Author Topic: Short changed at a restaurant  (Read 16432 times)

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MariaE

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #60 on: September 30, 2013, 01:23:14 AM »
Shoo, FWIW I read your comment as a genuine and non-snarky question.
 
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Miss Understood

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #61 on: September 30, 2013, 01:29:19 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.

Sharnita

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #62 on: September 30, 2013, 06:09:49 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.

perpetua

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #63 on: September 30, 2013, 06:28:01 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?

menley

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #64 on: September 30, 2013, 08:35:43 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.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #65 on: September 30, 2013, 08:36:15 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.
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Mel the Redcap

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #66 on: September 30, 2013, 08:51:36 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.
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Another Sarah

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #67 on: September 30, 2013, 09:11:40 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?

TurtleDove

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #68 on: September 30, 2013, 09:30:31 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.

dawbs

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #69 on: September 30, 2013, 09:34:04 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.

Sophia

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #70 on: September 30, 2013, 09:50:37 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. 

Another Sarah

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #71 on: September 30, 2013, 09:52:09 AM »
Thanks Turtledove, that makes more sense now - I didn't know that in the US tips are taxable either!

Sharnita

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #72 on: September 30, 2013, 09:52:25 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. 

TurtleDove

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #73 on: September 30, 2013, 09:58:47 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? 

LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #74 on: September 30, 2013, 10:01:15 AM »
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?

That happened to me too!  About a week or so ago.  I was royally ticked off and will probably be very wary of going to that restaurant ever again.   It's not new, it's not normal, and it should NOT be happening. EVER.

At the diner where I eat breakfast every Saturday morning, they round the change up to the nearest nickel, and I'm fine with that.  But keeping ALL of the coins?  No way.  That's just plain stealing from me.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 10:14:06 AM by LadyJaneinMD »