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If the cafe only accepts cash should they get pissy if you want to include some coins in your payment?

Was buying a latte at a small indy cafe in upscale Doylestown Pa. I understand why they only accept cash, but the lady (probably an owner) was very reluctant to accept 1.55 mostly in quarters as part of my payment. The latte was 3.55 and very good but I'm thinking next time of crossing the street to the SBUX and just using my credit card that gives cash back. Sorry about the rant, I try to keep my posts upbeat, but I was wondering if anyone else has trouble with this.
There was a couple seated at a table and three employees in the place. It wasn't like I was holding up the line. /shrug.

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  1. I'm with you -- if you only accept cash, then you can't crab because it comes in coins.

    (I was in a store last week that stopped just short of falling on their knees and weeping because I gave them a fist full of coins. It was a Sunday, and a couple of customers had wiped out their change drawer early in the day)

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunshine842

      that's usually what happens to me when i pay in 1's/ quarters. makes it easier for them to give out change

    2. Let's see... my end-of-day pocket change accumulates in coffee cans at a rate of about $200 per year...sometimes I get lazy and go 6 or 7 years as cans pile up...Peter Luger is cash only...have never eaten there...little light goes on....

      4 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        LOL...I'm sure they would accept it with grace, but the look on their face when you hand them a Folger's can full of nickels and dimes would be worth it.

        1. re: sunshine842

          Years ago I crashed for a few days with a group of friends who were all waitstaff, cooks, bartenders and sharing a large rented house. People were always coming and going due to shifts and were required to always put their allotted fee toward rent/upkeep in a coffee can and every month their landlord received one or two cans as need be of small change to pay he rent. It worked for them.

          1. re: sunshine842

            For fun I just weighed my change cans - 77 pounds with very few pennies. Time for a little field trip!

          2. re: Veggo

            You're going to be the only one in history to eat at Peter Luger and LOSE weight!

              1. re: linguafood

                While I would put it more delicately, yes this.

                It's been a while since I saw a cash only place and I can't think of a place that begrudged any money given to them in payment.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    I sure wish you'd stay what you're thinking instead of beating around the bush....

                  2. Just don't drop a bunch of coins on the counter.

                    Be good and stack up your coins, or go by demonination (quarters, 10c, 5c, ... ), it's easier for them to count!

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Maximilien

                      And if you help them make the coffee, they don't have to deal with anything.

                      1. re: Maximilien


                        I've been to places where even if you'd stacked them they wouldn't have the foggiest idea how to count them quickly.

                        1. re: latindancer

                          Throw in a half-dollar or dollar coin. Talk about foggy.

                          1. re: Vidute

                            we had a waitress refuse a Sacajawea gold $1 coin because it wasn't legal tender. (!!)

                        2. re: Maximilien

                          Wow thanks for all the awesome responses! Since there was no one else in line and they were still making the latte I stacked up the coins carefully and then handed them politely to her. Whenever I pay with more than two or three coins I have the habit of being somewhat apologetic. Usually the person taking the coins is sweet or even grateful.
                          Sometimes when I am laying out the coins the cashier helpfully starts snatching them up which confuses me and messes up my count half the time. I know the person means well, but I wish he or she would let me finish counting before they grab!
                          SBUX is sounding better for next time. Doylestown is a lovely little town but there are a lot of uptight people living and working there.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Since the earlier posts, I've established that, in the UK, payment by coins is only legal up to certain amounts. For example, a trader can refuse to accept 1p coins for more than a 20p cost and 50p coins for more than £10. Now I never knew that! So I withdraw my "cash is cash" remark upthread.


                            1. re: Harters

                              and IIRC, there have been lawsuits that "cash is cash" in the US -- somebody paid a utility bill in pennies, and the utility company refused to accept it. The homeowner sued, and won -- the utility had been a real pain (a cable company, maybe? don't remember) with equipment not working more often than it did work, missed repair dates, bad invoices, unrecorded payments, the whole works. The homeowner submitted the final payment in pennies, and demanded a receipt (which the receptionist gave them).

                              The court ruled that they'd been paid, even if they didn't like having to haul it all to the bank to be counted.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                I think you may find more recent US cases which have ruled "No, a wheelbarrow worth of pennies is not satisfactory payment method" as the method of payment is not in fact designed to satisfy a cost, but to harass the assessor of the cost.

                                1. re: FrankJBN

                                  the last one I remember (mentioned above) was about 5 years ago. Not exactly ancient history. I'm sure it varies by the judge (and his/her mood!).

                            2. re: Harters

                              Can't pay your rent in cash. Can't pay your mortgage with cash at the bank, either.

                                1. re: SocksManly

                                  You surely can. Keep your receipt, you will need it down the road.

                                  1. re: SocksManly

                                    I've done both. Neither my landlord or the bank seemed to think it was odd. A check is just a promise of cash.

                                    1. re: SocksManly

                                      Some banks require than mortgage or certain equity loan payments must be made with a check because a signature of the borrower is requited. I can't pay my mortgage payment on line for that reason...... according to my bank anyway. I've never tried cash, but wouldn't be very surprised if it was not accepted.

                                      1. re: Midlife

                                        Wow! I have never made a mortgage payment any way OTHER than online! I wonder if it is bank policy or some sort of governance issue.

                                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                                          Must be bank policy. I'm in the US and pay my mortgage online all the time (both the original lender and the one I refi-ed with).

                                      2. re: SocksManly

                                        I paid my mortgage with cash all the time!

                                        1. re: mikepete

                                          And I'm sure your mortgage holder appreciates you showing up all the time to do it.

                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            In this day and age, I'm sure the mortgage holder is just happy to get paid!

                                    2. Green or silver...money's money.

                                      1. How exactly was she "very reluctant"?

                                        To me, cash is cash. No problem using change to pay. I'm one of those people so many hate because I sometimes take an extra 8 seconds to pay with exact change when I can.

                                        1. You should go back...with a coffee can full of pennies.

                                          Make sure you take several friends with you, so they end up with a LOT of pennies.

                                          2 Replies
                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              I was about to type something very similar. I figured I should wait to see if anyone else thought of it.
                                              Then do what Linguafood suggests.


                                            2. I really can't fathom why they would be upset about $1.55 in mostly quarters - that's a tiny handful of change, not a bucket. I'd write an email if I were you, that's not acceptable service. Sorry you had to deal with that!

                                              1. Maybe this is one of those places which doesn't give your change back? By giving them exact change they felt the chance for an automatic tip was gone!

                                                1. Depends on the situation. When dining, and paying at the table, it is considered bad form to leave change on the table. On the other hand, if you were paying at the register, as it sounds like you were, for a cup of coffee, change should be fair game.

                                                  16 Replies
                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                    Why is it bad form to leave change on the table? My niece waited tables and was quite happy when people left change, cause she had to provide her own float. In Canada no change would mean paying with only $5 bills and higher.

                                                    1. re: Sooeygun

                                                      By change, I'm talking about coins.

                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                        Canada uses $1 and $2 coins, no bills until $5.

                                                        1. re: babette feasts

                                                          Sorry, I'm referring to US customs... leaving pennies, quarters, dimes, etc. on the table. I don't know how that would apply to Canada.

                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                            Well, restaurant customs are usually similar in Canada. And I have traveled to the US many times and saw people leave change on the table. I'm just wondering why it is 'bad form'.

                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                              So if my bill comes to $25.63 and I leave $30.63 so it's nice and easy to put a $5 in the tip pool that's bad form??


                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                I could be wrong, but yes, that is what I was taught. You only leave whole dollars on the table. So in your example above, I would put $31 down, no coins.

                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                  Perhaps you were taught incorrectly. AFAIC money is money as long as it's reasonable. I don't expect that people would happily take $9.75 in unrolled quarters, dimes and nickles but a small handful of coins is not only just money but always handy when making change for others.

                                                                  Perhaps a thread asking servers about it would be an idea.


                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                    I would think leaving the coins so the waiter has fewer coins to take home would be thoughtful. I have a sister who waited tables through university and she leaves coins.

                                                        2. re: MelMM

                                                          Curious to know why it's regarded as bad form in America. It's a very common practice here in Europe.

                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                            I think the custom evolved in the strip clubs, where true gentlemen discreetly insert folding money into the G-strings, rather than a fistful of coins.

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              Brilliant, Veggo. If that's got even a modest amount of truth in it, then it's a wonderful story. I now have this vision of a scantily clad woman, jangling round with coins in her knickers.

                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                Harters and Veggo, thank you both for the laugh! I needed that. :)

                                                          2. re: MelMM

                                                            My understanding of the "no coins" rule was that you were supposed to round up when you tipped, and splitting your tip into less than $1 quantities was seen as cheap and gauche.

                                                            When the smallest bill is a $1 bill, this isn't too bad, but many countries have coins up to the $5 or $10 range, which gets excessive.

                                                            My experience is that stores and coffee shops are generally happy to get exact change - much more so than when you buy a $2 coffee with a $20 bill.

                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                              I don't know about the rest of the servers out there, but when I was waiting tables, I didn't give a tinker's damn if they left coins on the table -- coins and cash were all happily accepted. There were plenty of times that my tips went straight into the gas tank as I'd gone into work on fumes! (obviously that's figuratively, not literally)

                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                it is most certainly NOT "bad form" - be sure to let me know where you are a wait person, I'll be happy to NOT go there and NOT leave you a tip

                                                              2. Very odd reaction from the owner.
                                                                See how she reacts to making change for a $50 or a $100 even a $20 for a $1.55 purchase.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: dave_c

                                                                  That was exactly what I was thinking. Walk in first thing in the AM with a large bill and expect change back. I pay with change all the time, including providing more than $1 in coins.

                                                                  Further up thread the OP states there are some uptight folks in Doylestown, PA. Seems like nothing's changed too much since I was there last 20 years ago. Same old same old.

                                                                2. Paleeeeze.

                                                                  She wants cash? She'll get cash in whatever way her customers want to give it.
                                                                  The thing that urks me is when I have the cash, @ a cash only place, and the amount comes to
                                                                  $2.01 and I give them $3 dollars (because I don't have a penny) and they give me 99 cents back all in dimes and nickels and pennies.

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                    It shouldn't urk you..........
                                                                    You are not entitled to that extra penny in change, simply because you would prefer a dollar bill to 99 cents in change.

                                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                                      Oh I know, of course I'm not entitled. However, a penny's really going to break the bank for a restaurant? It urks me big time.
                                                                      I'm one of those people who throws every penny I have into those penny dishes so people like me can have one so they don't have to get back 99 cents in change.
                                                                      I give 'em away but don't seem to have one when I need one.

                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                        You don't have one when you need one because you give them all away!

                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                          a penny may not break the bank of the restaurant, but that 16 year old minimum wage kid working a summer job may be required to put the penny in from her pocket, or be fired for being short in the cash drawer!

                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                            Having been that 16-year-old minimum wage kid -- probably not, unless it's 10 or 15 pennies every day for long enough that they figure something's going on.

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              Having grown up in the retail business, the tills were expected to balance to the penny, every shift. Short or over, three violations could get you fired. It's not an employee's obligation to make up part of the money a customer should have paid.

                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                but for every night that you come up short, there's another night you'll come up over.

                                                                                If they're small and irregular, it's better for the company and the employee to ignore small and irregular shortages. As I said -- if it's consistent, it's one thing...but a few pennies more or less are never going to equate to the cost of terminating that employee and finding/hiring/training a new one.

                                                                    2. I wonder if maybe, the person at the counter was incapable of counting.

                                                                        1. Veering dangerously into a-topic-for-another-day territory, but could she have been hoping you'd plunk down four bucks and say "keep the change"?

                                                                          If you were paying 35.50 in change, that's one thing. But I'd try it again, same Bat time, same Bat channel, and if the same person has the same reaction, I'd walk my indignant butt across the street after telling her why.

                                                                          1. If you only accept cash, then you have absolutely ZERO business looking cross or in any way unacceptable of cash in coin. Cash is cash. Don't want to accept it? Spend the $ & start taking credit cards.

                                                                            1. It's ridiculous in this age not to accept credit cards in a coffee place. Of course, every business has the right to do whatever they please regarding payment. But if this happened to me, I'd take my business somewhere else.

                                                                              You paid the correct amount in CASH. I think if I was in that situation, I would have said "oh, I'm sorry, let me go to the atm and I'll bring back a $20 bill." Likely your cash would be perfectly acceptable, given the alternative.

                                                                              Next time you go, offer them a $50 bill for your latte' ;-)

                                                                              Seriously, I wouldn't patronize their business. It's time for them to join the 21st century.

                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                              1. re: krystof

                                                                                I have no problem with cash-only establishments -- some of the best food I've found has been in small mom-and-pops who take cash only.

                                                                                But getting pissy because of a handful of change? Nope. That would be the last visit for me, too.

                                                                                1. re: krystof

                                                                                  The merchant agreements that come with credit cards screw over small businesses, who can't afford to lose a percentage of every transaction to the company, though.

                                                                                  1. re: Stelmaria

                                                                                    Then there's even LESS reason for them to get pissy if they are paid in cash.

                                                                                    Consumers these days have many choices where to take their business, and owners need to realize this. The OP obviously is a regular customer there and to treat a regular this way is a lousy way to run their business.

                                                                                    1. re: krystof

                                                                                      Where did you get the impression that OP is a regular?

                                                                                      Anecdote: when I worked as a cashier at an electronics/entertainment store, I used to LOVE customers who gave me quarters - I always ran out of them first. The child who strolled in to buy around $70 in product with unwrapped, unsorted change stored in a treasure chest shaped box was a bit much, especially since it was an insanely busy day, but I'm pretty easygoing and I made sure to thank my coworker for handling the next few customers for me. :)

                                                                                      1. re: Stelmaria

                                                                                        I was stopping by about once a week, often with my friend John, but I'm not sure that counts as regular. Thanks again for all the great comments!

                                                                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                          Was the woman in any way connected with management/the owner(s)? Personally, I'd drop them a line or pay them a call. "Hey, I love coming by, but on my most recent visit..."

                                                                                        2. re: Stelmaria

                                                                                          and to that kid? You were awesome.

                                                                                          (We always used the piggy-bank-emptying as a learning moment -- we'd count out all the change, then talk about bills and how many coins it took to make each bill....then we'd go to the store with their money, changed into easy-to-handle format!)

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            Oh, I try to turn absolutely everything I can into a teachable moment. I don't have kids (yet), but I'm an education major and a classroom teacher... :)

                                                                                  2. Just an aside - does anyone remember the "Seinfeld" episode where Kramer tries to purchase a Calzone with a sack of pennies & is banned from the restaurant?

                                                                                    1. That is wacky!! I try to grab a handful of coins from my car whenever I remember.
                                                                                      Merchants are thrilled to get some change.

                                                                                      1. When I worked the cash register at my family's restaurant, we usually didn't care if they included coins in the payment. There was one time that it annoyed us. A semi-regular (also known for being a bad tipper) tried to pay his bill of about $12 in mostly pennies, nickels, and dimes (in that order). I think he had about six quarters or so. It took a few minutes for him to get the coins out, and he was actually short by a few dollars. Very annoying. I don't think his date was very happy with that.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                                          Wow...now *that's* an impression on your date!

                                                                                        2. coins are cash. Now if you'd given her 355 pennies I'd be more sympathetic to her complaint. But come on, 2 dollar bills and 1.55 in change mostly in quarters. If it was the owner, she needs to be grateful for business in this economy and I'd go somewhere else next time. Some people.

                                                                                          1. So long as they are coins in the currency of the location, they should not. Now, if you are using coins from elsewhere, then they would have a good reason to not be happy.


                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                              Can be tricky, if you're not careful.

                                                                                              The £1 coin is similar in size and appearance to the €1.

                                                                                              Must be potentially particularly tricky for folk living on the island of Ireland.

                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                On one of my first days back in the States in a while, I went to pay for something -- got the paper money part right, but reached into my wallet and counted out the correct change in Euro cents....poor clerk didn't quite know what to do. I blame the jetlag.

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  Whereas I (and, I suspect, many foreigners) get terribly confused with American notes. I've often wondered what on earth is the logic behind having them all the same shape, size and general appearance. And how on earth blind people deal with it on a day to day basis.

                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                    they've been that way since long before anybody ever thought about making them workable for the sight-impaired.

                                                                                                    It takes (literally) an act of Congress to change the design, and it's becomes a rather nasty argument every time the subject comes up. (No, I can't explain why.)

                                                                                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                Here in Canada we're using to receiving and using U.S. coins all the time—doesn't seem to matter.

                                                                                                1. re: Jasz

                                                                                                  Agreed! I think it's because the sizes are pretty much the same.

                                                                                                  1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                    At the present time, Canadian and US coins of the same denomination have nearly equivalent value. This has not always been the case, and US merchants eschewed Canadian coins for years. Fun factoid: Canadian nickels are magnetic, US nickels are not.

                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                      I was going to say -- I remember how much we welcomed Canadian coins in tips when the exchange rate was about CA$1 : US$0.65.

                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                        Even when the exchange rate was heavily in favour of the US, most Canadians would have treated US coins the same as Canadian. Bills are treated differently, but people here seem to not care about the coins :)

                                                                                                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                          I remember while shopping in a JCPenney in Buffalo, the sales staff refused to take my canadian pennies. The rest of my tender was american. I was shocked and appalled, this girl was absolutely dumb. I had to grab my mom for a few cents because I didnt want to use my canadian debit card when I had to get rid of my american money.

                                                                                                          1. re: cupcakez

                                                                                                            Im surprised she even noticed the difference between the pennies. I woul figure thee would be a lt of Canadian coins in Buffalo, since you can see Canada from there :)

                                                                                                            1. re: cupcakez

                                                                                                              I spent most of my life in southwestern lower Michigan and no one even blinked at US and Canadian coins mixed together, although the Canadian coins were problematic for vending machines.

                                                                                                  2. By law they are compelled to take coins which are legal tender. I could care less about how they feel, most of these cash only joints are fiddling with their taxes anyway. Normally I respect, understand and sympathize with any restaurant policies (it is a tough tough biz) but not on this one.

                                                                                                    I patronize all kinds of places including the cash only ones

                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: zzDan

                                                                                                      Not entirely true.
                                                                                                      Private businesses can make whatever policy they want unless there is a State law otherwise.

                                                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                          which is how airlines now won't let you pay for meals, drinks, or movies with cash. credit cards only. dealing with cash in such an isolated environment, the need to make change when everyone had just hit the bank machines and only had $20s, etc. made the purser's duties a nightmare - although hold-up's were rare... LOL

                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                            Pity the poor attendants on Easyjet flights between the UK and the European continent.

                                                                                                            they take euros, pounds sterling, and several flavors of credit card -- and nobody ever has the correct change in any currency. That's not a job I would enjoy.

                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                              and imagine what it was like before the euro? i'm surprised they haven't gone the way of US airlines and only take charge chards.

                                                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                  of course, before the euro, they didn't charge to breathe, eat, drink, or pee.

                                                                                                                  I fondly remember being brought a full cream tea (warm scones, clotted Devonshire cream, strawberry jam and an entire pot of tea) on a flight from Edinburgh to Dublin.. For free. In coach. On a jetprop.

                                                                                                                  Those days are looong gone.

                                                                                                        2. Most of the time, when I pay cash with a large amount of change, I get thanked for topping up their change supply. Which gets depleted rapidly when everyone pays with notes. It seems odd that someone would object to that when you weren't at the head of a long queue.