HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Rounding up absurdity

I recently went to Vinyl & ordered a wrap to go. The check I was given was for $12.87, I gave the waiter $15.00 & was given back $2.00. As I waited for the wrap I thought this could be an oversight or it could be the waiter deciding to round up. When my order came I asked & the waiter looked me straight in the eye & said "yes, I rounded up". After a few silent moments of me just staring at him, he comes back with "do you want the thirteen cents?" A challenge? Am I supposed to now be embarrassed to want my own money (no matter how small of an amount) back? I said "no, I don't want the thirteen cents but what I do want is, in the future, for you to ASK the customer if it's okay with them if you round up" He nodded a lot & agreed, but I'm really blown away be this. I'm a native nyer & this is a new one even for me. Does it work the other way around - if I order something for $22.44 can I just pay $22.00, I think not. Of course, it's not about the stupid thirteen cents it's about the customer being informed about pricing - how much & what am I paying for?? I mean, is this what the restaurant industry has come to - is EVERYONE running a scam?? I was actually going to leave a tip! I've worked in the restaurant industry (catering & events) & I know it's a tough road but come on. As I thought more about it, it brings up larger issues - is this something that the restaurant mangement has the waiters doing to line their own pockets or is it the waiter himself? Is that extra money going to the waiter, the restaurant owners, is it divided so that the dishwashers & busboys get a cut? Good grief - I don't want to deal with this nonsense. It just leaves me with less & less of a desire to dine out anymore. Anyone else have a similar experience?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Haven't had the experience, but the behavior is outrageous. That waiter should be fired, because he technically stole from you.

    If the waiter wants to start a movement to ban the penny and/or the dime, that's his prerogative. Until the Government gets rid of the coinage, he is obligated to give you your change.

    I would have told him, "Why, of course I want my change! And if you hadn't stiffed me on it, I probably would have tipped you the $2 + the .13 we are arguing over." The waiter was in the wrong, not you. Hopefully he's a "bad penny," and this won't become a common phenomenon. ;-P

    2 Replies
    1. re: DanaB

      Thanks for your viewpoint, I suppose I'm not crazy after all. That bit about the tip, would've been the perfect statement.

      1. re: DanaB

        i agree 100% this is lame but calling it theft is kinda ridiculous.
        it's like saying if somebody pushed past you to get in line ahead
        at the DEEM SUM counter, they are guilty of battery ... both are just
        cases where you have to "push back".

        it's annoying when something like this is in your face, but at least
        it's straightforward to deal with unlike a stealthy bait and swtich or
        surprise upsell etc.

      2. is the action of the waiter correct? NO, NADA, NEIN, NYET, NOPE, NEVER, NFW.

        there is always someone running a scam, trying to cut corners, looking for the easy way out. unfortunately this waiter was a bad apple, and not the norm, thankfully.

        It would be interesting if you brought this thievery to the attention of the manager and see if s/he also had this sense of entitlement.

        17 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          I don't think this was a scam I think it was sheer laziness. Even if the waiter had a 100 transactions a day and rounded up $0.13 from every customer he would net a grand total of $13. If the waiter really wanted to steal there are much easier ways to do that than $0.13 at a time.

          IMO, the waiter was just too "lazy" to count out the $0.13 and just assumed nobody would mind. He was wrong and was corrected as well he should have been.

          1. re: KTinNYC

            If it's too exhausting to make change, the waiter should suggest to management that all prices be in even dollar amounts. Purposefully giving someone less change than he's entitled to is stealing.

            1. re: small h

              It may be "stealing" but it is not an outright scam. There is no subterfuge and even a junkie isn't going to try and rip someone off $0.13 at a time.

              1. re: KTinNYC

                It's both. the waiter whether lazy or otherwise is banking on the customer being more lazy or unaware than he is, the very nature of a scam. And he is taking what is rightfully someone else's property, a Class C misdemeanor in CT and larceny in NY. Once people are de-sensitized to common thievery, then this is an accepted occurrence.

                1. re: jfood

                  When I think of a scam I think of a conscious plan to defraud. Maybe I'm wrong but just don't think the waiter has consciously decided to defraud customers $0.13 at a time. He is, technically, stealing but do you really think this waiter is trying to get over on the customer? If he is, to what end? Over the course of a day he would net less than $20. Hardly worth his time. I think he is wrong but I really don't think this amounts to a scam.

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    Are you kidding? My very rough, amateur math tells me that $20 a day is $4800 a year. That is a huge amount of money. That's more than I made all year total my first year out of college, and I was waiting tables then. To have been able to double my income by stealing from my customers and making them feel guilty about my doing so, gosh, if only I had known.

                    1. re: rockandroller1

                      You were a waiter, did you serve 100 parties a day? At best this guy makes $13 dollars if he "steals" this pocket change and serves 100 parties it's probably closer to 30 so that means this criminal mastermind makes an extra $4 a day...You can think this guy is out to rip off every customer I just think he is lazy and doesn't care about $0.13 either way and wrongly assumed the OP wouldn't either.

                      1. re: KTinNYC

                        as they say KT, everyone has a different tolerance for pain. c'est la vie. Raffiqi's would never do this. :-))

                        1. re: jfood

                          Raffiqi's only deals in round numbers ; )

                          1. re: KTinNYC

                            lamb on pita lite on the white sauce $4.25, jfood looking forward to monday in the city. :-))

                        2. re: KTinNYC

                          I'm guessing that even if the guy serves 100 parties, probably only 30 would pay in cash anyway.

                          I also seriously doubt any state/district attorney would file on a person who takes $.13, not to mention what victim would want to show up for that? I think the guy is just lazy.

                      2. re: KTinNYC

                        if a waiter for a lunch shift makes, net of tip outs, $100, he just gave himself a 20% raise. and no tip outs on this. neat scam.

                        1. re: jfood

                          I highly doubt this is a concious scam. I'm with the other posters who think the waiter is just lazy. Doesn't make it right, that's for sure...but still, i don't think he's going home at night celebrating with thoughts of the 0.13 he managed to rip off the customers!

                          1. re: iluvtennis

                            I haven't read the rest of the posts, but I'm surprised that everyone so far assumes that the waiter is acting of his own accord. Isn't it possible that this is a management directive of some sort? I wouldn't be so quick to jump on the waiter unless I knew for sure it was his independent decision to short-change the customer.

                            1. re: lisavf

                              if it is the intended policy of the management, and it is communicated as such to the waitstaff, then the waiter is complicit in the dishonesty.

                              generally, i, too, attribute the op situation to waiter laziness. still doesn't excuse it, of course.

                2. re: KTinNYC

                  If he's too lazy to make change, there's a simple solution that doesn't involve theft: round down.

                  1. re: Cachetes

                    100% agree with cachetes. I don't think it's "lazy" at all. It's crazy, like a fox. He is deceiving the customers little by little and profiting from it. Why does the scale matter? If it's big numbers and a big company, we call it embezzlement. If it's a waiter and it's smaller in scale, it's ok?

              2. I think that I would have informed the waiter that he did not give me back the correct change and that I expected the 13 cents (isn't there a cents sign on the keyboard - hmmm).
                It should not be up to the waiter to decide what change to return to the customer, who knows what his criteria is. I would also have informed the management to see if this was allowed at the restaurant. If the management seemed to be ok with this kind of underhanded thievery, I would not be going back to Vinyl.

                1. I had a similar situation in Sbux last year which I posted about. I bought something which for argument's sake came to $1.95 and gave the barista $2.00. She put the 5c into the tip jar. I was flabberghasted. I cannot remember now whether I challenged her or not. Knowing me I did.

                  1. i'll betcha 100% that the waiter wasn't giving the 13 cents to the house.

                    for the principle, not in a resto, but a store, i once stood there and said, "you owe me a penny." the response was, "oh, i'm sorry, i didn't realize..." fair enough. maybe i was in a piss-ant mood, but maybe not. hey, it's my money. i recall once when i was a kid cleaning out my closet, and my mom caught me throwing several pennies in the trash. "you're throwing away MONEY? i don't CARE if it's just a penny; they add up!" she grew up in the depression and hard times. my parents worked hard to provide for me and my family. then i realized how stupid i had been.

                    1. Absolutely no.

                      Moreover, the place is either badly managed on purpose or the manager doesn't know, because reconciling receipts becomes a nightmare when the cash drawer becomes an approximation of the receipts. Their auditors would flip out.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Karl S

                        Wow, Mookie. How horrid. I'm happy to read you called out the thieving clod.

                        Where is Vinyl?

                      2. Rounding to the nearest quarter,or dollar, is just a fact of life nowadays.

                        No great principle is being violated.


                        23 Replies
                        1. re: Big Bunny

                          Really? I've never encountered it, and would be livid if it happened to me without my permission.

                          There is a takeout place near us that rounds up, but they offer you something for it. If your order comes to $12.87 (for example), their register displays an image asking "For an even $13 you can add 2 cookies/a milkshake/soda/whatever to your order. That's just 13 cents, and a savings of X%!" and it's up to the customer to accept it or not.

                          1. re: Big Bunny


                            Just out of curiosity where do you find it a fact of life. In jfood's world he has never encountered such.

                            And you are correct that there is "no great principle being violated," it's a Class-C misdemeanor in CT.

                            1. re: jfood

                              I live in downtown Baltimore, and eat out regularly at various places.

                              With few exceptions, I just don't receive nickels or dimes in my change.


                              1. re: Big Bunny

                                Very interesting, thanks BB. The cashier has a good gig going down there. No need for a tip jar, goes directly in the pocket. :-))

                                1. re: Big Bunny

                                  big bunny, i am quite surprised at the regularity of this practice by vendors. you are saying you are regularly given incorrect change and it is OK with you? i presume you get quarters, but definitely not pennies. imo, inflation is bad enough without a little surcharge being added to every one of your bills.

                                  i wonder if other baltimore hounds have the same experience....please weigh in. i'll be careful in baltimore, if that is the food culture there.

                                  btw, big bunny, is it the same in the grocery store as at a take-out as at a restaurant?

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Only restaurants.

                                    It has been that way for a few years now.


                                    1. re: Big Bunny

                                      I dont seem to recall it happening to me in Baltimore.

                                2. re: jfood

                                  We round at my work, which isn't too far from CT.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      Varies by amount.

                                      But yes, we round both ways, and are encouraged by management to do so. If the bill was $98.47, we'd give $2 back, if the bill was $98.57, we'd give $1 back. To the best of my nowledge, there are no coins in our cash registers.

                                      When the wait/bar staff cash out at the end of the night, they round the amount due or the amount owed to whole dollars. The company doesn't use change of any sort.

                                      I waited tables there for a few years before becoming the somm, and have never once had any issues. Literally, no one has ever asked me for their coins. I suppose I could dig some up someplace if asked, but it never once was a problem (could be due to the fact that the check average is very high at my work, meaning few people pay with cash to begin with).

                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                        Thanks I. Interesting theory and glad the cutomers buy in as well as mgt.

                                        Have a good weekend and bottoms up.

                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                            Come on I exhale like jfood did on the other thread.

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              Must...not...make...a...grammatical...error! Ugh.

                                              Breath in, breath out.

                                          2. re: invinotheresverde

                                            If they don't use change, why don't they make all prices in whole dollars? To me it seems a way to scam customers.

                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                Thanks, MN.

                                                Tax, Peg.

                                                If it works both ways (rounding both up and down), how does it scam customers?

                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                  In the UK quoted prices are including tax - is it not the same in the US? If they are not, then retail prices could be calculated so that the tax brings them to a whole dollar.
                                                  It just seems bizarre that one can charge a price that can only be paid using the exact correct money without incurring some sort of rounding (no matter who 'wins').
                                                  It would be easy to skew prices to benefit the retailer instead of the customer; just set all prices so that inclusing tax they fall a few cents under 100.

                                                  1. re: Peg

                                                    There are some places in the US that do it. But they tend to be take-out type of places where they operate on volume. I think one of the reasons a lot of restaurants don't include the tax is because of psychology. If a restaurant can charge 9.99 or less for an appetizer/entree without having it go into double digits, I think a lot more people would be willing to purchase it. By having tax included in the items probably would push some dishes into the double digits (for an inexpensive/moderate restaurant). It sounds silly but people do get influenced by that.

                                                    1. re: Peg

                                                      Some states and/or local governments require that the actual price of an item before tax be listed. If the price + tax is shown on a pricing tag/menu, the breakdown (actual price and tax) must also be shown.
                                                      Simpler to just list the item price and then let the machine do the math.

                                      2. re: Big Bunny

                                        I'm in Dallas and this never happens here.

                                        1. re: Big Bunny

                                          I've had stores round in MY favor, but never the other way. I'd be really surprised if the places you patronize in Baltimore are regularly rounding in their own favor, as it is against the law. As I said at the get go, if the waiter (or a restaurant) has a problem with pennies, they need to price their goods so no change is needed, or they need to take it up with Congress, not take it out on the customers.

                                          1. re: Big Bunny

                                            I'm in NZ at the moment where they eliminated the penny some years ago, so no matter what the price is, if it isn't a multiple of five, it gets rounded up. But in NYC? I would have definitely questioned it!

                                          2. I have had similar experiences on a few occasions. And it does matter. I think you are correct to assume that the waiter/cashier will almost NEVER round down (this will happen on occasion, but I usually find it is when it is the owner running the till). Moreover, your 13 cents plus the other multiple thirteen cents that this person is stealing from many other customers will add up to a good amount of money over time. Moreover, the waiter is taking advantage of you being a good, non-confrontational person in order to steal from you right under your nose, which makes it all the more reprehensible!

                                            Never be embarrassed to ask for your money, even if it's a penny. Of course waiting and serving are tough jobs. But think about how hard you have had to work for the money you earned (which I presume you did not have to steal to get!). If every cashier/saleperson/waiter began to do this, it would actually make a difference on your end.

                                            1. I have had this happen at a bakery in NYC. Order was 4.50. Gave a $20 and received $15.00 in change with the clerk saying, "Here's your change. $15.00," which leads me to believe she knew exactly what she was doing. This is an incredibly busy place -- 50 cents here and there can add up to a HUGE amount of money. It wasn't the amount that bothered me. 50 cents won't make a huge difference in my life and I would have left it in the tip jar anyway. It was the principle of the whole thing. I was so shocked to the point that I didn't say anything at the moment but wrote the owner a very diplomatic Email when I got home. I do realize that it was my fault that I didn't say anything at the moment, which I have mentioned in the letter as well. Owner didn't respond for exactly one week. Wrote owner back saying how incredibly disappointed I was that I didn't receive an acknowledgment and how they must not take customer complaints seriously. Owner wrote back, saying that she Emailed me a response and that she'd be happy to send me the transmission and asked what my address was so she could send me a gift certificate. I told her that I didn't want a gift certificate -- was just looking for an apology. I just accepted her offer to send me the original transmission -- she never did which tells me that she never sent one in the first place. It really bothered me that she ignored diplomacy but chose to deal with an irate customer which sends the message that in order for somebody to pay attention to you, you've got to be kickin' and screamin', which is just not my style. Well, as I'll never step foot in the place again, I will never have to deal with them.

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                Wow, Miss Needle that is rather shocking. What surprises me more is when business owners and their employees don't acknowledge how quickly word-of-mouth over this type of bad behavior can circulate among regular patrons and KILL customer loyalty.

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  As most of the people going there are tourists, I think they probably have less to lose as they're not really dependent on a local customer base. This establishment is not hurting for any business. And I actually don't like their stuff. The only reason I went there was because they opened up a second location and I wanted to see if there was a difference.

                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                    I see. MN, I was referring to your experience with the owners response.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      I guess the owner thinks she's doing pretty well right now -- and she is. The owner definitely didn't handle it the best way. In my opinion, it wasn't flagrant enough for me to post about it on Chowhound. I find it best to try to not dwell on it as it's probably not the best thing for my emotional health.

                                                      Which reminds me that I was treated so poorly at a Napa winery a couple of years ago and never posted about my experience here. I thought I was over it, but I drove by that place a few days ago and got mad thinking about what had happened. I posted a review on tripadvisor last night. For some reason, I feel funny about posting it here unless I see a post lauding that place. Then I would feel compelled to give my two cents.

                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                        MN, fwiw-you can't argue with the truth. I appreciate knowing all sides of an experience so I'm going in with my eyes wide open. Thanks for sharing your experience.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          Thank you for your words. You are definitely correct that it's good to see a board that states both sides. Luckily, it seems that somebody did recently post something positive about the winery. So I guess I have a perfect segueway!

                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                            Miss Needle,
                                                            Since we like Napa, I would love to know which winery, so that we can avoid it. Same thing goes for the bakery. We live in NYC, and I think what happened to you was outrageous. I do not want buy abything from a place like that.
                                                            Sorry for your experience.

                                                            1. re: FoodWine

                                                              I've linked my experience here.


                                                              It seems that a couple of other hounds have noticed some rude behavior as well from one member of the staff. But a lot of people did seem like they were enjoying themselves -- maybe because it was free or they were receiving friendly treatment. I'm actually surprised that the employee is still there as this vineyard is supposed to be the friendliest place in Napa Valley. I'm wondering if he's a member of the family and they can't do anything about him.

                                                              And FoodWine and marmite, the bakery was Magnolia. As many people know, Magnolia was featured in Sex and the City which made them famous with tourists. There's always a huge line outside of their Bleecker street location, mostly tourists. It's really no biggie to not go back there because there are much better bakeries out there.

                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                Thank you, Miss Needle. We will not patronize those businesses.
                                                                I read your post about the winery. That winery host sounded really disgusting, so I am really happy to know not to ever visit the place. There are plenty of nice, good wineries in the area to choose instead.

                                                2. The 13 cents per customer would definitely add up over time and it sounded clear the server was deliberately trying to embarass you for wanting your correct, accurate change, trying to make you sound cheap, which would completely piss me off. I would have asked for all my money back and if they were busy, would have called the manager later to describe what happened, or sent a letter. If it was not a busy time I would have asked for a manager right there. I was a server for YEARS and I would NEVER do this. I have hunted down and begged tons of other people for change just to make the exact correct change, I would rather make the customer mad they had to wait for change, or deal with the frustration of hunting it down from 4 different sources, offering it to the customer and then being told to just keep it (ack, wish you'd have told me that sooner but thank you for the tip!) than to just boldly ASSUME that I could keep ANY of a customer's change, even one penny. And then to answer the way this person did, trying to embarrass the customer for asking for their change! OMG I would be SO pissed.

                                                  1. Do I think it's wrong what happened? Yes!

                                                    I do think our country need to get onboard with this though:

                                                    Considering it works both ways, for the business and the customer.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: LaurCar

                                                      laurcar, with all due respect, i don't need no frickin sweden!

                                                      count me "off board" and respectful of my property rights.

                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                        Um okay, no "frickin sweden" for you then. I respect that.

                                                        It is very possible that the U.S. government will remove the penny from circulation, considering the penny actually costs 1.7 cents for the raw materials, minting, distribution and continuous circulating in monetary system. That’s reason that other countries in the same economic situation removed .01 of a dollar out from there currency, it simply costs too much.

                                                        The Penny Removal Bill has been proposed twice and while it hasn’t been approved yet, there are economists trying to make it a reality. (I’ll count on some people obviously not being for this, but I am pro, especially if removing pennies will help makes my dollar stronger!)

                                                        We would have round down for sales to the nearest multiple of 5 cents for sales ending in 1c, 2c, 6c, 7c, and round up to the nearest multiple of 5 cents for sales ending in 3c, 4c, 8c, 9c? Values ending in 0c or 5c remain unchanged. And besides, round only happens in physical paper and coin transactions. If you pay with plastic, you will be charged the actually dollar and cent amount of your purchase, rounding doesn’t factor in. We are just talking about removing the physical coin, not the concept of .01 of a dollar.

                                                        Rounding laws may have positive the effect, exact change would have be counted out if there is a law saying what is/isn’t lawfully rounded. You would easily be able to point out to some one saying, they missed your change by a nickel, dime or whatever if you didn’t receive the proper change back.

                                                        I do agree that people in establishments unlawfully rounding, deciding how much and to who is wrong. I respect property rights of all.

                                                        1. re: LaurCar

                                                          people keep bringing up the cost of the penny, but it is utter and complete nonsense. It wouldn't make sense to make pennies that cost more than a penny if, and only if, the penny was a one use item. the same penny can get reused thousands, if not millions, of times. thus we are getting way more than 1¢ of value out of each individual penny.

                                                          and for what it's worth it costs more than 5¢ to make a nickel too.

                                                          i think this is related to the "velocity of money" but it is way too hot here today to chase that down right now

                                                          ok now back to food.......

                                                          1. re: LaurCar

                                                            Good God. They have "talked" about removing the penny from circulation since the 1970's. It isn't going to happen.

                                                            Back to the main topic. From my personal experiece, I would have gotten 15¢ back from the places I frequent- and the restaurant/waiter would have gotten a larger tip. I have never been underchanged. It has been attempted. I keep my hand out and open, waiting for the rest of the money.

                                                      2. This reminds me of a regular practice at San Diego restaurants: as the waiter picks up the payment for the meal he/she immediately asks... "Do you need change?"...
                                                        I always say "yes" and feel then embarrassed at having been put on the spot and made to look like a chump. Another all too frequent cheeseball routine is the waiter returning large bills with the change, thereby forcing diner to ask for smaller bills to leave a tip. I hate ending a meal feeling I have been manipulated by the waitstaff. Ugh.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: sdnativa

                                                          Oh, *that* issue has been the subject of huge flaming threads on this board in the past. Hopefully, it will not be re-opened as everything that can been said has been said on it.

                                                          1. re: sdnativa

                                                            why would anyone ever be embarassed to ask for what they want? for answering a question honestly?

                                                            and as as has been said ad infinitum on that other thread - waiters ask that question to save themselves trips, not to scrounge tips ( thats a poem)

                                                          2. Happened to me today, here in Bloomington, IN. Just had a bowl of soup. Tab was $4.82. I paid with a twenty, and received $15 in change. Should I be upset over the $.18? Probably not. Was I? You better believe it.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                              dang straight, pikawicca. what is up with these people? i mean the entitlement mentality is overrunning our populace! geesh!

                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                Good for you for sticking to your guns, pikawicca! That sort of behavior is absurd. I guess I'm fortunate that I've never encountered it, but if I do, I'll ask for my full change back too.

                                                              2. I've come across this several times this year, mainly at fast food places. I don't care if it is just a penny - the transaction has a specific value, the customer is to get all the change back that the mathematics of the transaction indicate.

                                                                I've asked for the penny (or more) back. They look at me like this is incomprehensible, sometimes having to get a manager to open the drawer. I wait patiently, thank them graciously, then drop the change into the jar for charity located by the registers.

                                                                I earned the money - if I want to hoard pennies or toss them from the window, it's my decision - I don't appreciate someone having the gall to make an assumption like that.

                                                                1. I've actually encountered the opposite a few times, where they give me more back in change, a quarter instead of 22¢ for example.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Jasz

                                                                    I've seen this too. I can't say I'm really bothered by either, just because I feel that life is too short to get worked up about it.

                                                                  2. I just wanted to add my two cents :-). This would not bother me in the least. It's annoying to have to deal with anything less than a quarter. Thos pennies, nickels and dimes are fodder for tip jars.

                                                                    My pet peeve is being given nickels and dimes when your change is more than a quarter.

                                                                    1. I've never had this happen to me in a restaurant and would definitely ask the waiter/waitress, with all the sweetness and innocence I could muster, "Btw, what happened to my 15 cents in change?"

                                                                      I have been rounded down a few times at the farmer's market, which was nice and unexpected.

                                                                      And I've found that newsstands are notorious for doing this. You give them $2 for a $1.95 magazine, and they just hand you the mag.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                        I've also noticed rounding is very common at the farmers market, now that you bring it up.

                                                                      2. I round to quarters. If I owe the customer $4.42 I'll give them $4.50. Just cuz it's annoying to have a bunch of change jingling around in my apron. I agree with those on here who say it doesn't bother them to be shorted a few cents. Even my tanning place does this. One session is $7.99 and they always ask if I want my penny back. I don't. It's not a scam, a lot of people just don't think a couple cents one way or the other is a big deal.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Stillwater Girl

                                                                          It's one thing if you *ask* but wholly another if you assume. I think the OP would have been fine if the waiter asked him, "do you want your change?" It was the assumption that he didn't "want" his change that was the problem.

                                                                          1. re: Stillwater Girl

                                                                            I always round to the nearest five cents when I'm giving people back their change. I don't deal in pennies, I think they're a complete waste of time and until I moved to Nth America I hadn't had to deal with them in over 10 years. I always round in favour of the customer - if the bill is $2.87 I'll give them whatever and 15c. Most of the time they leave it anyway, and then I don't have pennies jiggling around with all the other change in my apron.

                                                                          2. I have had this happen to me a few times and it annoys the bejezes out of me! And as someone commented earlier I LOATHE when you are asked by a server "Do you want/need change" GRRR.. What if I left a $50 bill on a $25 check? Do they assume they are getting a 100% tip?

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                              see the earlier thread on this very topic. what if you gave $100 on a $95 dollar bill. are they trying to get a 5% tip?

                                                                            2. I used to work with someone who would try and do the same thing - he would purposely round up to pocket some spare change. This guy would also cut the rest of the waitstaff out of cash tips and round up tips on credit card receipts. Yes, a few pennies are small change and this particular person you are dealing with may have just been lazy, but I would be on alert.

                                                                              1. Outrageous.

                                                                                I am a generous tipper (among other things), but I do not tolerate thieves or scammers.
                                                                                If someone tries to do that to me, they will not only wind up giving me my exact change, they also will not get a tip.
                                                                                Money is money, and cents add up, quickly.

                                                                                My husband once had to argue with a salesperson in a store, because the store clerk did not believe it when my husband claimed that the store computer was 7 cents off. The clerk obviously could not count, but when he, after showing all kinds of stupid attitude, checked the sum with a calculator, he had to admit my husband was right. Even after that, this jerk had the audacity to show attitude because my husband was not willing to overlook "a few cents".
                                                                                Think about that scam! The computer itself was obviously programmed to steal a few pennies per purchase. This was in a clothing store, a pretty popular place at the time. You can bet we refused to donate those pennies to the store.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: FoodWine

                                                                                  You're right about a few cents adding up. My sister-in-law and her husband save their change and use that as vacation money. We are usually shocked when we go to exchange our coins at Commerce Bank for bills. They definitely add up.

                                                                                  My mom was a big stickler for every penny because she once walked over a mile to the post office to mail a letter. As she was new to the country, she was unaware of how much things costed and how money worked here. She found out that she was one penny short to buy a stamp. She had to walk back home and get another penny to mail the letter.

                                                                                  In respect to some of the other comments here, I can actually understand about rounding up and down in certain situations -- like in Invino's restaurant. Most people don't pay in cash at those type of restaurants and probably won't have too much change lying around. And in cases of farmer's markets, I understand as well as they really don't have a cash register on premises. But in the situation that Mookie presented, I don't think it's appropriate what they did. Vynl is a diner and has a cash register. The guy was being either lazy or trying to scam -- who knows? The thing is if they are going to round down the change they give you, they really need to ask. I mean, who goes into a store to buy something that costs $2.02 and just automatically gives them $2.00 thinking that's OK? If the store says to just give them two dollars, that's what I would do. Otherwise, I am fishing for those two pennies or giving them $3.00.

                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                    I put all my spare change daily into a shoe box and took it to Commerce Bank last week. $106 in 3 months and there were plenty of pennies in there. It's your money. Why give it away?
                                                                                    I also bought gas yesterday: $53.56. Do you think if I handed the attendant $53.00 he would have been OK with the shortchange? I think not!

                                                                                    1. re: mschow

                                                                                      That's exactly the thing that bugged me about my experience at the bakery and the OP's experience -- the assumption. I think most businesses would be shocked if the customer rounded down on his/her own. So it is natural that the customer would be upset if the change they received was rounded down as well.

                                                                                  2. re: FoodWine

                                                                                    Me too. I am very annoyed on the few occasions a waiter decides to round up my bill. I ask for my due change and it is one of the very rare instances that I leave zero tip.

                                                                                  3. Looks like they were instituting a 1% fee for making change (rounded up).

                                                                                    THis is one of those marginally criminal behaviors I hate. Not enough to get upset about but cheesy enough to leave a bad tast in your mouth. If this was somewhere that I frequented regularly and knew the server, I'd expect it to work out evenly over time. If this my first time it would likely be my last.

                                                                                    For those of you that think it's small potatoes, 1% additional pure profit on a transaction would make many businesses very happy.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Scrapironchef

                                                                                      Thanks all for the lively discussion. This was the first time this articular situation had arisen for me, but I see now that it's poping up here & there (oh good a new trend!) & is something to watch out for. For those of you who asked where Vinyl is, it's in NYC, I've always had great service at the original location in Hells Kitchen but this was a new location on the Upper East Side I had never been to.


                                                                                    2. I've only seen that once or twice, and then only for a penny to a nickel. I've much more often seen it happen in my favor which obviously doesn't bug me :)

                                                                                      1. Quite a few posters seem to think it's not stealing because of the amount involved. I would be interested to know at what point it becomes theft. If $.13 isn't, is $.73? $1.13?

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: dd992emo

                                                                                          'm not so sure if those posters feel it's a matter of stealing as much as it's a matter of the amount is not worth getting worked up about.

                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                            Well, that also depends.If they object to others getting worked up about it, the best approach would be for them also not to get worked up about that....

                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                              It's a really interesting thread - I am sympathetic to both sides: on the one hand, my money is my money and they should make correct change or round in your favor. On the other hand, though, there's enough other stuff to get worked up over that I can see wanting to let the $0.13 short slide...but isn't that sort of the beauty of the crime? That the victim/customer is too lazy/busy/nonconfrontational to call them on it?

                                                                                              What if it wasn't $0.13? What if it was a some other thing of nominal value, but yours nonetheless? I mean, say you go to a fast food place and order a burger and fries. They call you up and as they hand you the tray with your food, the counter guy swipes a fry. What then?

                                                                                              1. re: akq

                                                                                                i love that hypothetical with the swiped fry! ;-D

                                                                                          2. Would rounding bother you any less if the change was going to charity? While researching this topic, I came across a number of intentional programs specifically designed to raise money for causes using rounding as a means to raise those dollars. And, for those arguing it's only a few pennies...the results from rounding for causes is a significant figure.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              An, but you see there would be disclosure and consent in such a situation, and the business would actually be tracking the discrepancy. For the consent to be meaningful, the charity would need to be identified too, since some people object to the purposes of certain charities. Et cet.

                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                Exactly. My answer to HillJ was going to be "yes, I would mind - unless they either asked me afterwards or informed me before my purchase".

                                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                  Yes, exactly.
                                                                                                  Also: I and only I decide when I donate to charity (chosen by me) and when I do not.

                                                                                                  1. re: FoodWine

                                                                                                    Thank you that was the response I was hoping for because the only "rounding" experience I have ever encountered was when a NYC resto tried to explain their rounding practices to me and my family as a "charitable" endeavor. No sign, no charity display...just a lousy excuse for bad behavior. So-I called the charity...and they didn't know a thing about it. So as far as I'm concerned "rounding" is a questionable practice no matter what the reason.

                                                                                                    A customer should always be asked, no exception.

                                                                                              2. I had this happen once here in the burbs of Phoenix. I was picking up a take out order and the woman who gave me change rounded up. I said, "Shouldn't I be getting some change still?" She just looked at me, then kinda giggled and said she didn't have any, she then scrounged through her apron pockets and found a couple nickles which she tossed at me. My coworker was appalled. I think it was merely a case of a harried and possibly ditsy worker, because her attitude and tone of voice were so silly! Maybe she was stoned (sometimes seems like a lot of servers at this particular place are). We've been laughing about it since, and it hasn't happened again.

                                                                                                1. It happened again to me tonight. I was as Damianio's and I was shorted 30-some cents. I took all my change and didn't tip. I hate it.