bar/establishment got all the money owed to it, I had to report the money I made in tips for tax purposes, and I had to tip out the bartenders and barbacks. The manager went over this with each cocktail/server every shift.

I think what a lot of posters are missing is that in the US there really is a "tipping culture."  For example, I may be a little off on the specifics but when I was cocktailing I had to report at least 8% of my sales as tips, whether I made that money or not.  In addition, I had to tip to the bartenders and barbacks I think 8% of my liquor sales  whether I was tipped on it or not. Thankfully, I was very good at my job and I generally "walked" at the end of a typical shift with $200-300 in tips on average.  My point though is that probably a lot of servers are taxed as though of course they have been tipped.  It is expected in the US.  Yes, the establishment checks to be certain it has been paid, and balances the books, but there is a whole lot more to it than that.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: dawbs on September 30, 2013, 08:34:04 AM
For such a germ-obsessed forum, I am surprised that so many are adamant that their food servers handle money as much as possible - there are few things as dirty as money (I mean that in a literal sense) and they can't be washing their hands every minute.

In most restaurants, the person handling your food is not the person handling your money - if a waitress is actually, physically touching the food (not just the plate) there's something badly wrong with their training! Even at Subway or MacDonalds, the person operating the till doesn't touch the food until it's been wrapped up by the person who actually made it. In situations where the same person is making the food and taking my money, they'd better be wearing disposable gloves to touch the food and taking them off to work the till, or I won't be eating there again. Yes it's a pain, but it's necessary.
From a microbe and sanitation standpoint, touching the plate isn't any different than touching the food.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sophia on September 30, 2013, 08:50:37 AM
When I was a young, I worked for a little while at a Steak and Ale (in the U.S.)   The most experienced waitress told me to do that.  She said that people are annoyed to receive the coins.  I never could, though.  Although, I sometimes asked if they would like coins in their change. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Another Sarah on September 30, 2013, 08:52:09 AM
Thanks Turtledove, that makes more sense now - I didn't know that in the US tips are taxable either!
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sharnita on September 30, 2013, 08:52:25 AM
Also - and this is genuine curiosity not snark here - to all those people saying that they round up or down, does nobody cash up and check the amounts? I would be really surprised if being constantly up/down didn't really annoy the boss at closing time?

When I was a cocktail server, I handled thousands of dollars per night, and I kept my own "bank."  This meant I made my own change.  Credit cards were "easy" because I just had to keep the receipts.  Making change could be difficult because one table could clear out all the small bills and coins I had, and going to the bartender for change could take a very long time during a busy period. 

At the end of the night, I had to be sure the bar/establishment got all the money owed to it, I had to report the money I made in tips for tax purposes, and I had to tip out the bartenders and barbacks. The manager went over this with each cocktail/server every shift.

I think what a lot of posters are missing is that in the US there really is a "tipping culture."  For example, I may be a little off on the specifics but when I was cocktailing I had to report at least 8% of my sales as tips, whether I made that money or not.  In addition, I had to tip to the bartenders and barbacks I think 8% of my liquor sales  whether I was tipped on it or not. Thankfully, I was very good at my job and I generally "walked" at the end of a typical shift with $200-300 in tips on average.  My point though is that probably a lot of servers are taxed as though of course they have been tipped.  It is expected in the US.  Yes, the establishment checks to be certain it has been paid, and balances the books, but there is a whole lot more to it than that.

Well, yes, we have a tipping culture,  The thinking behind that is that it encourages superior service.  Getting back all of the money from my check is the minimum service due me.  I'd get that in a country with no tipping culture.  I should get better, not worse, service from wait staff likely to be tipped well.

Fortunately in my part of the US I have not really run into the mindset from wait staff.  It certainly isn't common around here. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 08:58:47 AM
Fortunately in my part of the US I have not really run into the mindset from wait staff.  It certainly isn't common around here.

Do you typically pay in cash?  Do you typically tip?  Is it that you would want to keep the 37 cents (or whatever it is) and only leave tips in solid dollar amounts?  The mindset that I've experienced isn't "I am going to scam this money, a few cents at a time!!!!!!" but rather, "most people find change annoying, and will leave it as a tip anyway."

Now that I think about this though, if I were to leave just cash I would be including the tip in the amount I leave.  I am wondering whether some posters are talking about the kind of restaurant where you pay a cashier? 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sharnita on September 30, 2013, 09:01:56 AM
Yes, I frequently pay in cash.  Yes I tip. I do not usually pay the cashier. I don't really care what your mindset about my money is, the point is that it is my money.  It is my mindset that matters so give it to me and let me decide from there.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 30, 2013, 09:07:46 AM
If my bill is, for example, $9.63 and I only have a $20 on me, I expect to get $11.37 in change.  I will then leave a $2 tip, which is what I leave for checks in the $10 range - I tip a little higher on small checks because the server has had to do the same amount of work.  It isn't their fault that I ordered something cheap.

If I don't get the coins back, I'm not leaving a further $2 as tip.  At most, I'm leaving an additional dollar.  So a server not bringing me all my change?  Is going to get less of a tip.

It really isn't as big a problem here in Canada, though, because our smallest bill is a $5.  So servers have to bring coinage, regardless, and so bring all the change.  And if the change is $15.37, you'll quite often get a $10, 1 or 2 $2 coins and 3 or 1 $1 coins as your change so you can leave a tip.  If they bring you a $10 and a $5 bill, you might not have the small stuff to leave a tip.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Wordgeek on September 30, 2013, 09:09:46 AM
Shoo is taking a break from the forum.

Everyone else, carry on.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 09:14:16 AM
I don't usually pay cash at restaurants, but I do at my nail salon.  So if the pedicure is $35, I might hand the person who did my toes two twenties and a ten (so $50) and say something like, "I would just like $8 back" (so it's a 20% or $7 tip).  If I were to have a $9.63 bill at a restaurant and only have a $20 I bet I would say, "Can I just get $8 back please?"  Because I would not want the coins, and because the 37 cents means more to the server than it does to me, especially when the time value of money is factored in.  If this were a fully stocked cash register event with no expectation of tipping, I might "expect" my change back but I most typically would toss the change into the "need a penny take a penny, have a penny leave a penny" jar.

Different approaches, both are fine.  I just bristle at the commentary from some that the servers are thieves and diabolically motivated to steal small amounts of changes from patrons. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: gollymolly2 on September 30, 2013, 10:35:22 AM

I'm also stunned that people are saying that servers may not know how to make change. It's basic maths. Are kids not taught this in school any more?

Of course we learn addition and subtraction in school. That can't be a serious question.

I may have missed it, but did anyone actually say that they round the change because they can't do the math? I think I was the first to say that making change can be inconvenient, but I meant it in the sense of logistics, not because it's too difficult to count.

Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: wolfie on September 30, 2013, 10:37:12 AM

I'm also stunned that people are saying that servers may not know how to make change. It's basic maths. Are kids not taught this in school any more?

Of course we learn addition and subtraction in school. That can't be a serious question.

I may have missed it, but did anyone actually say that they round the change because they can't do the math? I think I was the first to say that making change can be inconvenient, but I meant it in the sense of logistics, not because it's too difficult to count.

Yes - someone did throw that out as a possibility. I don't think they said they themselves didn't know how but they said that some wait staff don't know how.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: perpetua on September 30, 2013, 10:41:51 AM

I'm also stunned that people are saying that servers may not know how to make change. It's basic maths. Are kids not taught this in school any more?

Of course we learn addition and subtraction in school. That can't be a serious question.

I may have missed it, but did anyone actually say that they round the change because they can't do the math? I think I was the first to say that making change can be inconvenient, but I meant it in the sense of logistics, not because it's too difficult to count.

It was, actually. Several people in this thread wondered whether perhaps the server didn't know how to make change properly, so my post was in response to that.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 10:43:31 AM
One thing I think some posters are not grasping is that most servers do not have access to a cash register during their shift.  The coins they carry around are heavy.  Especially if a server is expected to make change down to the 37 cents that is at least four coins right there - a quarter, a dime and two pennies.  Imagine this over the course of an entire shift.  If the 37 cents is important to a patron, by all means they should ask for it.  But they should also not be upset if it takes a while to get it.  It could require the server to get a bartender to take the time to make change out of a larger bill, and at some points this could take quite a while.  If it were me, and I were a busy server, and a patron asked for the 37 cents, I would forfeit the 63 cents and give a whole dollar because the time value of 37 cents is just so silly to me.  In my experience, someone wanting the coins was very rare, and I was generally tipped very very well. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: baglady on September 30, 2013, 11:07:56 AM
One thing I think some posters are not grasping is that most servers do not have access to a cash register during their shift.  The coins they carry around are heavy.  Especially if a server is expected to make change down to the 37 cents that is at least four coins right there - a quarter, a dime and two pennies.  Imagine this over the course of an entire shift.  If the 37 cents is important to a patron, by all means they should ask for it.  But they should also not be upset if it takes a while to get it.  It could require the server to get a bartender to take the time to make change out of a larger bill, and at some points this could take quite a while.  If it were me, and I were a busy server, and a patron asked for the 37 cents, I would forfeit the 63 cents and give a whole dollar because the time value of 37 cents is just so silly to me.  In my experience, someone wanting the coins was very rare, and I was generally tipped very very well.

Really? I've never heard of a server not having access to the register. Maybe it's the sort of places I go to eat, but all the servers I know of use the registers all the time. I've never heard of one carrying around cash to make change, except at a food booth at the fair or something similar. I believe you -- just never seen such a thing.

Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: gollymolly2 on September 30, 2013, 11:11:16 AM
I worked at 4 or so low/midrange restaurants (most checks per person coming to $15-20) and each of those places required servers to carry their own banks. I certainly don't think its uniform across all restaurants or anything, but it's certainly a common practice.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: bellacullen on September 30, 2013, 11:18:08 AM
*snip*
Also - and this is genuine curiosity not snark here - to all those people saying that they round up or down, does nobody cash up and check the amounts? I would be really surprised if being constantly up/down didn't really annoy the boss at closing time?

I don't know about over places. I can only answer for the restaurant I work in , but we round at the end of the night as well. 

Each server has a unique log in to the computer system. At the end of the night they each run a server report. This states how much in sales each person has and breaks it down by food and alcohol. This also tells you how much cash you owe the restaurant or, if you've had only CC all day, how much the restaurant owes you. We add up the alcohol sales and take 4% of that to tip out the bar.  If that tip out comes to 17.50 we give 18. We then take 2% of the total food sales and give that to the  bus boy. If that comes out to 13.49 we give 13. The amount we  owe the restaurant is rounded as well. If the report says we owe anything under X.50 we round down to x. If we owe anything X.50 or more we round up to  y.

So even the restaurant is rounding.

This is my first time working in a restaurant so I thought that was just how it was done. I haven't seen anyone complain as of yet. So this thread is the first I'm hearing of people not liking the practice.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on September 30, 2013, 11:39:54 AM
If they don't have access to a register, how do they charge credit cards?
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: gollymolly2 on September 30, 2013, 11:43:41 AM
Typically there's a POS system, where you can put in orders and swipe credit cards, but no actual cash drawer.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: mich3554 on September 30, 2013, 12:22:21 PM
I work at a restaurant and I can guarantee you it's not malicious in intent. We round. We don't carry change, just bills. So if you change back is 3.42 we will give you back 3. But if it is 3.50 we will give back 4.

I have NEVER been rounded up to the higher bill amount, and eat out in restaurants quite a bit.  However, I HAVE been rounded down (even when my change should be $4.75, I'd get back $4).

In the few times where I do not receive change, I take this into account in the tip and you'll find that you receive less from both me and my b/f as both of us deal with the situation the same way.  So if don't give me my change, I will likely take that into consideration and you *might* get a bare 15% vs a normal 20-25%.  If you come to me and tell me that you don't have change, then I may have change to make up the balance, or may tell you to forget it....but this is MY choice to make, not your's.

I'm guessing that I'm not the only one who will do this.  So ultimately it's going to hurt you more.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 12:30:55 PM
If they don't have access to a register, how do they charge credit cards?

What gollymolly2 said.  It's all electronic and there is no register or cash involved at all. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on September 30, 2013, 12:40:16 PM
If they don't have access to a register, how do they charge credit cards?

What gollymolly2 said.  It's all electronic and there is no register or cash involved at all.

That doesn't seem efficient.

Either way, it's not the customer's fault it's so much more difficult and it's not up to them to, literally, pay for it even if it's just a few cents. It's rather presumptious to say that customers have to ask for their own money back in order to get it.

I usually pay cash at restaurants and I've never counted change before, but I sure will now. Although, I've never experienced not getting change back when it's warranted (didn't count it, but there were coins!) so maybe it's not as widespread as I fear.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 12:44:46 PM
That doesn't seem efficient.


I think it comes down to the type of restaurant we are talking about.  The ones I am familiar with all have each server carying his or her own bank and squaring up at the end of the shift.  There isn't a cash register except for at the bar.  There is not an ability to pay at the front; you pay your server. 

You might be talking about a restaurant that has a front counter with a cash register or something?  I am not familiar with those, unless it is a truck stop type restaurant.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: menley on September 30, 2013, 01:03:04 PM
That doesn't seem efficient.


I think it comes down to the type of restaurant we are talking about.  The ones I am familiar with all have each server carying his or her own bank and squaring up at the end of the shift.  There isn't a cash register except for at the bar.  There is not an ability to pay at the front; you pay your server. 

You might be talking about a restaurant that has a front counter with a cash register or something?  I am not familiar with those, unless it is a truck stop type restaurant.

Granted, I'm not a server and I generally don't follow them around at restaurants :) But at the restaurants I've been to in the US, when I *have* noticed the servers giving change, they are going to the main register towards the back of the restaurant.

Where I live now (Europe), I'm more likely to see a server wearing a belt of money and making change at the table, but I'd still say it's a 50/50 split between making change at the table and going back to the register. (With cash, that is; with credit cards, they bring a portable card machine directly to your table, which I LOVE. My card never disappears from sight.)

Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Donovan on September 30, 2013, 01:07:51 PM
That doesn't seem efficient.


I think it comes down to the type of restaurant we are talking about.  The ones I am familiar with all have each server carying his or her own bank and squaring up at the end of the shift.  There isn't a cash register except for at the bar.  There is not an ability to pay at the front; you pay your server. 

You might be talking about a restaurant that has a front counter with a cash register or something?  I am not familiar with those, unless it is a truck stop type restaurant.


I've never been to a restaurant where the server was the bank.  They bring the bill, you plunk down your card or cash, they pick it back up and disappear somewhere to run the card or get the change, and then they return it to you.  Must be a regional thing.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TootsNYC on September 30, 2013, 01:08:05 PM
Back in the dark ages I waited tables. I never asked customers if they wanted the change. I would say, "I'll be right back with your change."
As for making change, I agree with the poster who said that some people simply don't know how to figure out the change due without help from technology. I am glad we were taught to count back change in math class at school. It's a skill you use your whole life. As servers we were expected to figure out tax and change.

This was what I did too (also back in the dark ages).  90% of the time, if the person didn't in fact want change s/he would say so at that point.  However, sometimes they wouldn't hear me I guess so I would end up bringing back change even though it was obvious from the amount that it wasn't wanted ($33 on a $27 check for instance), because I had said I would.  Then I'd get the "are you mentally challenged?" look.  Oh well - better than looking presumptuous.

It would actually not always be safe--I might keep the $6 in singles and leave a $10 on the table.

I'm one of those who doesn't care if the person says, without looking, "Will you need change?" They're only asking, "Will it be another trip?" It's a logistical thing and has nothing to do with them trying to get more of my money.

Because it's NYC, and we ALL want to avoid wasted trips, etc. I don't want to be interrupted again with my change if it's all in there, and if I'm mid-conversation I may not be able to preemptively tell the server, "you can keep the change."
   And many, many times in NYC, people will put the tip all in the folder. It's very common. I would say that most of us NYCers try to *always* do that, if it's at all possible. We figure out the tip at the exact time we're paying the bill, and we try to put exact change in the folder. Because we don't like wasted trips.

I've never encountered anyone who kept the coins, though.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: 123sandy on September 30, 2013, 01:14:38 PM
My change is my change, to the penny! If you keep loose change that will be your tip!!! I'm gobsmacked anyone would think I didn't want all of my change because they can't be bothered with coins....
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sharnita on September 30, 2013, 01:17:48 PM
Chain type places where I get (and expect all my change - including coins): Unos, Red Lobster, Applebees, Outback, etc. Same for non- chain restaurants. I have also been to nicer plices, smething. So, no, not truck stop/diner specific.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on September 30, 2013, 01:20:59 PM
That doesn't seem efficient.


I think it comes down to the type of restaurant we are talking about.  The ones I am familiar with all have each server carying his or her own bank and squaring up at the end of the shift.  There isn't a cash register except for at the bar.  There is not an ability to pay at the front; you pay your server. 

You might be talking about a restaurant that has a front counter with a cash register or something?  I am not familiar with those, unless it is a truck stop type restaurant.

I've never seen servers carrying around money, so maybe that's where the disconnect is. Still, I don't think this set up at all excuses thinking you're entitled to someone else's change because it's more of an effort to get it.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: DavidH on September 30, 2013, 01:28:40 PM
It seems a bit much to round to the nearest dollar, but I wouldn't mind rounding to the nearest 5 cents since I really don't need or particularly want the pennies.  Always rounding down to the nearest dollar for change seems a recipe for lower tips to me.  For example, if lunch were $7.75, I'd probably leave $2, and take the quarter, but if all I got back was $2, I'd leave a tip of $1.75 rather than $2.75.  If the bill were $7.73, I can't see the 2 pennies mattering either way. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Editeer on September 30, 2013, 01:36:21 PM
I'm in the US, and I have never had my change rounded. (I have had waitstaff ask, "Do you need change?") It would not sit well with me. Sure, it's only 43 cents, but it's MY decision what to do with my money, not the restaurant's decision.
But I rarely go out for drinks, so perhaps the rounding is common at bars and I just haven't experienced it. However, I do eat out.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 01:38:21 PM
I've never seen servers carrying around money, so maybe that's where the disconnect is. Still, I don't think this at set up at all excuses thinking you're entitled to someone else's change because it's more of an effort to get it.

I don't think anyone is saying it's an entitlement - I think we all agree the server should and would give the change if asked.  I think it's more a reality of the situation type thing.  I think different experiences are coloring the responses here.  I don't think a server is "entitled" to my 37 cents.  I just would, as a matter of course, not even think twice about including it as part of the tip.  To me, that is common.

When I was a server, at various places maybe 15-20 years ago, I always carried all the money involved during my shift in my apron, all shift, until I squared up with the manager at the end of my shift.  At three different places we all handled money essentially the same way, and there was no cash register available to me.  If I needed change during my shift I had to bother the bartender (who would not be happy about this) or somehow tip a busboy or someone to run to a nearby store or something to get change.  I did carry change with me - I forget what the suggested amount was, but I think it was maybe five dollars in coins and enough to break a twenty in bills.  When I would ask a table if they needed change, it certainly was not my thinking I was entitled to anything.  It was more a reality of if they didn't need change, I could move on to the next task.  If they did, I would make change.  Like I said, it was pretty rare that people wanted coin change.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: gollymolly2 on September 30, 2013, 01:40:30 PM
That doesn't seem efficient.


I think it comes down to the type of restaurant we are talking about.  The ones I am familiar with all have each server carying his or her own bank and squaring up at the end of the shift.  There isn't a cash register except for at the bar.  There is not an ability to pay at the front; you pay your server. 

You might be talking about a restaurant that has a front counter with a cash register or something?  I am not familiar with those, unless it is a truck stop type restaurant.


I've never been to a restaurant where the server was the bank.  They bring the bill, you plunk down your card or cash, they pick it back up and disappear somewhere to run the card or get the change, and then they return it to you.  Must be a regional thing.

When I was a waitress and "disappeared to the back" it was to pull the cash and coins out of my book and make change. Not to go to a cash register. So you really never know how a particular restaurant handles it unless you see the cash coming out of the register. :)

In any event, at least speaking for myself, my point was never "it's inconvenient to make change down to the penny so it's cool if servers  fail to do so." I just think this is likely the explanation for the waiter's actions, rather than the suggestions earlier in the thread that waiters who do this are being intentionally greedy or malicious.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Donovan on September 30, 2013, 01:45:24 PM
So you have to keep your own 'register' in the back somewhere?  Do you have a credit card thingie too?
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 01:49:16 PM
So you have to keep your own 'register' in the back somewhere?  Do you have a credit card thingie too?

No.  You keep it all in your apron.  This is what I mean by "coins are heavy."  I carried all of the money involved in my apron, all shift long.  Credit card receipts took up less space.  There was a credit card machine near where we input orders into the computer, but not a cash register.  Servers did not comingle funds.  We each were our own "cash register" carried in our own aprons.

Edited to add, I never let my apron out of my sight, or even off of my body, during a shift because it contained thousands of dollars in either cash or credit card receipts.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 30, 2013, 02:03:05 PM
Here, I've seen lots of servers in bars that happen to have restaurants operate the way Turtledove outlines.  But restaurants that happen to have bars (or not) don't operate this way.  Or if they do, the servers don't carry a lot of cash in their aprons that I can see.  And since our smallest bill is a $5, I think it would be noticeable.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on September 30, 2013, 02:08:50 PM
I've never seen servers carrying around money, so maybe that's where the disconnect is. Still, I don't think this at set up at all excuses thinking you're entitled to someone else's change because it's more of an effort to get it.

I don't think anyone is saying it's an entitlement - I think we all agree the server should and would give the change if asked.  I think it's more a reality of the situation type thing.  I think different experiences are coloring the responses here.  I don't think a server is "entitled" to my 37 cents.  I just would, as a matter of course, not even think twice about including it as part of the tip. To me, that is common.


But that is your decision to make not the server's and it's not your decision to make on behalf of another patron. Depending how often you eat out, being shorted changed can add up. And it's just strikes me as principly WRONG to have to ask for your own money back. It's your money, it should come to you from the restaurant. Otherwise, someone is taking it from you, and that is stealing. And if you're short-changing all your tables in a night, I bet that adds up too. And if you're short changing the restaurant, I don't think the owners would be too happy about it.

And if you're keeping someone else's money without thinking twice about it, I do think it reflects an entitlement. Otherwise, you'd be thinking about getting that patron what belongs to them rather than just deciding it was too much work.

ETA: General Yous!
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: jaxsue on September 30, 2013, 02:12:52 PM
One thing I think some posters are not grasping is that most servers do not have access to a cash register during their shift.  The coins they carry around are heavy.  Especially if a server is expected to make change down to the 37 cents that is at least four coins right there - a quarter, a dime and two pennies.  Imagine this over the course of an entire shift.  If the 37 cents is important to a patron, by all means they should ask for it.  But they should also not be upset if it takes a while to get it.  It could require the server to get a bartender to take the time to make change out of a larger bill, and at some points this could take quite a while.  If it were me, and I were a busy server, and a patron asked for the 37 cents, I would forfeit the 63 cents and give a whole dollar because the time value of 37 cents is just so silly to me.  In my experience, someone wanting the coins was very rare, and I was generally tipped very very well.

IME we did have access to the cash register. Yes, we had a cashier working, but there were times when he/she was away from it (often, the hostess was the cashier, and might be seating people). So if the till was unmanned, we had to do the transaction ourselves. We weren't expected to carry our bank around with us. We used our pockets for tips and our order pads.

Edited to add: it's been over 30 yrs since I waited tables, and thing have changed in most places. We had 1 cash register, and there was no electronic option for ordering, etc.

Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 02:15:19 PM
Goosey, I think you misunderstand me.  First, I am not currently a server, and when I was I generally would pick up the leather book and say, "do you need change?" if I did not see the credit card sticking out, or "I'll go run this and be right back" if I did.  I did not "steal" anyone's change or think I was entitled to it.

Now, as a patron only, I generally do not pay in cash so it's a non-issue, but I would not take a server asking, "do you need change" as the server feeling entitled to the change.  I would see it as a normal interaction.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 02:16:53 PM
One thing I think some posters are not grasping is that most servers do not have access to a cash register during their shift.  The coins they carry around are heavy.  Especially if a server is expected to make change down to the 37 cents that is at least four coins right there - a quarter, a dime and two pennies.  Imagine this over the course of an entire shift.  If the 37 cents is important to a patron, by all means they should ask for it.  But they should also not be upset if it takes a while to get it.  It could require the server to get a bartender to take the time to make change out of a larger bill, and at some points this could take quite a while.  If it were me, and I were a busy server, and a patron asked for the 37 cents, I would forfeit the 63 cents and give a whole dollar because the time value of 37 cents is just so silly to me.  In my experience, someone wanting the coins was very rare, and I was generally tipped very very well.

IME we did have access to the cash register. Yes, we had a cashier working, but there were times when he/she was away from it (often, the hostess was the cashier, and might be seating people). So if the till was unmanned, we had to do the transaction ourselves. We weren't expected to carry our bank around with us. We used our pockets for tips and our order pads.

Edited to add: it's been over 30 yrs since I waited tables, and thing have changed in most places. We had 1 cash register, and there was no electronic option for ordering, etc.

Different experiences then.  None of the places I worked had a general cash register or till. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 30, 2013, 02:17:52 PM
Although 'Do you need change?' doesn't bother me, I prefer, 'I'll be right back with your change.'  I can speak up if I don't need change.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: rose red on September 30, 2013, 02:26:11 PM
In the OP, the waitress didn't ask.  She just shorted the OP her coins without a word.

I don't leave coins as part of my tip (I need coins more than one would think), so "the waiter just gets it back as tip anyway" doesn't apply to every customer.  If a tip should be $2.43, then I round it up to $3.00.  If the waiter kept my coins, I will most likely round it down to make up for it.  So if the waiter shorted me, they are actually out money when it comes to people like me.

Nobody works harder than waiters, what with dealing with food and customers.  And handling change may be a pain in the rear, but that's not the customer's fault.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on September 30, 2013, 02:26:48 PM
Goosey, I think you misunderstand me.  First, I am not currently a server, and when I was I generally would pick up the leather book and say, "do you need change?" if I did not see the credit card sticking out, or "I'll go run this and be right back" if I did.  I did not "steal" anyone's change or think I was entitled to it.

Now, as a patron only, I generally do not pay in cash so it's a non-issue, but I would not take a server asking, "do you need change" as the server feeling entitled to the change.  I would see it as a normal interaction.

I was addressing the issue of the server not bringing back coin change without asking and without thought. I thought you were saying that, because this would be more difficult for the server, this was okay?

Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 02:32:59 PM
I was addressing the issue of the server not bringing back coin change without asking and without thought. I thought you were saying that, because this would be more difficult for the server, this was okay?

No, I was saying that it is likely not malicious in intent.  Like I said, I handled it differently when I was a server, and I always think that of course if the patron wants the coin change it should be cheerfully given.  I just think some of the comments that servers are thieves or incapable of math are unkind when it is the experience of many that there are alternate explanations for not returning the change.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on September 30, 2013, 02:38:03 PM
I was addressing the issue of the server not bringing back coin change without asking and without thought. I thought you were saying that, because this would be more difficult for the server, this was okay?

No, I was saying that it is likely not malicious in intent.  Like I said, I handled it differently when I was a server, and I always think that of course if the patron wants the coin change it should be cheerfully given.  I just think some of the comments that servers are thieves or incapable of math are unkind when it is the experience of many that there are alternate explanations for not returning the change.

I think that something can be a malicious act without malicious intent. I DON'T think all servers are theives or incapable of math. I have a lot of respect for servers. I could NOT do what they do all day and not end up in jail one day.

Still, just because I like servers doesn't mean I like this practice.

All my Yous in previous posts were general, so I wasn't directly accusing you of anything. Sorry I didn't clarify that.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Onyx_TKD on September 30, 2013, 03:53:16 PM
That doesn't seem efficient.


I think it comes down to the type of restaurant we are talking about.  The ones I am familiar with all have each server carying his or her own bank and squaring up at the end of the shift.  There isn't a cash register except for at the bar.  There is not an ability to pay at the front; you pay your server. 

You might be talking about a restaurant that has a front counter with a cash register or something?  I am not familiar with those, unless it is a truck stop type restaurant.

TurtleDove, were these restaurants in the USA? If so, may I ask what general region? I have never seen a waiter making change from their apron in a USA restaurant. I'm not talking about restaurants where you pay at the counter, but restaurants with table service where you pay the waiter, whether casual or someplace a bit dressy. Whenever I've paid cash/seen other people pay cash in USA restaurants, the waiter would walk away, either to a visible cash register or somewhere in the back (to a cash register, I've always assumed) to make change. In this setup, the customer has every reason to believe that the waiter is making change from some official restaurant cash register, and thus no reason to expect getting coins back to be a problem. If you carry the change in your apron, wouldn't you make change right at the table? Then, wouldn't any customer who didn't want their coin change speak up when they saw you starting to count it out? Why would there be any need to make an assumption about whether they want it when they're right there?  ???

I have seen that payment model in Europe (Germany and Switzerland), where each waiter had his own money-pouch and settled the bill/made change right there at the table. OTOH, in those European restaurants, you would tip by rounding the total up to whatever you thought appropriate and telling the waiter what total you intended to pay. E.g., if your total was 13.27 Euros, you could hand your waiter a 20 Euro bill, tell him "Make it 15 Euros" and he'd give you your 5 Euros change. There was no assumption on whether the customer wanted the change, because the customer would tell them what total they intended to pay before change was made. If you didn't tell the waiter to make the total something other than what he'd quoted you, then you'd get the full change including coins. When paying cash in the USA, I'd sometimes love to do the same (tell them what total, bill and tip, I intended to give them), but since it's not the norm here, I figured I'm more likely to just confuse some poor waiter by breaking the normal "script."
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 04:04:46 PM
Like I said, I haven't been a server in at least 15 years, but when I was, yes, I made change right at the table.  In the US. I have not seen a visible cash register at a sit-down restaurant aside from behind the bar since then though either (I have at, say, a Baker's Square or someplace where you pay up front, but I rarely if ever go to places with that set-up).  I am guessing this is regional or style of establishment dependent but in my experience, servers carry their own bank and have to reconcile with their own receipts at the end of the shift, which means even if there were a cash register available to them they would not use it.  In my experience, like I said, I did not have access to a cash register or till, aside from asking the bartender for change if needed, and this was very begrudgingly provided because, well, that would be HIS (or her) "bank." The establishment trusted me to handle all of the money involved in all of the transactions I handled during my shift, which means that yes, I would have several thousand dollars in cash, checks, or credit card receipts in my apron at the end of my shift.

Edited to add this is in the midwest, but I have noticed this same model all over the place when I travel. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: gollymolly2 on September 30, 2013, 04:06:05 PM
We made change
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: cheyne on September 30, 2013, 05:42:43 PM
When I worked as a server many years ago we always made change to the penny.  Servers are some of the hardest indoor working people in the world.  I don't begrudge them not wanting to run around and carry heavy coinage in their aprons.

I don't count my coin change either way, as the most I could be shorted is .99.  Even if I eat out 3 times a week and am shorted .99 per time it's $2.97 in a week.  Not enough for me to get worked up over.  Life is too short.

Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TootsNYC on September 30, 2013, 05:47:06 PM
In the OP, the waitress didn't ask.  She just shorted the OP her coins without a word.

I don't leave coins as part of my tip (I need coins more than one would think), so "the waiter just gets it back as tip anyway" doesn't apply to every customer.  If a tip should be $2.43, then I round it up to $3.00.  If the waiter kept my coins, I will most likely round it down to make up for it.  So if the waiter shorted me, they are actually out money when it comes to people like me.

Nobody works harder than waiters, what with dealing with food and customers.  And handling change may be a pain in the rear, but that's not the customer's fault.

I also never leave coins as part of my tip--I figure they'll be a pain for my waiter/waitress to deal with, what with all the stuff they juggle, so I take them. Therefore, I usually round up from whatever the change would be.

Like rose red, if they kept the change, I'd probably round down. So they'd lose out.

(when paying by credit card, esp. for work, I will put weird cents into the tip so that my final bill comes out to an even dollar amount.)
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Miss Understood on September 30, 2013, 06:04:25 PM
Back in the dark ages I waited tables. I never asked customers if they wanted the change. I would say, "I'll be right back with your change."
As for making change, I agree with the poster who said that some people simply don't know how to figure out the change due without help from technology. I am glad we were taught to count back change in math class at school. It's a skill you use your whole life. As servers we were expected to figure out tax and change.

This was what I did too (also back in the dark ages).  90% of the time, if the person didn't in fact want change s/he would say so at that point.  However, sometimes they wouldn't hear me I guess so I would end up bringing back change even though it was obvious from the amount that it wasn't wanted ($33 on a $27 check for instance), because I had said I would.  Then I'd get the "are you mentally challenged?" look.  Oh well - better than looking presumptuous.

It would actually not always be safe--I might keep the $6 in singles and leave a $10 on the table.


Well, right, but then why the 3 extra dollars in the folder?  I would expect you to put in $30, receive $3 back (so you now have $6 in singles if you had $3 in singles before), and then leave the $10 on the table.  I don't understand why you would put in a $20, a $10, and $3 singles if you were looking for change.  A moot point as I would bring it anyway as stated but I still don't understand why anyone would do that.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Miss Understood on September 30, 2013, 06:12:46 PM
The restaurant I worked at was in Southern California and worked the way TurtleDove and Gollymolly have been talking about (we carried our own bank all evening and kept our aprons on our persons at all times due to the amount of cash we were carrying around by the end of the night).  I always did "disappear" to make the change as it would have felt awkward and intrusive to stand there at the table counting out change, but there was no register involved - I just "disappeared" to an area out of the customers' sight to make the change from my own bank.

I cannot speak for restaurants in general or even regionally, but at least in the restaurant-heavy area where my restaurant was located, servers from different places interacted quite a bit and all of the places we worked at worked the same way (i.e., no register access).
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: VorFemme on September 30, 2013, 06:41:30 PM
We've gone to buying gift cards to restaurants that we want to try at the closest grocery store (chain) - they offer a fuel discount based on your spending (tracked with a member card) and they ALSO offer a donation split between various non-profit organizations that have signed up.  You get to select which organization YOUR member card's purchases count toward a share of the total "jackpot" at the end of the time period (about eight months a year).

VorGuy is a teacher AND an accountant.  His organization is signed up.  So our gift cards give us a fuel discount AND the booster club gets a check at the end of the school year.  Win-win situation - and the wait staff doesn't have to bring back change, as we either use the balance on the gift card or CASH for the tip and bring the gift card back "next time" to use up a larger balance.

It also simplifies some of the Christmas shopping - as my Dad adores going to certain chain fast food places and adores even more pulling out a gift card to pay for it (simple pleasures can be fun, too).  And they go over well at a Dirty Santa, too!
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: baglady on September 30, 2013, 06:53:08 PM
This has actually never happened to me, because we tend to round up the tab and then tip based on the rounded-up amount. (Twenty percent is the standard tip around here.) If the tip comes out to something other than a full dollar amount, we round that up, too. Say the bill is $57.88. Round up to $58. Twenty percent is $11.60 -- we tip $12 and pay a total of $70.

What usually happens in practice is we leave the payment on the table and go, especially if the server is busy. If we do hand it over in person, we may get "Do you need change?" or "I'll be right back with your change" (to which we answer "no" or "no need"), but a lot of the time we're gone before the server has actually picked up the money.

At a coffee shop or diner where there's the option of paying at the register, it's common practice to leave the tip on the table and pay the bill itself at the register. Sometimes people leave the tip on the table before paying, sometimes they go back and put it on the table after paying and getting the needed change from the register. (Example: $7.50 tab, give the cashier $20, get $12.50 change, leave $1.50 on the table.) I do tip in change on very small amounts, but I round up to the nearest quarter -- so if the tip is $1.30, I'll tip $1.50.

That said, if I were to get change from a server at a sit-down restaurant, I expect the full amount, cents included, unless I told the server to "keep the change." It's part of the polite fiction that a tip is a bonus and at the discretion of the customer, even though in the U.S. it is expected. I wouldn't brand the server a thief for keeping the change without permission, but I would be taken aback.

And I always give delivery people amount-plus-tip rounded up to the dollar. I don't want delivery person to fumble with change while standing in my doorway burdened with a pizza box, and neither do I.

All of the above presumes paying in cash rather than with a card. If I pay with a card, sometimes I put the tip on the card, but often I leave it on the table in cash -- to spare the server having to wait for her money.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: miranova on September 30, 2013, 07:50:36 PM
I just don't think it's right that a customer should have to ask for their own change.  There is no other situation where this would be the case.  When I go grocery shopping, I receive my change to the penny.  When I buy a book at Target, I receive my change to the penny.  It's not even remotely an option for the cashier to NOT give me change.  So the amount of money is simply not the issue.  I can live without 37 cents!  Good grief, that is not the issue.  The issue is the presumption of the server in deciding to keep it.  If they don't want to deal with change, there is a simple solution to that, round the other direction and give the customer back only bills, but to THEIR advantage, not the server's.  If it TRULY is about not wanting to deal with coins, then there's the perfect answer. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sharnita on September 30, 2013, 07:52:41 PM
I just don't think it's right that a customer should have to ask for their own change.  There is no other situation where this would be the case.  When I go grocery shopping, I receive my change to the penny.  When I buy a book at Target, I receive my change to the penny.  It's not even remotely an option for the cashier to NOT give me change.  So the amount of money is simply not the issue.  I can live without 37 cents!  Good grief, that is not the issue.  The issue is the presumption of the server in deciding to keep it.  If they don't want to deal with change, there is a simple solution to that, round the other direction and give the customer back only bills, but to THEIR advantage, not the server's.  If it TRULY is about not wanting to deal with coins, then there's the perfect answer.

Agreed
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: CakeEater on October 01, 2013, 05:53:03 AM
Another reason I'm happy we don't have tipping here!

This is the reason I don't like tipping, or haggling, or things displayed without a price. Just tell me how much you'd like me to pay for  the meal, the drink, the service, the whatever, and I'll decide if I want to pay that amount. If restaurants don't want to have to deal with coins, then price meals/drinks to the whole dollar and I'll pay that, or not.

Like many others, I don't think I'd bother to do anything about the 37 cents in practice. But in principle, I'd definitely want my 37 cents returned to me.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sophia on October 01, 2013, 12:00:47 PM
I just don't think it's right that a customer should have to ask for their own change.  There is no other situation where this would be the case.  When I go grocery shopping, I receive my change to the penny.  When I buy a book at Target, I receive my change to the penny.  It's not even remotely an option for the cashier to NOT give me change.  So the amount of money is simply not the issue.  I can live without 37 cents!  Good grief, that is not the issue.  The issue is the presumption of the server in deciding to keep it.  If they don't want to deal with change, there is a simple solution to that, round the other direction and give the customer back only bills, but to THEIR advantage, not the server's.  If it TRULY is about not wanting to deal with coins, then there's the perfect answer.

There is a difference though.  In a grocery store, or Target, you won't be tipping. 
In a restaurant, if you want to leave less than a dollar in a tip, then the service was so bad you should be really talking to the manager. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Yvaine on October 01, 2013, 12:08:30 PM
You know, I think what this is, is a polite fiction. Even if the server figures she's probably getting that 37 cents (or more) back as a tip, in my experience there's a polite fiction of "Oh, I can't presume that, and I'd be thrilled to serve you even for $2.15/hour!" Even though in reality the server does want the tip, you kind of "pretend" you're indifferent to it.

What I usually see is the server saying "I'll be right back with your change" and the customer either saying "I don't need any" because they've already figured the tip into the amount they're giving the server, or else accepting the change if they plan to use different currency to pay the tip (like if they want to tip a $5 bill instead of whatever the change would come out to). Or they'll even specify "I just need $10 back" if part of the change is going to be the tip and the rest is not.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Judah on October 01, 2013, 12:09:16 PM
I just don't think it's right that a customer should have to ask for their own change.  There is no other situation where this would be the case.  When I go grocery shopping, I receive my change to the penny.  When I buy a book at Target, I receive my change to the penny.  It's not even remotely an option for the cashier to NOT give me change.  So the amount of money is simply not the issue.  I can live without 37 cents!  Good grief, that is not the issue.  The issue is the presumption of the server in deciding to keep it.  If they don't want to deal with change, there is a simple solution to that, round the other direction and give the customer back only bills, but to THEIR advantage, not the server's.  If it TRULY is about not wanting to deal with coins, then there's the perfect answer.

There is a difference though.  In a grocery store, or Target, you won't be tipping. 
In a restaurant, if you want to leave less than a dollar in a tip, then the service was so bad you should be really talking to the manager.

But it's not about the tip. I'll admit that this thread left me scratching my head for a while as I've never been short changed in a restaurant. Then I realized that I always use my debit card in restaurants, never cash.  But if I did use cash, I'd expect every penny of my change back when I paid.  The tipping portion of the transaction is separate from the settling my bill portion.  I would definitely call a server out on not giving me my change, even if I had planned on leaving the change as part of the tip. Until the moment I leave the table all of the money is mine.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on October 01, 2013, 12:19:46 PM
I just don't think it's right that a customer should have to ask for their own change.  There is no other situation where this would be the case.  When I go grocery shopping, I receive my change to the penny.  When I buy a book at Target, I receive my change to the penny.  It's not even remotely an option for the cashier to NOT give me change.  So the amount of money is simply not the issue.  I can live without 37 cents!  Good grief, that is not the issue.  The issue is the presumption of the server in deciding to keep it.  If they don't want to deal with change, there is a simple solution to that, round the other direction and give the customer back only bills, but to THEIR advantage, not the server's.  If it TRULY is about not wanting to deal with coins, then there's the perfect answer.

There is a difference though.  In a grocery store, or Target, you won't be tipping. 
In a restaurant, if you want to leave less than a dollar in a tip, then the service was so bad you should be really talking to the manager.

But at the time the server is taking your cash to get your change, you are not tipping. You are only paying your bill to the restaurant. You tip later after all transactions are complete.

So, for the server to presume to take money from what you are using to pay your bill to the restaurant is wrong because it's money that has NOTHING to do with him/her.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Outdoor Girl on October 01, 2013, 12:24:33 PM
Unless I specifically say, 'Keep the change', I expect all of my change back.  Every last cent.  If you want to round it off and give me back more, fine.  Excepting the pennies (which we don't even have anymore), don't give me less.

If that makes me petty or cheap, so be it.  If I was shortchanged every time I went out, it would add up to a lot over time.  And frankly, it would annoy me enough that I would probably stop patronizing that particular restaurant.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sharnita on October 01, 2013, 12:56:01 PM
The tipping shouldn't be a factor. Maybe you are using quarters for laundry or trying to collect certain pennies. You could intend to keep the coins and leave curremcy as your tip. All of your money should be returned to you so you can use it as you choose, be it in a restaurant or Target.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: miranova on October 01, 2013, 01:32:01 PM
I just don't think it's right that a customer should have to ask for their own change.  There is no other situation where this would be the case.  When I go grocery shopping, I receive my change to the penny.  When I buy a book at Target, I receive my change to the penny.  It's not even remotely an option for the cashier to NOT give me change.  So the amount of money is simply not the issue.  I can live without 37 cents!  Good grief, that is not the issue.  The issue is the presumption of the server in deciding to keep it.  If they don't want to deal with change, there is a simple solution to that, round the other direction and give the customer back only bills, but to THEIR advantage, not the server's.  If it TRULY is about not wanting to deal with coins, then there's the perfect answer.

There is a difference though.  In a grocery store, or Target, you won't be tipping. 


But that's the exact presumption I'm talking about. 

I assume I will be paid again on the 15th of this month.  That doesn't make it ok to take cash from my company and just assume they will take it out of my check later.  It's not my money to take, they pay me in a certain way at a certain time and I don't have any right to just decide to help myself before that time.

It's the presumption that they can help themselves to part of their tip that is the issue.  That's not the way tipping works.  The entire tip is given by the customer, not taken from the customer.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sophia on October 01, 2013, 02:35:56 PM
That isn't a good analogy.  You will get your paycheck several days away, and in a different form.  With a tip it is right there, as part of the same transaction.  If you paid with cash, the tip will be in cash. 

A minimum tip is required unless the service was really bad.  If it was that bad, then the manager should be informed.  Any tip in a restaurant less than a dollar is unthinkable.  So, the only assumption is that the customer is not pond scum. 

Although, you do have the option to consider not giving the coins as worthy of a ding on the tip.  We all have our quirks.  I am irritated when I am expected to use my salad fork for the entree, and will ding the tip for that. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Onyx_TKD on October 01, 2013, 03:07:06 PM
That isn't a good analogy.  You will get your paycheck several days away, and in a different form.  With a tip it is right there, as part of the same transaction.  If you paid with cash, the tip will be in cash. 

A minimum tip is required unless the service was really bad.  If it was that bad, then the manager should be informed.  Any tip in a restaurant less than a dollar is unthinkable.  So, the only assumption is that the customer is not pond scum. 

Although, you do have the option to consider not giving the coins as worthy of a ding on the tip.  We all have our quirks.  I am irritated when I am expected to use my salad fork for the entree, and will ding the tip for that.

No, it also assumes that the coin change was intended to be part of the tip. If the customer planned to tip a round dollar amount, then the coins would not be part of the tip, even though the entire tip is more than one dollar. The customer gets to decide the form* as well as the amount of the tip. If the change is $0.37, and the customer planned on a tip of $5, then they either have to dig out exact change for $4.63 (if they even have it) or change the amount of the tip. Many PPs have already pointed out this issue, and since most have said their resolution is reduce the tip down to the next round number that is still convenient to pay, the waiters keeping coins are reducing their own tip income as well as potentially annoying customers.

*Within reason, of course--you can choose to tip in bills, coins, bills + coins, on a credit card, etc., but you don't get to tip your waiter in $X worth of live chickens.  :P
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TootsNYC on October 01, 2013, 03:21:53 PM
Back in the dark ages I waited tables. I never asked customers if they wanted the change. I would say, "I'll be right back with your change."
As for making change, I agree with the poster who said that some people simply don't know how to figure out the change due without help from technology. I am glad we were taught to count back change in math class at school. It's a skill you use your whole life. As servers we were expected to figure out tax and change.

This was what I did too (also back in the dark ages).  90% of the time, if the person didn't in fact want change s/he would say so at that point.  However, sometimes they wouldn't hear me I guess so I would end up bringing back change even though it was obvious from the amount that it wasn't wanted ($33 on a $27 check for instance), because I had said I would.  Then I'd get the "are you mentally challenged?" look.  Oh well - better than looking presumptuous.

It would actually not always be safe--I might keep the $6 in singles and leave a $10 on the table.


Well, right, but then why the 3 extra dollars in the folder?  I would expect you to put in $30, receive $3 back (so you now have $6 in singles if you had $3 in singles before), and then leave the $10 on the table.  I don't understand why you would put in a $20, a $10, and $3 singles if you were looking for change.  A moot point as I would bring it anyway as stated but I still don't understand why anyone would do that.

Because I don't HAVE three singles?
Because I haven't decided on my final tip yet?

I'm envisioning that I've put in $10s and am expecting $6 back in singles. And then I'll leave an extra $10.
(and by "not safe" I meant "not an accurate assumption," not "not being stolen"--by "on the table" I meant "wherever one puts the tip.")
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Onyx_TKD on October 01, 2013, 03:49:35 PM
Back in the dark ages I waited tables. I never asked customers if they wanted the change. I would say, "I'll be right back with your change."
As for making change, I agree with the poster who said that some people simply don't know how to figure out the change due without help from technology. I am glad we were taught to count back change in math class at school. It's a skill you use your whole life. As servers we were expected to figure out tax and change.

This was what I did too (also back in the dark ages).  90% of the time, if the person didn't in fact want change s/he would say so at that point.  However, sometimes they wouldn't hear me I guess so I would end up bringing back change even though it was obvious from the amount that it wasn't wanted ($33 on a $27 check for instance), because I had said I would.  Then I'd get the "are you mentally challenged?" look.  Oh well - better than looking presumptuous.

It would actually not always be safe--I might keep the $6 in singles and leave a $10 on the table.


Well, right, but then why the 3 extra dollars in the folder?  I would expect you to put in $30, receive $3 back (so you now have $6 in singles if you had $3 in singles before), and then leave the $10 on the table.  I don't understand why you would put in a $20, a $10, and $3 singles if you were looking for change.  A moot point as I would bring it anyway as stated but I still don't understand why anyone would do that.

Because I don't HAVE three singles?
Because I haven't decided on my final tip yet?

I'm envisioning that I've put in $10s and am expecting $6 back in singles. And then I'll leave an extra $10.
(and by "not safe" I meant "not an accurate assumption," not "not being stolen"--by "on the table" I meant "wherever one puts the tip.")

I think there's a mixup of the scenario here. Miss Understood's example said that the customer put $33 in the folder. You can't pay that with only $10 bills. To pay $33 cash, the customer must already have $3 worth of $1 bills and/or coins. (I'm assuming no $2 bill, since those are rare.) When change was made, those $1 bills and/or coins would either be returned as-is (so putting them in the folder changed nothing) or as a larger bill (e.g. a $5 and a $1). If you're expecting your change in singles, why add the $3, since you already have it singles or smaller change? I'm definitely in favor of people getting their change unless they say otherwise, but in this example, I agree that there is good grounds to believe the customer is intending to include both bill and tip.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Miss Understood on October 01, 2013, 04:08:52 PM
Back in the dark ages I waited tables. I never asked customers if they wanted the change. I would say, "I'll be right back with your change."
As for making change, I agree with the poster who said that some people simply don't know how to figure out the change due without help from technology. I am glad we were taught to count back change in math class at school. It's a skill you use your whole life. As servers we were expected to figure out tax and change.

This was what I did too (also back in the dark ages).  90% of the time, if the person didn't in fact want change s/he would say so at that point.  However, sometimes they wouldn't hear me I guess so I would end up bringing back change even though it was obvious from the amount that it wasn't wanted ($33 on a $27 check for instance), because I had said I would.  Then I'd get the "are you mentally challenged?" look.  Oh well - better than looking presumptuous.

It would actually not always be safe--I might keep the $6 in singles and leave a $10 on the table.


Well, right, but then why the 3 extra dollars in the folder?  I would expect you to put in $30, receive $3 back (so you now have $6 in singles if you had $3 in singles before), and then leave the $10 on the table.  I don't understand why you would put in a $20, a $10, and $3 singles if you were looking for change.  A moot point as I would bring it anyway as stated but I still don't understand why anyone would do that.

Because I don't HAVE three singles?
Because I haven't decided on my final tip yet?

I'm envisioning that I've put in $10s and am expecting $6 back in singles. And then I'll leave an extra $10.
(and by "not safe" I meant "not an accurate assumption," not "not being stolen"--by "on the table" I meant "wherever one puts the tip.")

No need to yell.  My original example was $33 on a $27 bill.  Obviously the person would have to have 3 singles in order to leave $33.  I'm just saying why put in the extra $3 - just put in $30 and get your change, and then decide on the tip.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: CocoCamm on October 01, 2013, 04:12:48 PM
I couldn't tell you the last time I paid with cash at a restaurant, but I can tell you I received every cent of my change because if I hadn't I would certainly remember!

I don't really know how servers at the restaurants I go to make change and quite frankly I don't care. I'm a customer, not my business how things are run behind the scenes. But not having ready access to a cash machine isn't the customers problem. It's completely on the server to make the change down to the penny regardless of how much a pain in the posterior it may be for them and it should definitely be done without the customer having to ask for it. There are aspects of my job that are annoying but I don't make it my clients problem. They pay for a service and I get compensated to provide it.

I remember years ago I stopped at a convenience store for a few items and the total came to $7.97 I handed the cashier $8 and she put the money in the cash drawer and closed it without getting my change. Then she just looked at me like what???? when I continued to stand there. I told her I wanted my change and she huffed and puffed and acted all put out like I was being unreasonable. All I could think was man this was a good scam she had going, imagine her haul at the end of the day if she did this to everyone!

Nowadays if this happened I would have spoken to a manager. Being ripped off even for 3 cents is bad enough being insulted by the cashier is even worse.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: It's good to be Queen on October 01, 2013, 07:04:57 PM
This seems to be pretty common in the restaurants I go to.  The servers usually just round off to the nearest dollar, I figure it works out about even since some days I am getting, for example,  $2 instead of $1.65 and some days I get $1 instead of $1.12.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: snowdragon on October 01, 2013, 07:27:10 PM
Unless I specifically say, 'Keep the change', I expect all of my change back.  Every last cent.  If you want to round it off and give me back more, fine.  Excepting the pennies (which we don't even have anymore), don't give me less.

If that makes me petty or cheap, so be it.  If I was shortchanged every time I went out, it would add up to a lot over time.  And frankly, it would annoy me enough that I would probably stop patronizing that particular restaurant.

  This.  And if you ( general) kept my change because it was too inconvenient for you to give it to me - that would be your whole tip.  And I usually tip *really* high - but I like my tip to be my decision, not the waitress.  In addition to leaving just that as the tip, when I left I would be letting the manager know why, partly to make sure that the manager and waitress knew I was not "cheaping out" but that the waitress in this instance set her own tip.
  It may  even out for the waitress at the end of the evening - but it still leaves me with out money that belongs to me. It's not for anyone else to decide that my money is forfeit for their convenience.
 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: wyliefool on October 02, 2013, 11:32:10 AM
All this loosey-goosey treatment of money must make tax time fun at these restaurants. I'm really not down w/ anyone assuming I don't want my change. I'll figure out what I want and don't want myself.

Also, all this 'rounding down' really would add up to quite a bit of money after a while. I forget the movie title, but the plot was that Sean Connery and whatshername were going to hack into the banking system in Singapore at New Year's and steal like 10 cents from every bank account on earth. They were going to rake in billions. Obviously the waitstaff isn't getting billions, but $.37 here and there adds up quickly.

As for math, I'll never forget the time I was in K-Mart when their computers were down. The manager was helping my cashier figure out how to run the register w/o computer access, and had just told her to make the change and add it to the drawer. She got a panicked look on her face and wailed "But I'm not good at math!!!" The total was $2.60 and I'd given her a $5. It was all I could do not to blurt out 'Good lord, neither am I but this hardly qualifies as math at all!'
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Twik on October 02, 2013, 04:10:44 PM
I couldn't tell you the last time I paid with cash at a restaurant, but I can tell you I received every cent of my change because if I hadn't I would certainly remember!

I don't really know how servers at the restaurants I go to make change and quite frankly I don't care. I'm a customer, not my business how things are run behind the scenes. But not having ready access to a cash machine isn't the customers problem. It's completely on the server to make the change down to the penny regardless of how much a pain in the posterior it may be for them and it should definitely be done without the customer having to ask for it. There are aspects of my job that are annoying but I don't make it my clients problem. They pay for a service and I get compensated to provide it.

I remember years ago I stopped at a convenience store for a few items and the total came to $7.97 I handed the cashier $8 and she put the money in the cash drawer and closed it without getting my change. Then she just looked at me like what???? when I continued to stand there. I told her I wanted my change and she huffed and puffed and acted all put out like I was being unreasonable. All I could think was man this was a good scam she had going, imagine her haul at the end of the day if she did this to everyone!

Nowadays if this happened I would have spoken to a manager. Being ripped off even for 3 cents is bad enough being insulted by the cashier is even worse.

"Welcome to Canada!"

Because we ain't got no pennies anymore.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Outdoor Girl on October 02, 2013, 04:40:01 PM
^ The change should have been a nickel.   :)  (1, 2 cents change get rounded down to 0, 3, 4 cents change get rounded up to 5 cents)
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TootsNYC on October 02, 2013, 05:12:20 PM
Because I don't HAVE three singles?
Because I haven't decided on my final tip yet?

I'm envisioning that I've put in $10s and am expecting $6 back in singles. And then I'll leave an extra $10.
(and by "not safe" I meant "not an accurate assumption," not "not being stolen"--by "on the table" I meant "wherever one puts the tip.")

No need to yell.  My original example was $33 on a $27 bill.  Obviously the person would have to have 3 singles in order to leave $33.  I'm just saying why put in the extra $3 - just put in $30 and get your change, and then decide on the tip.


The caps were not intended as yelling.

They're the fastest way of emphasizing a word.

I tend to assume that other people aren't yelling when it's just a word here and there. I forget that other people rigidly adhere to a "rule" that "capital letters on the Internet is yelling."
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Miss Understood on October 02, 2013, 06:15:13 PM
Because I don't HAVE three singles?
Because I haven't decided on my final tip yet?

I'm envisioning that I've put in $10s and am expecting $6 back in singles. And then I'll leave an extra $10.
(and by "not safe" I meant "not an accurate assumption," not "not being stolen"--by "on the table" I meant "wherever one puts the tip.")

No need to yell.  My original example was $33 on a $27 bill.  Obviously the person would have to have 3 singles in order to leave $33.  I'm just saying why put in the extra $3 - just put in $30 and get your change, and then decide on the tip.


The caps were not intended as yelling.

They're the fastest way of emphasizing a word.

I tend to assume that other people aren't yelling when it's just a word here and there. I forget that other people rigidly adhere to a "rule" that "capital letters on the Internet is yelling."

It's not "rigidity" - all caps genuinely feels much more exasperated, even angry, to me than bolding does.  I believe it does to others as well; perhaps that's the reason the rule came about.  By the way, bolding that one word took one second (double-click word, click bold button above).
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: miranova on October 02, 2013, 06:17:16 PM


A minimum tip is required unless the service was really bad.  If it was that bad, then the manager should be informed.  Any tip in a restaurant less than a dollar is unthinkable. 

I don't understand why you keep talking about how tipping is required as if we don't know how tips work.  Wanting your change does not mean you are obviously a stingy person who isn't going to tip or doesn't understand tipping culture.  I understand the tipping expectation, I tip well, and I still expect my change to be delivered.  These things are not mutually exclusive. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Wordgeek on October 02, 2013, 07:58:14 PM
The caps were not intended as yelling.

They're the fastest way of emphasizing a word.

I tend to assume that other people aren't yelling when it's just a word here and there. I forget that other people rigidly adhere to a "rule" that "capital letters on the Internet is yelling."

The caps = yelling thing is a matter, IIRC, that you've been warned about multiple times.  How many times do you need to be told before you *do* remember?

Knock it off, already.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: katiescarlett on October 02, 2013, 11:02:24 PM
[quote author=Sophia link=topic=130233.msg3025218#msg3025218 date=1380656156
A minimum tip is required unless the service was really bad.  If it was that bad, then the manager should be informed.  Any tip in arestaurant less than a dollar is unthinkable.  So, the only assumption is that the customer is not pond scum. 
[/quote]

Here's the thing.  I tip, and I generally tip well.  But tipping is not required.  It is expected, yes, but not required.  Unless it is an automatic gratuity, I get to decide whether or not I want to tip.  Yes, it would make me a jerk not to tip (unless service is bad.  If the service is really bad, I will leave nothing) but it is my decision to tip, not anyone else's. 

I understand that makes me sound terrible, but I do always tip, and tip well if the service is good.  I do tip less for worse service, and have only once ever not left a tip at all.  But, no, unless the restaurant automatically put it in, no one can make anyone leave a tip.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Sharnita on October 03, 2013, 07:43:20 AM
Another point is that I tip based on service. And getting back correct change is part of that service.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 08:43:33 AM
Another point is that I tip based on service. And getting back correct change is part of that service.

Different strokes for different folks - I prefer to not be handed back coins because they take up space in my wallet and weigh a lot!  But that's why I use my debit card for most things.  I think there won't be a consensus on whether getting change back in a tipping situation is expected or preferred or not.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on October 03, 2013, 08:45:12 AM
Another point is that I tip based on service. And getting back correct change is part of that service.

Different strokes for different folks - I prefer to not be handed back coins because they take up space in my wallet and weigh a lot!  But that's why I use my debit card for most things.  I think there won't be a consensus on whether getting change back in a tipping situation is expected or preferred or not.

But if you don't want it in your wallet, you can choose to leave it on the table. No one is taking away your choice to leave your coins behind. But, by taking the coins, servers are taking away a customer's choice as to what to do with their own money.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 09:14:52 AM
But if you don't want it in your wallet, you can choose to leave it on the table. No one is taking away your choice to leave your coins behind. But, by taking the coins, servers are taking away a customer's choice as to what to do with their own money.

Well, I think we all agree that if a patron asks for coins back the server should cheerfully provide them.  I am just saying that I know a lot of people who wouldn't want the coins back, and I am mostly responding in this thread to the comments that the servers are greedy or malicious or stealing or somehow evilly motivated.  It would be a really goofy diabolical plan to scam each of 10-15 tables per night (or however many they would have) 37 cents at a time! My only point is that I don't think most or even many servers are truly trying to get something for nothing. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on October 03, 2013, 09:43:56 AM
Well, I think we all agree that if a patron asks for coins back the server should cheerfully provide them.   I am just saying that I know a lot of people who wouldn't want the coins back, and I am mostly responding in this thread to the comments that the servers are greedy or malicious or stealing or somehow evilly motivated.  It would be a really goofy diabolical plan to scam each of 10-15 tables per night (or however many they would have) 37 cents at a time! My only point is that I don't think most or even many servers are truly trying to get something for nothing. 

No, because it's my opinion that you shouldn't have to ask for your own money back at all and being forced to do so is a fault on the server.

If I have to ask for my change, it means that the server or the restaurant pocketed it. That's stealing whether it's maliciously motivated or not. Even if it's based on the completely mistaken assumption that no one ever wants their coins, it's not their place to make decisions with my money. Whether they return my money "cheerfully" or not, my opinion of them and the establishment (if this is in fact an approved practice) will be greatly affected by what I think is a lack of honesty and professionalism.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 10:04:20 AM
Whether they return my money "cheerfully" or not, my opinion of them and the establishment (if this is in fact an approved practice) will be greatly affected by what I think is a lack of honesty and professionalism.

Right, I understand your perspective.  My perspective is that is is not a lack of honesty or professionalism.  I think one's opinion about a patron can be greatly affected by their assigning malicious motives to a server over 37 cents also.  We just see it diffently, for whatever reasons. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on October 03, 2013, 10:10:17 AM
Whether they return my money "cheerfully" or not, my opinion of them and the establishment (if this is in fact an approved practice) will be greatly affected by what I think is a lack of honesty and professionalism.

Right, I understand your perspective.  My perspective is that is is not a lack of honesty or professionalism.  I think one's opinion about a patron can be greatly affected by their assigning malicious motives to a server over 37 cents also.  We just see it diffently, for whatever reasons.

I don't think you do understand my perspective since I said:

Quote
I think that something can be a malicious act without malicious intent.

and
Quote
That's stealing whether it's maliciously motivated or not

Bad actions are still bad whether maliciously motivated or not. A patron does not have to think the server is malicious to think that their actions were dishonest and wrong.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 10:11:47 AM
Whether they return my money "cheerfully" or not, my opinion of them and the establishment (if this is in fact an approved practice) will be greatly affected by what I think is a lack of honesty and professionalism.

Right, I understand your perspective.  My perspective is that is is not a lack of honesty or professionalism.  I think one's opinion about a patron can be greatly affected by their assigning malicious motives to a server over 37 cents also.  We just see it diffently, for whatever reasons.

I don't think you do understand my perspective since I said:

Quote
I think that something can be a malicious act without malicious intent.

and
Quote
That's stealing whether it's maliciously motivated or not

Bad actions are still bad whether maliciously motivated or not. A patron does not have to think the server is malicious to think that their actions were dishonest and wrong.

Right, I understand your perspective.  I disagree with it.  I don't see this action as dishonest, wrong OR malicious.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on October 03, 2013, 10:15:37 AM
Whether they return my money "cheerfully" or not, my opinion of them and the establishment (if this is in fact an approved practice) will be greatly affected by what I think is a lack of honesty and professionalism.

Right, I understand your perspective.  My perspective is that is is not a lack of honesty or professionalism.  I think one's opinion about a patron can be greatly affected by their assigning malicious motives to a server over 37 cents also.  We just see it diffently, for whatever reasons.

Oh, okay. I was responding to this, which implies that I was assigning malicious motives to a server. I don't know what a server was thinking when they decide I don't need that measly $.37 back.

It's not about $.37 for the people protesting. It's about honesty. You don't think keeping someone's $.37 is dishonest. That's fine. But, please don't imply that getting upset that someone is keeping your money without your permission is petty because it's $.37.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 10:43:03 AM
It's not about $.37 for the people protesting. It's about honesty. You don't think keeping someone's $.37 is dishonest. That's fine. But, please don't imply that getting upset that someone is keeping your money without your permission is petty because it's $.37.

In a tipping situation I think it is not dishonest to assume a patron intends to tip the coins.  If the server refused to provide the coins when asked, I think that would be dishonest.  The fundamental difference in how we are looking at this, which I think explains our different perspectives, is that I don't see the server not giving me $.37 back in change as the server keeping my money.  I would have tipped it right back to her anyway. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on October 03, 2013, 10:45:59 AM
It's not about $.37 for the people protesting. It's about honesty. You don't think keeping someone's $.37 is dishonest. That's fine. But, please don't imply that getting upset that someone is keeping your money without your permission is petty because it's $.37.

In a tipping situation I think it is not dishonest to assume a patron intends to tip the coins.  If the server refused to provide the coins when asked, I think that would be dishonest.  The fundamental difference in how we are looking at this, which I think explains our different perspectives, is that I don't see the server not giving me $.37 back in change as the server keeping my money.  I would have tipped it right back to her anyway.

Yes, but are you looking at this at all from others' perspectives? It might not be a rude action towards you because you intended her to have those coins anyways and don't care. But, you are not everyone and many people want/need those coins for various reasons. So, to me, the argument of "Well, I wanted to her to have it anyways" is very weak in excusing away this action.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 10:49:14 AM
Yes, but are you looking at this at all from others' perspectives? It might not be a rude action towards you because you intended her to have those coins anyways and don't care. But, you are not everyone and many people want/need those coins for various reasons. So, to me, the argument of "Well, I wanted to her to have it anyways" is very weak in excusing away this action.

Then ask for the coins back.  If the server refuses, then I agree there is a problem.  If the server happily provides them, I say no harm no foul.  I am seeing this from the server's perspective also.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Outdoor Girl on October 03, 2013, 10:59:02 AM
I'm with Goosey here.  I shouldn't have to ask for my coins back.  If I have to ask for them back, that's an inconvenience for me because now I have to wait for the server to go and get them.  Whereas, if they'd brought them in the first place, I could leave.

I'm not saying there is any malicious intent involved but it boils down to:  it's my money; I want it all back unless I tell you otherwise.  If I've said, 'Keep the change', fine.  But if I haven't, it means I want all my change back.  Maybe I need the quarters for laundry or to put air in my tires or maybe I have coin jar at home where I put all my change and use those coins to fund my next vacation.  It isn't up to anyone but me to decide what to do with those coins.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: SlitherHiss on October 03, 2013, 10:59:52 AM
I'm with Goosey here.  I shouldn't have to ask for my coins back.  If I have to ask for them back, that's an inconvenience for me because now I have to wait for the server to go and get them.  Whereas, if they'd brought them in the first place, I could leave.

I'm not saying there is any malicious intent involved but it boils down to:  it's my money; I want it all back unless I tell you otherwise.  If I've said, 'Keep the change', fine.  But if I haven't, it means I want all my change back.  Maybe I need the quarters for laundry or to put air in my tires or maybe I have coin jar at home where I put all my change and use those coins to fund my next vacation.  It isn't up to anyone but me to decide what to do with those coins.

This.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: WillyNilly on October 03, 2013, 11:03:14 AM
Yes, but are you looking at this at all from others' perspectives? It might not be a rude action towards you because you intended her to have those coins anyways and don't care. But, you are not everyone and many people want/need those coins for various reasons. So, to me, the argument of "Well, I wanted to her to have it anyways" is very weak in excusing away this action.

Then ask for the coins back.  If the server refuses, then I agree there is a problem.  If the server happily provides them, I say no harm no foul.  I am seeing this from the server's perspective also.

Here's where I think the disconnect is, in your bolded statement.
When I, and many people, pay a bill and wait for our change (total change, bills coins whatever) the very act of us waiting for any change implies we are asking for all the change back. If we wanted the waitstaff or establishment to keep any of it we would have simply given the tip amount with our payment and not waited for change at all. So by mere virtue of waiting for any change back we have communicated via our actions we want it all back, we have already asked. What you are advocating is asking again.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Yvaine on October 03, 2013, 11:06:55 AM
Yes, but are you looking at this at all from others' perspectives? It might not be a rude action towards you because you intended her to have those coins anyways and don't care. But, you are not everyone and many people want/need those coins for various reasons. So, to me, the argument of "Well, I wanted to her to have it anyways" is very weak in excusing away this action.

Then ask for the coins back.  If the server refuses, then I agree there is a problem.  If the server happily provides them, I say no harm no foul.  I am seeing this from the server's perspective also.

Here's where I think the disconnect is, in your bolded statement.
When I, and many people, pay a bill and wait for our change (total change, bills coins whatever) the very act of us waiting for any change implies we are asking for all the change back. If we wanted the waitstaff or establishment to keep any of it we would have simply given the tip amount with our payment and not waited for change at all. So by mere virtue of waiting for any change back we have communicated via our actions we want it all back, we have already asked. What you are advocating is asking again.

Oooh, this is also a good point; if you don't want any change back, you can just leave after you hand the leather folder envelope thingie to the server. (I won't go into leaving the folder/envelope with cash on the table, which people definitely do, but which I know will raise security questions on here.) Not so with credit cards, since you have to sign, but with cash yes.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: rose red on October 03, 2013, 11:21:24 AM
Yes, but are you looking at this at all from others' perspectives? It might not be a rude action towards you because you intended her to have those coins anyways and don't care. But, you are not everyone and many people want/need those coins for various reasons. So, to me, the argument of "Well, I wanted to her to have it anyways" is very weak in excusing away this action.

Then ask for the coins back.  If the server refuses, then I agree there is a problem.  If the server happily provides them, I say no harm no foul.  I am seeing this from the server's perspective also.

Why should the customer have to ask for their money back?  If you don't want coins, tell the server you don't want the coins back as change or say "I just need $5 back."  The server shouldn't get to decide.  They should happily give you all your change back in the first place and thereby not forcing them to make a 2nd trip to the till for the .37 cents.  A customer also shouldn't be forced to wait longer by that 2nd trip.

What is easier is not always the correct thing.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: LA lady on October 03, 2013, 11:27:28 AM
I am a server, & I admit to doing this at times, but only when the change is less than a quarter. I'm so annoyed at change in general, I don't know why we still use pennies, which to me are completely useless. I guess I assumed everyone felt the same way, but now I realize they don't! I will start bringing everyone their change.

How did you come to assume that other people hate change and that you should decide to keep their money?  What did you do with the change?  Did you leave it in the till?  Did management not complain about the till being out of balance?  Over the course of an evenings serving, that could add up, and overages should be a problem as well as shortages.

I am glad that you are changing your practice going forward. 
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 11:30:20 AM
I am a server, & I admit to doing this at times, but only when the change is less than a quarter. I'm so annoyed at change in general, I don't know why we still use pennies, which to me are completely useless. I guess I assumed everyone felt the same way, but now I realize they don't! I will start bringing everyone their change.

How did you come to assume that other people hate change and that you should decide to keep their money?  What did you do with the change?  Did you leave it in the till?  Did management not complain about the till being out of balance?  Over the course of an evenings serving, that could add up, and overages should be a problem as well as shortages.

I am glad that you are changing your practice going forward.

Speaking from my experience there *is* no till.  There *is* no change at the time of the transaction unless the customer wants it.  The server is her own bank and does not square up until the end of the shift.  At the end of the shift, the money is distributed as I explained in an earlier post.  There is nothing to balance at the time of the transaction, only at the end of the night.  No coins need to be involved if no one wants their coin change.  The server keeps the bills all together until the very end of the shift.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on October 03, 2013, 11:42:03 AM
I have personally never, ever been to a restaurant where the server didn't have easy access to change. I've traveled quite a bit over a good number of countries and eat out often.

I'm not calling you a liar, just saying that you do seem to have very limited experience to a certain kind of serving, so I'm not sure the "but it's so hard for servers to get change" excuse flies either. Even if it's more difficult for that server to get change, that's no excuse for a server not to bring change to the person waiting for it.

Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Ms_Cellany on October 03, 2013, 11:52:19 AM
The entire plot of Office Space rotates around how much money you can steal by skimming a small amount off a lot of transactions.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: nayberry on October 03, 2013, 11:55:24 AM
I have personally never, ever been to a restaurant where the server didn't have easy access to change. I've traveled quite a bit over a good number of countries and eat out often.

I'm not calling you a liar, just saying that you do seem to have very limited experience to a certain kind of serving, so I'm not sure the "but it's so hard for servers to get change" excuse flies either. Even if it's more difficult for that server to get change, that's no excuse for a server not to bring change to the person waiting for it.

this ^^ 

i've lived in and traveled through a lot of places,  everywhere has had a till and i've been brought all of my change
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: snowdragon on October 03, 2013, 12:06:18 PM
I have personally never, ever been to a restaurant where the server didn't have easy access to change. I've traveled quite a bit over a good number of countries and eat out often.

I'm not calling you a liar, just saying that you do seem to have very limited experience to a certain kind of serving, so I'm not sure the "but it's so hard for servers to get change" excuse flies either. Even if it's more difficult for that server to get change, that's no excuse for a server not to bring change to the person waiting for it.

this ^^ 

i've lived in and traveled through a lot of places,  everywhere has had a till and i've been brought all of my change

This. the waitress should not be deciding that my change to too annoying to give back to me. delivering my change, all of it right down to the penny, is part of their job.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: SlitherHiss on October 03, 2013, 12:14:30 PM
I have personally never, ever been to a restaurant where the server didn't have easy access to change. I've traveled quite a bit over a good number of countries and eat out often.

I'm not calling you a liar, just saying that you do seem to have very limited experience to a certain kind of serving, so I'm not sure the "but it's so hard for servers to get change" excuse flies either. Even if it's more difficult for that server to get change, that's no excuse for a server not to bring change to the person waiting for it.

this ^^ 

i've lived in and traveled through a lot of places,  everywhere has had a till and i've been brought all of my change

This has been my experience, too. I frequently travel and love (love) to dine out. I've been to dive bars, fancy restaurants and everywhere in between and I have never, ever, encountered a situation where my waitress didn't have ready access to change. Maybe she had to go to the register to get it, but that's not an unreasonable expectation.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: stargazer on October 03, 2013, 12:19:23 PM
The entire plot of Office Space rotates around how much money you can steal by skimming a small amount off a lot of transactions.

I was thinking this too.  If we take the example of the 37 cents and 15 tables per night and assume the waitress is full time with a two week vacation, that equals 0.37 * 15 tables * 5 days per week * 50 weeks = $1,387.50.  It doesn't look quite so small anymore.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: WillyNilly on October 03, 2013, 12:21:48 PM
I have personally never, ever been to a restaurant where the server didn't have easy access to change. I've traveled quite a bit over a good number of countries and eat out often.

I'm not calling you a liar, just saying that you do seem to have very limited experience to a certain kind of serving, so I'm not sure the "but it's so hard for servers to get change" excuse flies either. Even if it's more difficult for that server to get change, that's no excuse for a server not to bring change to the person waiting for it.

this ^^ 

i've lived in and traveled through a lot of places,  everywhere has had a till and i've been brought all of my change

Count me in this group. I go out to eat at least once a week every week and have for almost 20 years consistently. I live in NYC but regularly travel throughout New England, NJ, Penn, and have frequented FL, LA, CA, NV, and Canada and have been to Japan and the mid-west plus various countries in Europe half a dozen times. The norm in all these places has always been all my change. Yes occasionally pennies are rounded to the nearest nickle, as is the official way in Canada, but over 4 cents, I have consistently always gotten all my change unless I indicated I didn't want it ("no change" or "keep the change" etc).

This rounding to quarters, half dollars or whole dollars might very well go on in a few select places by a few select waitpeople, but it is a far cry from standard anywhere I have ever been. And this goes for hole in the wall greasy spoons in shifty neighborhoods to high end, rubbing elbows with the 1% in places like the Hamptons - change is given in total as standard practice IME.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Goosey on October 03, 2013, 12:22:44 PM
Even if the waitress isn't keeping it, though, and it instead goes to balance out a transaction in which a patron was given $.37 MORE because the server didn't want to handle change, that doesn't benefit the person who has $.37 less than they were entitled to. It benefits the restaurant and the server. The server doesn't have to do all the extra work of getting the change; the restaurant probably comes out ahead more often than not.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: artk2002 on October 03, 2013, 12:30:50 PM
Yes, but are you looking at this at all from others' perspectives? It might not be a rude action towards you because you intended her to have those coins anyways and don't care. But, you are not everyone and many people want/need those coins for various reasons. So, to me, the argument of "Well, I wanted to her to have it anyways" is very weak in excusing away this action.

Then ask for the coins back.  If the server refuses, then I agree there is a problem.  If the server happily provides them, I say no harm no foul.  I am seeing this from the server's perspective also.

Why should I have to ask for my own property back?
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: LeveeWoman on October 03, 2013, 12:38:34 PM
The entire plot of Office Space rotates around how much money you can steal by skimming a small amount off a lot of transactions.

I was thinking this too.  If we take the example of the 37 cents and 15 tables per night and assume the waitress is full time with a two week vacation, that equals 0.37 * 15 tables * 5 days per week * 50 weeks = $1,387.50.  It doesn't look quite so small anymore.

Especially if it's not taxed.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 12:40:51 PM
Tips must be reported and are taxed.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Yvaine on October 03, 2013, 12:44:08 PM
Tips must be reported and are taxed.

They're not taxed if she is dishonest and doesn't report that extra money, and given that she's skimming it in the first place, it might not be that much of a leap.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Curious Cat on October 03, 2013, 12:45:24 PM
I have personally never, ever been to a restaurant where the server didn't have easy access to change. I've traveled quite a bit over a good number of countries and eat out often.

I'm not calling you a liar, just saying that you do seem to have very limited experience to a certain kind of serving, so I'm not sure the "but it's so hard for servers to get change" excuse flies either. Even if it's more difficult for that server to get change, that's no excuse for a server not to bring change to the person waiting for it.

this ^^ 

i've lived in and traveled through a lot of places,  everywhere has had a till and i've been brought all of my change

I've traveled quite a bit as well and have never experienced what Turtledove is talking about *for waitstaff*  My cousin is a "shot girl" in Miami and her experience is similar to what TD is talking about - she doesn't have access to a till/must carry her own change.  However this is absolutely the only time I have heard of this ( all over the US as well as Europe, Mexico and the Carribean) and I really don't think it is relevent to the discussion because it is such a unique situation.
Title: Re: Short changed at a restaurant
Post by: Wordgeek on October 03, 2013, 01:22:05 PM
Locked, to put an end to the ridiculous nit- picking.