Author Topic: Short changed at a restaurant  (Read 15998 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #75 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 #76 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 #77 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 #78 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 #79 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 #80 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 #81 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 »

Sharnita

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #82 on: September 30, 2013, 10:01:56 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.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #83 on: September 30, 2013, 10:07:46 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.
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Ontario

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #84 on: September 30, 2013, 10:09:46 AM »
Shoo is taking a break from the forum.

Everyone else, carry on.

TurtleDove

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #85 on: September 30, 2013, 10:14:16 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. 

gollymolly2

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #86 on: September 30, 2013, 11:35:22 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.


wolfie

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #87 on: September 30, 2013, 11:37:12 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.

perpetua

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #88 on: September 30, 2013, 11:41:51 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.

TurtleDove

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Re: Short changed at a restaurant
« Reply #89 on: September 30, 2013, 11:43:31 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.