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Where's my change!?!

Went to a place today, got a burger, fries, shot of bourbon -- you know, the usual lunch. The tab was $14.62, and I gave the server $20. She brought me back 5 singles -- apparently thinking I'd never miss the 38 cents in change.

I've had that happen more than once, and I always short the tip, figuring the server is helping themselves to my money, so I don't have to be as generous as I usually am.

But it irks me -- if I saw 38 cents lying in the parking lot, I'd pick it up. That change is approximately 2 per cent of the bill!

Ever happen to you? How'd you deal with it? Oh, and I'll not go back there again. Stealing leaves a bad taste in my mouth -- more so than their burger!

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  1. I've had it happen the other way around: I'm owed $4.78 in change, so the server just brings me five singles. I usually apprecate that - less change for both of us to mess with.

    I wouldn't care if my sever shorted me a few pennies, but 38 cents on a $14 total would irk me.

    18 Replies
    1. re: Ditdah

      Rounding up is OK. Taking people's money or "assuming" it is a tip is not. The 2 acts are not morally equivalent.

      1. re: postemotional1

        I disagree. Rounding up is still stealing, but from the restaurant. Bring the exact change and let me deal with the tipping and coin fiddling.

        1. re: melpy

          "Stealing" presumes that the server is not a) following owner policy, or b) making up any shortage in an end-of-shift reconciliation.

          1. re: Midlife

            "Stealing" presumes that they are taking YOUR money without YOUR permission, which is EXACTLY the described situation. I don't give a rat's ass WHY they are doing it.

            1. re: PotatoHouse

              Sorry? The two possibilities I gave are not 'why's' at all. They are real possibilities of how this could work. To presume the server is stealing seems unfair.

              1. re: Midlife

                I have to say that I don't understand the b), but if it is the owner's policy to not bring the change, and the server chooses to work there and follow that policy, I think he or she is stealing just the same. If someone hires me to rob a bank, but I have to turn all the money over to them, am I not still stealing?

                1. re: 16crab

                  Totally agree. A couple years ago my employer asked me to commit healthcare fraud. I refused. Saying "My boss told me to do it!" would not have helped as a defense in court.

                  1. re: 16crab

                    Come on folks, in the example I was referencing (see Dit Dah above) the serve is rounding UP and bringing you MORE than you are due. Make sense now?

                    Rather than carrying around a lot of change the server rounds up and makes good with the house when the shift ends (if the house wants that). I'm not sure why everyone is so eager to find negatives.

                    1. re: Midlife

                      Midlife - 'dit dah' was not the OP. different issue.

                      1. re: hill food

                        This specific string is replying to Dit Da, who was replying to the OP. At least that's how I've always understood how the nesting works. Dit Dah raised the notion of "rounding up".

                      2. re: Midlife

                        I see now. Missed the post about rounding in the customer's favour as stealing as well. Don't see how a server would be able to get away with that because I think they'd have to settle up all their bills with the restaurant and then whatever is left is tip. Although if they are supposed to tip out to bartender, busboy etc. and they round up in favour of the customer, they are affecting those tips.

                        1. re: 16crab

                          Sometimes it's actually companybpokicy, therefore it isn't theft. My job expects me to give change in the customers favor, and they're aware that it impacts what we give deal with at end of shift. Typically I don't see any change in my tip percentage while taking that I to account.

                          1. re: bonesplosion

                            If it's company policy to round in the favour of the customer, then have at it. I meant if it's not company policy, it has the potential to get pretty expensive for the server. I once waited tables in a place with pooled tips (another thread, around here I'm sure). If I'd been rounding in the favour of the customer and it affected tips, there would have been some pretty pissy co-workers. As it was they were pissy anyways. It was a short-lived job.

                            1. re: 16crab

                              That's horrible. Honestly, I thought it was an awful idea until I saw it in action at my specific restaurant and thankfully people here tend to be generous with heir tipping and I've only had a single person short change me. That also had nothing to do with the change, but with them being drunk and rude.

                              1. re: 16crab

                                Come on! We are talking maximum of a buck here! If the tip is jepoardized ......we're talking a quarter if it's a BIG spender. That Pissy needs an attitude change!

                                You wait 10.let's say 20 tables a shift.(assuming and upscale place, not a hash house) 5 bucks on top of.or rather off......the pool. BFD!

                                1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                  What pool? You're assuming that I'm being short changed here and I said previously, I have never walked out with less than 20% in tips due to it. People who have short changed me are people who were too drunk or rude to understand their bills. I'm not saying that in other restaurants this wouldn't be an issue, but in mine it is not. And you need to calm down.

                                  1. re: bonesplosion

                                    although placed here, it was not directed to you. Chill

            2. re: Ditdah

              Yep, I've had it happen that way too, but never rounding THEIR way! Nervy! I think I might have thanked the server for doing the tipout for you.

              I pick up pennies. I always need one.

            3. I'm with you -- it's the principal thing, and it irks the snot out of me.

              Last time it happened to me, I shorted the tip AND she had the chutzpah to point that out -- I told her that had she not opted to pocket my change, the tip would have been higher.....when the door closed behind me, she was just standing there in shock. Oh well.

              18 Replies
              1. re: sunshine842

                Had breakfast with a friend that totaled $12. Gave server $20. She then asked me if I wanted the change back. After responding yes and waiting 20 minutes I had to track her down and ask for the change. Her reply was "Oh, sorry.....I forgot." Needless to say, I have not returned to that restaurant.

                  1. re: barb2007

                    "asked me if I wanted the change back "

                    I don't even like to be asked that question.

                    Yes, I'd like my food brought to me. Yes, I'd like clean silverware. Yes, I'd like you to remove the dirty plates when I'm done. And...yes, I'd like you to bring me change. Like...do your job, y'know? No part of that is optional.

                    1. re: Jim Leff

                      +1- I think some people who wait tables can get into a mode and don't stop to think about how tacky little tricks they've been taught, like "Do you want change back?" are. It's up to the management to occasionally repeat what the behavior should be like, in case there's tackiness afoot among the waitstaff. Because if your waiter attempts to stiff you, for instance, that's going to be what you remember about that restaurant, no matter how good the food was.

                      1. re: EWSflash

                        I for one think asking if you want change is a fine question, as i usually don't want any. If the server is using one of those black receipt holders they don't know what is in there when they ask, and when dining with a group or alone and paying with cash we are usually able to leave the amount we want to inclusive of tip.

                        1. re: sbs401

                          I am sorry but the appropriate response to being handed more than the amount of the bill is, "I'll be back with your change" leaving the guest the chance to say they don't need any/what is in there is yours. It is beyond rude to presume that any portion of cash belongs to you as the server until told so or the guest s had vacated leaving cash on the table.

                          1. re: Astur

                            Yep! It's your change, and you should get all of it unless you specifically tell them to keep it. End of story.


                          2. re: sbs401

                            > asking if you want change is a fine question ...

                            For me, It depends ...

                            If the establishment has included a mandatory tip ... I consider asking "do
                            you want change?" to be quite rude.

                            1. re: sbs401

                              Well... in my experience if people do not want change, the customer will say so like "keep it". I would fire someone if I caught them pulling that. I don't care if it is one penny change - you return it promptly to that table.

                              1. re: sbs401

                                I agree about asking if they can't see the amount etc. if they can see and the customer doesn't prompt "all set" or "no change" then They should bring exact change, period.

                          3. re: barb2007

                            I had a similar thing happen. Similar amounts, too. Service was poor to begin with, anyway. When the server said, "I'll get your change", I said, "Thank you". Fifteen minutes later I finally flagged her down and asked about my change. She said, "I thought 'thank you' meant 'keep the change'." I just said, "A 70% tip??? You've got to be kidding." I didn't leave a tip *at all*. The one and ONLY time I can remember ever doing that in my life.

                            1. re: velochic

                              I can do one better. I was a a resuturant bought a takeout item that was $3 paid with a $20 (it was the smallest bill I had on me. And no, no one asked if I had anything smaller) and the server actually said (I assume the change is part of my tip?) Yes, not only did he think a 567% tip was reasonable, he though it was insufficient!

                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                i can't top that, jumpingmonk.
                                your story takes the cake.

                            2. re: barb2007

                              I swear they do that on purpose. how many times have you been to a place talked with your friend and both of you say 'what are we waiting for, aren't we done here?" and then realize during drive home the server hadn't brought you back change-

                              1. re: barb2007

                                Wait, she expected an 8 dollar tip on a 12 dollar order and then 20 minutes later still didn't bring the change. Time to talk to the manager. I used to be a server, I never did that.

                              2. re: sunshine842

                                This scenario happened to me once as well. Irksome indeed!

                                1. re: chefathome

                                  and it just amazes me....if they'd returned the 38 cents, I'd have left far more than that....talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    Exactly. This one is difficult to fathom.

                              3. this has been discussed a lot already


                                I can't say I remember it happening, but that's probably because I try and leave the bill amount and the tip together (I often have small bills and coins) or I pay by debit. But it would annoy me if it were more than a few pennies.

                                1. I may get grief for this answer but when a server does that to me they have sealed their fate. I just concider they have helped themselves to their own tip and i leave nothing else. I have worked as a server and carried my own bank, and i would never do that. The one time a server called me on it I told her why I did it. Bet she stopped doing that.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: suzigirl

                                    Good for you. I wonder if some waiters don't take advantage of people's aversion to confrontation.

                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                      I believe they do. Its a gamble that i can only assume often goes in the servers favor. As you see the posters may leave a lesser tip, but truth be told, they are stillrewarding the bad behavior. Leave the greedy buttheads no tip and they may get it. And yes, I cannot dismiss those who hate change that jingles but I work my ass off for my money. And if you want the change to stay with the server, let it be up to you as a patron. Its not the servers hard earned money.

                                    2. re: suzigirl

                                      I agree with the concept...but I would make sure the manager knows why

                                      1. re: suzigirl

                                        You'll get no grief from me. Perfectly reasonable and sane response.

                                      2. I'm not sure this has ever occurred to me in a place where I am not known. But once I'm in a place a few times, they generally know not to give me back coins. Can't stand that stuff rattling around in my pocket.

                                        1. Never mind a lower tip. That .38 cents would have BEEN her tip.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Midknight

                                            I'm on the same page as you. If the server wishes to claim my change as their own, then I assume they're happy to take that as their tip. And really, it is a shame for them, since invariably the 20-30 cents they neglected to return is markedly less than they would have otherwise received.

                                          2. Former server here, and I am astounded at the fairly common practice of asking "Do you need change?"

                                            NEVER would I have asked that of a customer, or assumed that any coins belonged to me...


                                            18 Replies
                                            1. re: KSlink

                                              Me, too, on being a server....it wouldn't have entered my mind....until they tell me it's a tip, it's *their* money.

                                              I have, on many occasions, given the server the amount of the bill plus a couple of dollars, then gotten waylaid with phone, etc., rather than leaving right away as I'd planned. Once or twice, they've returned with ALL the change - including my extra dollars. They usually return to find a little more than they brought back to the table.

                                              1. re: KSlink

                                                I get asked that a lot and I find it totally offensive.

                                                1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                  Interesting. I get asked it a lot and think nothing of it. It seems like a time saver for the server to just pick up the book and put it in her apron and go on working, rather than taking the book back to her station and returning the change to me.

                                                  1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                    After reading through this thread and a couple of others, I do have to admit that "I'll be right back with your change" is more elegant and appropriate than "Did you need change?"

                                                    I agree that asking a question of the guest (especially involving money) imposes a bit and has the potential for making them feel uncomfortable.

                                                    1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                      "I'll be right back with your change" is more elegant and appropriate than "Did you need change?"

                                                      Agreed. But you know what's best? Bring my my freakin' change and shaddup about it. No leading questions, no nothing. Just bring the darn change. And if I then choose to leave it all on the table - i.e. you made that trip for nothing - that's absolutely just fine with me. It's not my aim to make your work flow more efficient. A restaurant is a service business.

                                                      1. re: Jim Leff

                                                        I think this wise poster has said it all on this topic, and sums up my attitude as well.
                                                        Great post, Jim Leff.

                                                        1. re: Jim Leff

                                                          Posts like this make me so happy that waiting tables was a way to pay for college and not a career for me.

                                                            1. re: Jim Leff

                                                              Not trying to be argumentative, but would you rather they just took your money and walked away without saying anything? Maybe not you, but I'm sure plenty of people would complain that it was rude to not acknowledge that you just handed over money.

                                                              Personally, once I hand the check and my money over, I would rather not see the sever again to drop off my change. I pay with exact change 99.9% of the time and once I pay I'm done.

                                                              1. re: donovt

                                                                I often don't need change. I add in the tip and I'm good to go. In that case when the waiter picks up the folder or tray or whatever, I say, 'that's fine, no change' before they even have a chance to ask. No awkwardness required.

                                                                1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                  *yes* Then there's no mindreading or second-guessing to be done.

                                                                  (If you don't say anything, though, the server should *always* assume that you need change.)

                                                                  1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                    Exactly, Sooeygun. As simple "we're all set" and the server knows that anything over the total bill is theirs to keep.

                                                                    Like the Big Dog above, I never EVER want to be asked "Do you want change?" That question shouldn't ever be asked, because the answer (unless I've already said "we're all set", of course) is ALWAYS going to be "Yes." And it's going to tick me off. As sunshine said - the assumption should always be the dining guest gets changed.

                                                          1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                            It depends. If the bill is in a folder and the server can not see what is inside, I have no problem being asked. If the cash is in plain view, it bugs me.

                                                            1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                              Ditto. It never occurred to me that I should be offended if the money is hidden away and the waitperson asks. I wonder what other things I am missing out on being offended about?

                                                              1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                That works for me too. If they don't see the money, then it comes across as a simple query - I generally pay with exact change if possible, and it saves them a trip.

                                                                If they've looked at the money first, though, it's different.

                                                            2. re: KSlink

                                                              Thank you. A server should never ask "do you ned change". It makes me feel cheap and hell yeah, you better bring me the money that you owe me. Unless I say "keep the change", you bring me back my money. I mean, where else is this acceptable?

                                                              1. re: KSlink

                                                                Me too Ksink. The nerve of people amazes me!!

                                                              2. I've never had this happen.

                                                                Doesn't bother me if server asks "Do you need change"

                                                                Was in a Chinese restaurant the other month, bill was say $14 and small change.. I left $17 on check tray (ten, five and 2 ones). Server took it away, and brought me back the 2 ones and change. It seemed to me plain that if I wanted change back, I would have just put $15 on tray. I'm not complaining, it was just out of norm.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: FrankJBN

                                                                  Right, but that us different than leaving one $20 bill, which I what I assume the OP did.

                                                                  1. re: FrankJBN

                                                                    "Doesn't bother me if server asks "Do you need change""

                                                                    I was a server and the classier way to express this is just to say "I'll be right back with your change." and then that usually prompts the customer to say "Thank you." or "No change, I'm good."

                                                                    1. re: dmjordan

                                                                      I expect that's what you're doing. No need to announce anything. The best servers are inobtrusive.

                                                                    2. re: FrankJBN

                                                                      I've worked at a restaurant where the servers were told to never assume that the person doesn't change, to always bring them their change back unless told otherwise, even in situations like that where the person most likely does not want change back. The general public is pretty bad at math. I had situations like that where the person would leave $27 on a $21.XX check and I would take that to mean that I should keep the change, otherwise they would have handed me $25. Then a couple minutes later they would ask where their change was and act like you were trying to tip yourself with their change. Believe it or not, it happens.

                                                                      On the other hand, in that kind of situation if you try to give them their change back they might look at you like you're dumb or like you think that that's not a good tip. A server is damned if they do, damned if they don't, so to me it was better to err on the side of caution figuring that if that's what they want to leave then they will. That's why it's best just to tell them to keep them change whether it seems obvious or not, in my opinion. Just because you're logical and have good math skills doesn't mean their other customers do as well.

                                                                      As far as asking "do you need change?" IMO that's something servers should never say. It bothers me a little when I'm asked that but it's not something I'm going to make a big deal about. Most don't realize why that's a bad practice for several reasons. For example, if they hand you a $50 bill and the bill was only $32 and you ask if you need change back, they might take that to mean that you feel entitled to and expect an $18 tip and you're not going to be happy or appreciative if they only give you $8, which is over 20%.

                                                                    3. Sorry this happened. It reminded me of when my family lived in Italy in the 70s and the country was experiencing a change shortage. They physically couldn't give you coins because they wouldn't have them. Some places ran tabs, some gave you little candies, on the autostrada (the main highway that charged tolls) they gave out stamps. I remember my mother hissing at my father to give them the stamps back at the next toll plaza.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: 512window

                                                                        That is a very interesting bit of history. I was unaware of that.

                                                                          1. re: 512window

                                                                            I remember reading about the giving out of candies in place of small change years ago. If I remember correctly it was because the coins were made out of aluminum and people were removing them from circulation and melting them down and selling the aluminum.

                                                                            1. re: john333

                                                                              I have no idea why it happened - but it's part of my experience and it colors my thinking about getting change back from my larger bills.

                                                                            2. re: 512window

                                                                              I experienced this, too, in Italy in the 1970's.

                                                                              1. re: 512window

                                                                                If one goes back a century earlier, The USA had a coin shortage during the Civil war and encased postage stamps were used as replacements for coins, also printed fractional currency.

                                                                              2. Maybe I'm hallucinating about it but I seem to recall reading somewhere about restaurants in which servers make change from their 'pockets/aprons' on cash transactions, and that do not have their servers carry change to save time. The idea is that it takes them too long to count it out. I suppose the idea, as it relates to this situation, is that you're going to leave more than the difference to the dollar anyway. Of course................ you, as the customer, have no way of knowing that unless you're a regular there, so this can cause problems, as it did here.

                                                                                Here's something I found while Googling on the subject: http://lubbockonline.com/editorial-le... The customer's point of view is obvious.

                                                                                I also Googled this subject including the word 'chowhound' but only came up with this topic and the two referred to above, but I can't imagine where else I'd've seen something like that. I swear I'm not making it up. ;o]

                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                                                  ITA!!! A place that we go to buy take-out breakfast tends to "round" to the nearest $.05. It drives us both insane when they round in their favor - even if we're only talking $.02. Again...it's the principle of the thing. My thinking is that if they don't want to stock pennies, that's fine, but don't penalize me!

                                                                                  Related topic...if you see a penny on the ground, do you pick it up?

                                                                                  1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                    Good thing you're not Canadian! We aren't making any more pennies and they will be taken out of circulation this September. Rounding is to be the law of the land :-)

                                                                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                      NZ phased out one cent coins *years* ago.
                                                                                      When paying cash, round down for 1 and 2 cents, up for 3 and 4. On average you come out equal.
                                                                                      When using a card you pay the exact amount.
                                                                                      It does seem rather penny pinching to complain! Most people don't want the small change!

                                                                                      1. re: piwakawaka

                                                                                        It has nothing at all to do with penny pinching. It's totally the principle of the thing.

                                                                                        1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                          +1. Yep...if they want to round, then totally fine, but do it in my favor. I know it's only a max of a couple of pennies, but it just irks me!

                                                                                    2. re: Midlife

                                                                                      As I mentioned before I have worked in restaurants that require you to carry your own bank and IMHO the keeping of change just sweetens their tips at the end of the night, as most restaurants require you to pay them food cost even if you had a dine and dash. So keeping my change is like saying I don't care enough to count it out or I don't trust that you can tip me properly. But if you keep my change, unless it is small, you get no tip as you have helped yourself to a "tip".

                                                                                      1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                        So restaurants are wholesalers and servers are retailers. The system is screwed up!

                                                                                        1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                          Not sure where you are but it's against the law where I am to charge servers for customers who don't pay their bill.

                                                                                      2. this was never happened to me, but if it had, and the server challeneged me, i would have immediately asked for the manager.
                                                                                        if the server thinks it is ok and s/he is entitled to self-tip, i would wonder at what else this server might feel entitled to in the pantry, the back room, the coat closet and even the till.
                                                                                        if management supported this practice, i would write to inform the owner or the corporate headquarters.

                                                                                        1. I have never had that happen, but probably for other reasons: I always pay by credit card, unless there is some prohibition against that. Also, in most cases, I would tip an extra $1.00, to NOT give me any coins, as they might find their way into my pocket, just as I go to the TSA checkpoint, later that day. I never carry any coins, except in the UK, and then make sure that none are in a pocket.


                                                                                          1. I don't know if this has ever happened with wait service, but there is a place I go (not a restaurant) that if the bill is within ten cents either way, they round it off.

                                                                                            I do find it offensive at times when servers ask if you want change. Especially when the bill is say about $24 and you hand them $40. I just find it a little obnoxious to assume that someone will over tip.

                                                                                            I think the craziest bill story I've ever had was in a bar. I went in for lunch and beer. The bill came to $21 and all I had was a $100. There was no sign saying they didn't accept bills that large and I'd been there before. The server explained that they didn't have any bills bigger than a $5 and I explained that was fine. She then came back and said they didn't have enough change. They asked me to wait til others finished their meal to get some change. I laughed and wasn't in a rush, so told them I would. About twenty minutes (and a free beer) later, they gave me my change. If I was in a rush, obviously this would have been a bad story.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                              I think the free beer probably helped with the wait. It would for me :)

                                                                                              1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                I hope you learned your lesson and never tried to pay for lunch and a beer with a $100 bill again. Unless you're trolling for free beer. you really screwed them up by doing that, it appears.

                                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                  there's nothing there to indicate that it was intentional....apparently you've never been in a situation where the only bill you had was a large one.

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                    Agreed. If they really can't accommodate a hundred, then they should post a sign saying so. Plenty of businesses do it.

                                                                                              2. This is probably all wrong but here goes. Suppose a restaurant has the great majority of its transactions on debit or credit cards. The management has told the staff to round up or down to the dollar on cash transactions as change just takes , uh, too much work, time, resources, intelligence, whatever and they do that. l have no issue with rounding. When l worked retail and the average food sale was @ $ 40, l always rounded up or down to make the transaction time less.
                                                                                                l am sitting here in Europe looking at a dish with a ton of change in it and am happy never to deal with change, so for me this way is good, it minimizes my dealing with change, and l am happy. l doubt the staff is 'stealing' your change as maybe they, the management, thinks as l do and it is more of a PITA than it is worth.

                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                  Then tell me up front that that is what you're doing -- and give me the option.

                                                                                                  Or write the menu to have only round numbers -- then it never even becomes an issue -- especially here in Europe, where tax and gratuity are already included.

                                                                                                  But I will never, ever assume that when my change disappears with the server that it's altruistic.

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                    In Europe it is not an issue as no tax has to be added, and this OP had the situation before the tip added. Not implying l am right, but it is the way l prefer to deal with change.

                                                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                      but that's just it -- it's your *choice* -- and for every person who doesn't want the change, there's someone else who does.

                                                                                                      The reality is that the extra change will eventually become a profit center. as the rounding becomes more and more lax. (or an alarming profit leak, if the owner rounds in the customer's favor more than 50% of the time -- even if it's only 2-3%, it's big enough to affect the operation of the restaurant.)

                                                                                                      Nobody's right or wrong -- but if you're going to round, just tell the customer, so the customer can make his/her choice -- because it is ultimately the customer's money until he/she communicates otherwise.

                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        +1 you are so correct..."it is ultimately the customer's money...." it has happened to me in all types of eating establishments. I do not like it.....I am a plumbing contractor , and if my workers went to your home, gave you a price in writing, (much like a menu) gave you the service and product, asked for payment, and my worker took a little extra, you would haul my ass into court!....what my worked just did is called fraud!
                                                                                                        The wait person taking your change is tatamount to what I have just described.

                                                                                                        (there is no difference , you ask for a product and service in a restraunt, they provide it and you are obligated to pay the stated amount on the menu plus applicable taxes and gratuity)

                                                                                                      2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                        Personally, I have zero problems with rounding up to the next denomination, whether $, £, ¥, or whatever. That works for me, and I do similar with tipping.

                                                                                                        With the exception of £2 coins, to be used as ball-markers on the golf course, I do not want a bunch of coins, and usually hand them off somewhere, before I leave a country.

                                                                                                        In the US, I hate coins, and fill up a bank with them, rather than run the risk of having them in my pocket, when I go through TSA security.

                                                                                                        Less than a $? Fine, round up, or round down. I do not care.


                                                                                                    2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                      In a hospitality business, rounding against the customer without the customer's prior consent is corrosive of the mission. Over the long term, it's not worth the ostensible saving of effort. Businesses that do it betray their stupidity, even if customers think it is cupidity.

                                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                          With that perspective, a wise one, i guess l would be okay , were l a restaurant, to always round down on cash sales, lose a few bucks a day, but no change needed.

                                                                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                            Well, the you can increase prices marginally to cover the cost, of course. But that way, you get up front buy in from the customer. Informed consent is much better than presumption, even if the practical monetary result is the same, because trust is an easy thing to fritter away, and much more valuable than spare change in a business that relies to any extent upon trust.

                                                                                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                              Round up with me, and you will never get a complaint. Others? Well it looks like you will.


                                                                                                            2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                              You wanna do that........ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS round in the customer's favor!

                                                                                                              What ever happened to common sense and customer service?

                                                                                                              You can't make your business work because of the extra time you need to make things correct, why be in business?

                                                                                                            3. YES, and i was irked. it was only ¢.20 but it's still belonged to me. I went to the farmers market once. the total came out to $4.30 and i handed her a $20. she asked if i had anything smaller so i dug out $4.50. 4 dollar bills and 2 quarters. once i handed that to her i waited for my changed and all she said was "you're good to go" in this very stern intimidating way. i walked away feeling like i shouldn't have walked but felt petty for asking for ¢.20 back. i felt so confused by her action and words. i know it's not a lot but the change did belong to me. i still haven't gone back to that vendor since.

                                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                I would say that it is very common for farmer's markets to round. Not only for speed, but because of the lack of small change for lack of sufficient volume. I've found they round in my favor as much as they round in their favor, so there is some trust established, and the markets are not in the hospitality industry.

                                                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                  farmer's at markets are still in the business of sales. i'm still paying for a product at the end. there is still a markup built into the profit margin. sure they do round up or down but i still say keeping the customers change is bad business whether you're a farmer/amazon.com/restaurant. so it's ok to keep the customers change if you're a farmer? i just don't agree with that.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                    I visit three farmers' markets regularly, and all three round in the customer's favor if they round at all. Just today, I bagged up some squash, and when the vendor weighed it, the price on the scale came up to $2.48. He said, "Grab another one (squash) and we'll call it $2.50." I'm guessing that extra squash probably would have brought it to $3.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                      When I find that happen, I say to the vendor "don't worry about the pennies." Generosity and rounding should go both ways.

                                                                                                                      1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                        I tried to do that -- but here, they're legally required to give the change, much to everybody's chagrin!

                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                          They sure round down at my local markets in Paris, especially Place Aligre

                                                                                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                            Really? I've even told them not to worry about it out here -- and they've told me it's obligatoire...

                                                                                                                            One would think they'd be more lax about in the country than in the city....

                                                                                                                      2. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                        I go to farmers markets a lot and they usually round in my favor. Sometimes I'll tell them to keep the dime or two that is owed me in change.

                                                                                                                    2. re: trolley

                                                                                                                      Oooh- i would have raised my voice ever so slightly and said "What about my change?" That one was doing it intentionally, and not living in the same world that Bill Hunt does, obviously.

                                                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                        "That one was doing it intentionally, and not living in the same world that Bill Hunt does, obviously."

                                                                                                                        :-) LOL!

                                                                                                                      2. re: trolley

                                                                                                                        Farmer's markets to me are another story, but I think the majority of vendors that I deal with, in this case, would have handed me a quarter back, taking the five cent loss. We always make sure we go with lots of small bills and change so as to be exact, and they appreciate it, but on the odd time we don't have it I'll tell them not to worry about the change before they have a chance to take a loss, which they would. My goal is to support them - but I'd be annoyed if they assumed they got to keep the change.

                                                                                                                        1. re: 16crab

                                                                                                                          well, i really limited myself from this vendor, especially when the cranky change hoarder woman was working. so i moved out of state last year. my last week before moving, i visited the farmers market and get some salad greens by this vendor. go home to find that the put old slimy greens in the middle of the bag! that was the last time, ever!

                                                                                                                          1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                            "old, slimy" about sums it up..about the place, the produce and the person

                                                                                                                      3. Just went to a pizza place and the bill was $20.50. Gave the waiter $40 and he brings back $19. I ask for my $.50 and he says they don't usually do change! This has happened to me before but only in Miami. It is not the $.50 it is the principle. Really gets me crazy! $.50 x 200 customers per day X 350 days is $35,000 per year! I have been working in the hospitality industry for many years and tip well but this is just too much....Am I crazy?

                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: gtto22

                                                                                                                          I hoped you asked for your dollar back then.

                                                                                                                          1. re: gtto22

                                                                                                                            I would ask to speak to the owner. I would politely say to him ....are you busy,?can I have about 5 minutes of your time?...if he said he is busy, which one can understand....I would give him my business card and ask to be called at his convience.....I would then have a meaningful discussion. If he was not receptive , I would send him an old fashioned letter, the one that comes delivered by the postman, certified , return receipt. I would send a copy of that letter to the local or state authority and describe the cheating that is going on. I would also notify the local and state taxing authorities and tell them they are skimming money by rounding up and not collecting additonal sales tax on the $35,000 per year....I am sure the restauranteur would recognize his wrong doings in front of the taxing authority and try to make restitution with the tax authority or be closed down...I think this is a very reasonable if not effective approach.

                                                                                                                              1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                I am sure you would not stoop so low as to conduct yourself in an unscrupilous manner....and thus the above should be reserved for slime.....I had an ex-wife who cheated the state on sales tax.....did they come down on her....fortunately we were divorced....she used the money I gave her to start the restaurant....lucky for her our daughter who is a lawyer, represented her for free...the restaurant was doing great and she sold it for a small profit...I was happy....but people who play with fire eventually get burnt!

                                                                                                                              2. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                You must be Irish! We never forget a slight.

                                                                                                                            1. The only way this would more than very slightly irritate me is if I had already received such horrific service I was planning on no tip at all. It does leave a warm fuzzy when they round in your favor though--to me that conveys a lot of trust. I do typically pay with plastic ... and I do not pick up pennies.

                                                                                                                              1. We've all experienced this, but I have been following this thread and some of these stories seem completely made up. Almost like, OH I can top your story. 99.9% of the time, I think the server is the one getting screwed. I don't see too many threads of by waiters complaining about the jerk who complained after sitting at his table for 30 minutes yapping, before paying the bill. I laugh at all these people who are saying they got screwed out of 45 cents and then didn't tip. Relax

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                                  There are sites specifically for servers and yes, they do rant on about that and other things of that ilk.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                    Agreed. At what point is theft alright? It seems .45 is acceptable. How about $45?
                                                                                                                                    As someone said above, theft is theft. Whether it's by a waiter or not, why does the amount of the theft make a different?

                                                                                                                                  2. The freq of this stunt seems to be increasing. I remember trying to pay for a $ 13 breakfast with a $20 ... And the server hiding with my chg. After finally asking for the mgr, he said they didn't have $7 in chg. tried to pay with CC ... And told that CC reader was down.

                                                                                                                                    Finally got $5 in after a very long wait ... Left the waitress 50 cents. She followed me out to the street, complaining. Telling her to recover the $2 from mgt was a wasted effort.

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: rainsux

                                                                                                                                      THAT is bullshit. (their behaviour, not your story)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                        You got THAT right. I'd have been tempted to call the police.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: rainsux

                                                                                                                                        I would have told them to either find me the change or comp my meal. Having a reasonable float is part of doing business, and the amount you are talking about seems very reasonable to me.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                          Yep.........bring back my 20......I'll give you 10

                                                                                                                                      3. Hasn't happened to me. <knock on wood>

                                                                                                                                        I'd short the tip according to the amount owed. Also, probably drop to a 12 to 15% tip and vow never to return.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                          Leaving no tip to the server sceams volumes. A lesser tip to a lunkhead who pilfers change just says to them you are a bad tipper. Trust me. They feel entitled.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                            Let them think I'm a bad tipper. I won't be back anyway.

                                                                                                                                        2. If the amount in change gets rounded down, I subtract that amount from the tip that I leave. Honestly, I have more important things to worry about in my life.

                                                                                                                                          1. First off, let me state my affiliation as a former server. Now that I got that out of the way, I'll say that I've had this happen both ways to me. Whenever I was shorted, I took the high road while politely calling it to the server's attention, attempting to come across as someone who was giving them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they forgot. One waitress I had this happen with at a restaurant I dine at regularly actually said "Most customers don't want the coins back." I still took the high road in not complaining about her to the management, didn't even call in a complaint to a customer service line or somesuch(she did begrudgingly get me the proper change back, btw). But I did tip a little less than what I was originally going to tip. Oddly enough, I have not seen her there since, so I'm sure she pulled the same stunt with someone else and didn't survive that time around.

                                                                                                                                            I've also had the server that used the "I didn't have change" excuse. I understand if you didn't have change. That's why if you don't have it, you round in favor of the customer. Needless to say, once again, I tipped a little less than what I would have. She did get me the change that was due back to me.

                                                                                                                                            Now on the flip side, the servers who rounded in my favor got tipped more. And I have noticed a difference in service between servers who round in their favor and those that either bring back exact change, or round in the customers' favor. The servers that rounded in their own favor usually gave off lousy to fair service, while those that brought back exact change or rounded in the customers' favor gave off good to excellent(or even awesome) service. Go figure.

                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: ShinkickMurphy

                                                                                                                                              "I have noticed a difference in service between servers who round in their favor and those that either bring back exact change, or round in the customers' favor. The servers that rounded in their own favor usually gave off lousy to fair service, while those that brought back exact change or rounded in the customers' favor gave off good to excellent(or even awesome) service."

                                                                                                                                              That's the first really fresh and insightful thought I've seen on this evergreen topic in a long time. You're dead right.

                                                                                                                                              Well....but OTOH there are plenty of ways to give bad service without inflicting this particular bit of aggravation, so I'd reverse it and simplify it: Good servers don't do this move. Because it's bad service. And good servers are good service because they 1. know what good service constitutes, and 2. they go out of their way to provide it. Tautological, but true. They don't. As I think back, it's never been the case.

                                                                                                                                              Same even for asking whether I want change. No server better than "sorta ok" has ever asked that. Funny I failed to correlate this until I read your posting.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                                                                                                And I like the way you put it as well. :-) The last restaurant I worked at, the customer paid at the register, so it was never really an issue. But when I did work in a restaurant where I had to carry my own bank, I always made sure that the customer got all of their change, even if they put in a few extra singles because I worked on the assumption that maybe it was an accident. And if I didn't have enough coins to make correct change, I rounded it in the customer's favor. Like they say: the thief will be stolen from. Last thing I want to be is a thief.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: ShinkickMurphy

                                                                                                                                                  Yup, I've gotten back change when I've clearly included tip, too. And know what? I generally throw in a little extra. Partly cuz of the display of non-schmuckery, and partly because I see the stack of coins and singles and think "what the hell". Not every customer does, of course, but tempting customers to overtip from extra diligent change making is just plain smarter than tempting them to undertip by change stealing.

                                                                                                                                                  Better service AND smarter.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                                                                                                    You sound like a very nice fellow, Jim. Do you also "throw in a little extra" for your plumber, physician, car mechanic, etc.?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                      I generally invite them to enjoy a nice Belgian ale after the job if they're nice. If not, screw 'em. I try to only deal with nice people.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                                                                                                        Good thinking. Unless of course they do not like Belgian ale or may be a recovering alcoholic doing their best to avoid any type of alcohol you may serve them.

                                                                                                                                                        But like you said, "screw 'em".

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                          Yes, you read me exactly right.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                                                                                                            hahaha. that is devastatingly funny a response - am ithe only one who got this?!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: howler

                                                                                                                                                              Please explain. I don't get it!

                                                                                                                                            2. When my sis lived in Greensboro, NC, a particular gas station she frequented would always enter the dollar amount as 1 penny less ($19.99 instead of $20.00). Think of the scenario in "Office Space".

                                                                                                                                              1. Cashier laughed at me today when I asked for my penny. I bought a can of iced tea for $.99 cents, but she told me that it was $1. So I asked for my receipt. $.99 was the total on it.

                                                                                                                                                Would have let it go but I had just stopped at TJ's where I didn't get a discount for bringing my own bags or the raffle ticket and Whole Foods where they didn't give me the discount either.

                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                  hehe -- yep, sometimes it's the principal of the thing.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                    Exactly. It adds up when you are on a budget and only spend cash on groceries.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                    If she was going to laugh at you for her stealing your penny, you should have handed her the iced tea and asked for the whole dollar back and then laughed at her.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Midknight

                                                                                                                                                      That's an idea, but I really wanted the drink for the walk home.

                                                                                                                                                  3. Read this article about Chipotle and it made me think of this thread:


                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                      Interesting. I wonder:

                                                                                                                                                      a) how much money this entails on an annual basis (both how much they were pocketing before they changed policies, and how much they're now losing since changing)

                                                                                                                                                      b) how you deal with the accounting and tax liability of the overages..and explain the bizarre line-item losses to accountants and stockholders.

                                                                                                                                                      Probably cheaper to just deal with the pennies.

                                                                                                                                                    2. BINGO

                                                                                                                                                      same thing just happened to me here in Boston.
                                                                                                                                                      I LOVED the restaurant and the Manager 100%.
                                                                                                                                                      I was going to tip 25% just because she put up with an over picky pasta eater and was lovely to me. I'll go back a hundred times, no lie.
                                                                                                                                                      but when the gentleman came to take care of my check, I put the 2 $20's down, so $40. no change in there and it was the more than 1/2 a buck. that ticked me off as I think of that as very presumptuous. I had looked in my wallet so I could use my own change and make things easier for them getting me just bills but NO change. So they got the standard 20%.
                                                                                                                                                      I don't know, our DD would say oh big deal mom, suck it up :(

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. Yes, the server is a thief. Inform the management and don't go back. I have been tending bar for the better part of 30 years.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I had dinner out last night -- it was getting late and I saw a place I used to dine at years ago before it changed hands -- an Asian buffet. So I stopped there for dinner. My bill was $15.50. I handed the waitress $20 and waited, and waited, and waited. No change was brought to me. So was she thinking that I was tipping 29%?

                                                                                                                                                          Finally I had to ask for my change. She brings me $.25. I was confused -- they she showed me what she thought was my bill -- it was for $19.75 but that wasn't my bill. I told her the price of my bill and she had to locate it and then bring me my change. Add that to a meal that wasn't anywhere close to the quality the former owners had and needless to say, I won't be back.

                                                                                                                                                          1. How far do you really want to go with this though?

                                                                                                                                                            What if businesses (including restaurants) started charging the REAL cost of things?

                                                                                                                                                            Is $15 dollar burger at the fast food joint OK with you? The OP's burger and bourbon at a sit-down joint would now be closer to the $30/40 range.

                                                                                                                                                            Servers would potentially be paid a living wage of 15-30 per hour. Perhaps many diners would stop griping about welfare and any service worker could now afford to get off of that program.

                                                                                                                                                            Welcome to the REAL cost of living,

                                                                                                                                                            Like or hate?

                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                              it doesn't matter what the real cost is - the management/owners have decided that according to their calculations, they can make a profit at the posted price.

                                                                                                                                                              If I go in and pay the posted price and the server keeps my change without my knowledge or consent, that's theft. Period.

                                                                                                                                                              If they can't make a profit at the price that THEY have made public, it's not my problem -- and it's not my obligation to just randomly cough up an extra amount of cash because they're not in touch with their business to understand whether or not they're making a profit.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                This seems to be the standard pat response.

                                                                                                                                                                Yes in countries where tipping is not the norm, or where tipping is more a "round-up" nicety than a "OMG if you don't tip your waiter will starve, you monster", burgers manage not to cost the equivalent of $15. I'm not talking about third world countries or podunk towns with low cost of living, I'm talking London or Tokyo here - tell me, how do they manage to pay their waiters adequately without the restaurant industries collapsing?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nudibranch

                                                                                                                                                                  Somehow, restaurants in Japan manage to pay the servers enough for them to keep their jobs and make a living. Essentially, there is no tipping in Tokyo or anywhere else in Japan.

                                                                                                                                                              2. In some places, that is called either theft or fraud

                                                                                                                                                                1. I'm usually so preoccupied with what is around me during meals, I hardly notice or almost never notice if my extact change comes back to me. Many times after Ieaving a restuarant,I've discover the server has actually given back change in the + side. I guess it's a bit of reverse Murphy's law in effect. I Love how the Universe works.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I wouldn't get too bent out of shape personally, since I would assume the server is not carrying coin change.

                                                                                                                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Atomic76

                                                                                                                                                                      But the server who comes unprepared to accomplish her job can trot over to the bar and make change.

                                                                                                                                                                      All waitstaff come to work with the ability to make change on a customers payment of a bill or they make arrangements with fellow staff or the bar to do ti.

                                                                                                                                                                      You might get ticky if the waiter did not have change for a twenty and decided you did not need it : ))

                                                                                                                                                                      You are kind and easy going. A nice set of traits.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Atomic76

                                                                                                                                                                        Too bad. There's a cash register at the front of the house.

                                                                                                                                                                        By the time a server has been waiting tables for about two days, he/she has more than enough coin and small bills to be able to change nearly any denomination of bill.

                                                                                                                                                                        This just isn't that hard.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed. When I waited tables I had more singles and coins than I knew what to do with. The teller at the bank once asked me "Waitress, or stripper?" !

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: 16crab

                                                                                                                                                                            so strippers accept coins? I think not.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: genoO

                                                                                                                                                                              "so strippers accept coins? I think not."
                                                                                                                                                                              They do in Canada where there is no paper currency smaller than $5. By the end of a shift I'm sure they have several pounds worth of 'Loonies' and 'Toonies' ($1 and $2 coins respectively).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                  You sure don't want to know how they break a $20...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                    I was the team mom when one of the pups was in organized sports. One of the moms had let slip in a conversation that she was an adult dancer, as the money was good and she could work while her husband was at home, and vice versa.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I was taking orders for team posters when she paid me in cash for her order, handing me a large stack of $1 bills, all creased horizontally across the middle.

                                                                                                                                                                                    My bf nearly strangled herself trying not to laugh, and yeah, I was in a hurry to wash my hands after handling that stack of cash. (Yes, I know you never know what's on any paper currency, but in this case I *did* know where all of that stack had been.....)

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                                  so exactly where do you place a toonie on a stripper?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: genoO

                                                                                                                                                                                    well, there's a coin slot.

                                                                                                                                                                                    (yeah, just grossed myself out)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought that was where you ran your ATM card...?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                        they're still working on the bill-delivery mechanism.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                          I am so grossed out I'm almost sorry I set you up on that one! (Almost.)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                                    Loonines and twoonies stored in the freezer beforehand make the dancers dance more enthusiastically when used as tips.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Atomic76

                                                                                                                                                                              Not carrying change? It's a restaurant. They have a cash register somewhere. I do not understand the whole mentality. I agree with the poster who said that it's the principle of the thing. Obviously my husband and I can afford to eat out so we can afford not to be given $.21. But this just isn't right.
                                                                                                                                                                              Is it a generational thing or...?

                                                                                                                                                                            3. I hate people who keep giving me bills with decimal numbers. If I was a police officer I'd round them all up.

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. Here's a trick I found out about, and now iI watch like a hawk. One night about 6 of us were eating at a pretty nice place. We were having a good time - and the guys were drinking and getting very charming. Anyway, the check comes and the first thing I always do it check to see that everything is OK, and it seems to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                  BUT I notice that the server had hit the gratuity key. (you know - the $18% for parties of 8+). She then circled the total, including that amount and helpfully wrote out what 15 and 20% of that amount would be.

                                                                                                                                                                                  That is, on TOP of the gratuity she already incorrectly processed. She thought that because the guy paying was drunk, she could get away with it. But the person paying was a sober ME.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Anyway - just keep your eyes open. Apparently this is a thing. When caught, they can just say "oh no! I just accidentally hit that - I am sooooo sorry!"

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Happened to me last night. I then told the company what happened and they told me it was company policy for them and several other restaurants (which around here its not!) and that "change can be a mess" but they hoped I would come back. I told them what they were saying was bull and that since this is their policy I would NOT be returning to their restaurant. There have been a few other times in my life where this has happened and I just dont tip at that point because they stole part of it already.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Happens to me all the time...in East Asia. Yep, I just don't care anymore, even if adding it all up might've meant I could buy "one" extra order of sate.

                                                                                                                                                                                      In the US, it happens more when I'm doing take-out. If they give me a few extra napkins or portion of chilies, keep it. Otherwise, I probably want it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      China goes even further and thinks that even the small bills I give them are fakes. Thanks for holding up my 5元 (worth ~US$.80 these days) note, that's very promising. People there would be so lucky if every note was counterfeit, maybe. I always get amused by the mint condition 5角 notes, issued in 1980. Oops, sidetracked again.


                                                                                                                                                                                      1. i had that happen at a restaurant that was esteemed by most of the hounds on the LA board, Orris.

                                                                                                                                                                                        i MADE the waiter give me the correct change AND left a 15% tip instead of my normal 20% on the total tab AND never went back.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                          What goes around comes around. 20 years ago, a local seafood/raw bar place had 18% added into the prices. If the server had been faster, I would not have read the tiny print at the bottom of the menu. So much for a place we had enjoyed regularly.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh yes. For credit card purchases, the tip line was blank.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. girlfriends and i went out to dinner last night in munich
                                                                                                                                                                                          no idea if you are supposed to tip there or not so i did, not sure if they did or not but server went to give me my change and i said no its yours he said oh thank you

                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                            Round up to the nearest Euro. Servers in Germany have a living wage.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                              rounding to the nearest euro is really stingy from what I have seen. I have never seen a server complain or give any attitude whatsoever about tip amounts, but it's customary to shoot for 10% or so...I usually round up, then add a euro or two depending on what the bill comes to.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The drill in restaurants here is that the server brings the check, and you tell them at that very moment the total you wish to pay (including any tip). They give you change on the spot. If you don't give a figure they usually assume you are not tipping. I have only ever had change "stolen" by servers in tourist traps in Berlin.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lisa13

                                                                                                                                                                                                No, it's not. It's the way the locals tip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                In French, the coins on the table are called "pourboire" -- for drinks, or loosely, beer money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                It's in no way considered to be a significant portion of their income.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. We have had this same issue 3 times when eating out. I agree that this is a Ridiculous new practice and is frankly literally stealing from customers. If you go to the same place three or four times and they do this every time, it starts adding up.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Where on earth did this practice come from?!
                                                                                                                                                                                              We have called the waitresses on it every time and they say the same thing: "no one's ever noticed before.? What?, so it's OK to steal from someone if they don't notice?

                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Shanbritt

                                                                                                                                                                                                "Where on earth did this practice come from?! "

                                                                                                                                                                                                From the American system of paying servers ridiculously low wages and expecting their salaries to be arbitrarily topped up by customers. It's no good for anyone. It leads to guilt, entitlement and thinly veiled coercion with occasional threats of sabotage if a client doesn't comply with the industry's expectations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                  bull....why blame the poor downtrodden for stealing? Because they ARE. It has nothing to do with however are paid.......it is an owner polcy

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have NEVER heard of an owner MAKING their employees steal from customers. I have seen plenty of policies that warned of waitstaff being FIRED for stealing and even a couple that said they would call the police on any employee caught stealing! I love how the thieves are being defended here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                      and no..i do not defend the thieves or their ultimate boss

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I'm a server, and at my current restaurant we don't give change. It's just not feasible sometimes to have change lying around in your apron, and as the servers do not directly go anywhere near the drawer, we are instead encouraged to give the guests the cash difference in their favor. Sometimes servers just forget, or think it doesn't matter. It's not a personal vendetta, just another annoying aspect of our employ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bonesplosion

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds like you need a cashier. I just can't understand a business where it is policy to not provide a customer with their correct change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sounds like you've never been in a proper restaurant. Having a cashier exclusively would be an abrupt change in ambience in our chosen cuisine and ultimately it would be a waste of time during a very busy dinner service. On top of that, constant access to the register leads to a higher likelihood of having a messed up drawer, which is why we don't bother with change in the first place. If the customer is purported to benefit (as I had previously stated) then what's the issue? Are you some sort of nit picky rule abiding person? Because that sounds silly to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bonesplosion

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've worked in a few restaurants and dined at many, with all sorts of ambiance and cuisines. I don't think I've ever been short-changed or rounded up. Most places work it out. It's part of doing business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      By your own admission, some of the servers at your place "forget" to give change back or to round up. The policy almost seems designed to encourage that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wasnt talking about my place, and company policy states that any server who short changes a customer will face termination. I happen to really like this, as it makes my job easier. Now it's no longer my specific problem to have to keep a drawer in check, and my end of shifts have been simplified. I wish more businesses would implement a similar system and take the onus of a perfect drawer off the server and make my life easier by leaving out change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bonesplosion

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe they can build robots to serve the food, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I use an iPad at work. Your argument is becoming silly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. This practice really anoys me. I've had this situation occur several times. The worst one was a check for $24.14, I gave them $30, and received a $5 bill back as change. You guessed it, their tip was 86 cents. I reward good non-assuming service. I'm not there to be your new best friend, therapist, or in need of another opinion of the tables conversations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tadmor53

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I realized my error right away and thought I'd edited my post. I guess not. Sorry. I agree that this is wrong. I'd be pissed too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The change should have been $5.86 not $5