Sunday, August 2, 2009

things I don't understand - Do people not know how to give change anymore?

So in the last couple of years, I've come to the realization that some people in the restaurant industry don't know how to give change.

There have been a number of occasions when I've been in a restaurant, and I'll get the bill, and I'll give them some amount of money that requires change. And if they owe me $5 in change, they're bring me a $5 bill, not five $1 bills. Each time that has occurred, I've happened to have a couple dollar bills in my wallet, so I could still leave the tip I wanted.

Recently, I paid a bill, and I was supposed to get $10 in change back. And the waiter brought me a $10 bill in change. Really? Seriously. No $5 bill and five $1 bills? Now, ok, I know, maybe there wasn't enough change in the register. But then, shouldn't that be accounted for as well, where there's a way for them to get additional small bills? In this case, I was planning to leave $2 as tip. I had a couple $20 bills on me, a $5 bill, one $1 bill, and my newly acquired $10 bill. That's it. I wasn't going to leave $5 as tip, so I just left the dollar as tip. It's less than I wanted to leave, but since the waiter didn't really do all that much for me, it didn't really bother me to leave just $1. I mean, I could have asked for change, but really, that was stupid. Doesn't EVERYONE know, and shouldn't EVERYONE in food service like that know, not to give back a single $10 bill as change, precisely because chances are the patron isn't going to leave a large bill as tip if they have nothing else, and it's more likely that they'll leave less if they don't have the right bills in their possession?

Now, I don't know why I know about the whole change thing. I've only worked food service once in my life, and it wasn't really a tip thing, so I just gave change at the register. Maybe it's just something I've heard. Maybe I heard that all wait being staff was taught to give change that way. I guess that doesn't happen anymore.


Tim Castro said...

I almost always pay my restaurant tab and tip by credit card, so I generally don't run into this. (And yes, I know the wait staff would prefer cash, but I try to save the cash in my wallet for small purchases or places that don't take credit cards.)

The few times where we specifically needed to break down large bills for tips (e.g., a large group from the office was going out for lunch), the only option was sending someone over to the cashier to break down all the "Yuppie Food Stamps" (i.e., $20 bills from the ATM).

Sherry said...

I'm going kinda on the same line as Tim. Although I prefer to tip in cash, I guess that the restaurant industry is getting so used to people paying their tip on their cards that they don't train their wait staff/cashiers to properly give out change for a tip. The smarter people should figure it out, though: if you want to ensure a proper tip when you are paid in cash, give the patron the proper bills. It irritates me when I have to ask for change for the big bill they just gave me. What? Did you think that THIS was your tip? You do think highly of yourself, don't you?

Cindy said...

I can see the point that the two of you are making, but the places where I've had this issue are places that aren't that expensive, so the tab is going to come to $10 - $15 per person at most. For that amount, I tend to not want to use a credit card. From the business I can see in the restaurant, most people pay in cash, not so much credit card, and they are small businesses. Maybe that's the problem? Because it's a small business, they don't actually train their staff, whereas a larger corporation might?

Or maybe they're not thinking of their tips? Or maybe because it's a small business, they're not thinking about having change on hand? I don't know, it just frustrates me when it happens.

Anonymous said...

We have had that happen to us a lot lately. My husband thinks it's the waiter(ess)'s way to force a larger tip. It's annoying to say the least and usually lends to a smaller tip.

Tim Castro said...

After kicking this around a little more, I'm thinking that the cashiers are trained to make change using the largest bills. The restaurants intentionally want to keep as many small bills as possible. After all, you can't give $4 in change if all you have is a till full of $5s and $10s.