View Full Version : counting change

bob the goat
09-15-2008, 05:28 PM
This has to be one of my littler, but still predominate pet peeves.

People, if you work in retail, learn how to count change. It is not difficult. You take what they owe you away from what they give you and give them the difference.

I am an engineer, so I'm a little anal. However, to help counter this, all cash registers allow you to put in the amount of cash given and it automatically calculates what you need to give me back. I understand that everyone else just gives you a $20, but I hate pocket change, so I do everything I can to get rid of it.

A good example:
My bill comes to $4.56. If I give you $10.06, just enter it into the machine. It will tell you to give me Five dollars, and two quarters back. This is because I hate pennies most of all, and quarters work in the vending machine.

This morning:
I go to Burger King. My meal comes to $5.25. I give the guy $20.25. That is not a difficult thing.

Guy: [starts to hand the quarter back to me] You gave me too much.

Me: No, I just donít like change.

[He stands there with his hand out with my quarter in it, waiting for me to take it.

Me: No, trust me, just put it in.

Him: ok.....

[He hits one button and the drawer opens. He looks at me in horror.]

Him: umm..I just hit the exact change button...

Me: ok....you owe me $15.

Him: That sounds wrong.

Me: It is not, you owe me $15.

Him: What about the change?

Me: There is no change, you only owe me $15.

Him: hmmm....I need a manager.

Me: Look, if I owed you a quarter and I gave you a quarter, the change would be Zero, right?

Him: yeah...

Me: So, my quarter makes that 25 cents go away, so then I only owe you $5. I gave you $20, so you owe me $15.

Him....that sounds wrong.

[manager comes over]

Manager: What is going on?

Guy: he gave me too much money, then I hit exact change.

Me: The total was $5.25. I gave him $20.25, so he owes me $15 even.

Manager: just a second... [stands there counting on his fingers for literally one minute] I need a calculator.

It took me over three minutes to get my change.

LEARN TO COUNT. Or at least learn to trust people that sound good at math.

09-15-2008, 07:40 PM
I had several cynical replies. But instead I'll just :cry:

I don't know why basic math is so hard for so many people...

09-15-2008, 08:04 PM
I learnt to count change to save my own butt

it stops people saying NO I GAVE YOU TWENTY when they gave you a ten!


sale comes to $9.45 and customer hands you a 50

I say, ok so $9.45 out of Fifty dollars (I lay the 50 on the TOP of the drawer so I can snap it shut if someone gets grabby but its still on display)

grab their change ($40.55) and say,
so 9.45 and 5(cents) makes $9.50
and 50 (cents) makes $10,
and two 20 (dollars) makes $50

it has stopped many a scammer try the old switcharoo on me because they KNOW im counting everything they give me and everything I give back

09-15-2008, 09:18 PM
oh Kiwi, I love you :love:

I like that method of giving and recieving change, it is impossible to get a wrong amount doing it that way. That's how I do it, it's how I've done it sense I worked for Carl's Jr when I was 16. Takes a few seconds more than punching it into the register, but then you don't have to worry about punching a wrong number in and accuracy is much more important than speed where cash is concerned.

09-15-2008, 10:10 PM
oh Kiwi, I love you :love:

I love you to :D

But I wish a very cute, rich guy would tell me that.... sigh

09-16-2008, 07:58 AM
I'm trying to think of something to say, but I think I may just go sit in a corner & cry instead. This is basic maths, people! :cry:

09-16-2008, 08:11 AM
You all must hate me then, I suck at subtraction. Unless it is something very simple. But I am getting better at it

pile of monkeys
09-16-2008, 01:04 PM
I always count change backwards (five cents makes $10, and ten dollars makes $20), and leave the original payment on top of the cash drawer until the transaction's done. Drives the girls I work with crazy, since the register auto-calculates. I'll use the register to double check, but my first few jobs had the standard old fashioned cash register, no display, so you had to learn how to count back change to keep your till balanced. And I like to hand over coins first, so the customer can stash them in their pocket or purse or whatever, then hand over bills. That seems to be a personal preference, though.

I never mind getting coins from a customer to make the change back a little more rounded, but I hate when they count out the change, then drop it on the counter instead of into my outstretched hand. It's a real pain to try to pick up or slide coins off a counter and it just seems rude.

09-16-2008, 01:18 PM
But I wish a very cute, rich guy would tell me that.... sighI can help with the first part of that ;)

09-16-2008, 01:47 PM

Gah. That is annoying. Alot of times i put in the amount, but when I get really busy, I just hit the NEXT button, which rounds up to the nearly dollar. IE, total is 6.34, NEXT will tell the computer the customer gave me seven dollars. But in reality they gave me a ten. But I will give them 3.66.

But that's because I can do math. Half the time I don't even pay attention to the amount i'm suppose to give back, because my brain can normally fire back how much its going to give back before the til opens.

09-16-2008, 01:54 PM
I've been fortunate, most of the workers at my little shop are decent at math, probably better than I am frankly. Still, for a lot of the teenage employees it's their first job and they'll have never encountered customers trying to get an even amount of change before. When I explain it to them, it kinda makes me laugh that their reaction is usually along the lines of "Oh cool, I'll hafta remember that trick."

But at least they pick it up quickly. We have only one employee who never quite seems to get it. She's otherwise retired and just works the afternoon shift mostly as a pastime. If she's already rung up the order, say $8.75 and the customer pays with a $10, when the customer says "Hang on, I just found a quarter" she freezes up. I've tried to tell her, look, whatever the change the register says, just round it up to the next dollar. They want an even amount." But it never quite sinks in.

Thankfully she doesn't work the busy shifts and the customers love her. But keeping her away from the register is a good idea.

09-16-2008, 06:12 PM
Bakery near where I was in retail was taking pre-orders for christmas one year. They required a 50% deposit. The Boss wanted to reserve two of the same item - a french stick.

The young lady serving had to get a calculator to work out the deposit.


09-16-2008, 10:38 PM
Well, dangit. I meant to type $8.25 in the example above, but I guess I was thinking from the other side of the register again. Like I said, most of the kids are better at math than me.

09-17-2008, 01:33 AM
Bakery near where I was in retail was taking pre-orders for christmas one year. They required a 50% deposit. The Boss wanted to reserve two of the same item - a french stick.

The young lady serving had to get a calculator to work out the deposit.


Well of course she did... not everyone can figure out 50% of the first item, then add 50% of the total, then add 50% of the second item, then subtract 50% of the per-item-price, on their fingers and toesies. And I think somewhere in there you were supposed to multiply the amount by itself, and then find the square root. But I'll leave the quantum physics to Scott Bakula. :p

09-17-2008, 11:57 AM
I've thankfully never had anyone try to scam me by switching bills

I could quickly calculate people's change, but the register tells me, so I just read the screen, and we all have the days we're not firing on all cylinders. I had a customer one time whose EBT card was coming up short, the total was $xx8 and there was $xx3 left on the card. she asked how much more she needed.

09-23-2008, 07:34 PM
LEARN TO COUNT. Or at least learn to trust people that sound good at math.
Unfortunately, many scammers "sound good at math".
There's a whole specialty called "quick change artists". Some of them are reformed, and now put their skill to work for their former targets, testing cashiers to see if they will let someone who "sounds good at math" fast-talk them into giving the wrong change.

It amazes me how BAD at math most people are. Wait, not math: arithmetic. I used to believe myself average in that: a little below average in arithmetic, but above average on actual math. Turns out I am #%^$ing amazing at arithmetic.

The company I work for recently (I mean, more than a year ago) upgraded to a new computer controlled safe. It generates reports that will tell you, shift by shift, exactly how much each employee dropped and exactly how much each employee vended. If a shift ever has one employee taking over a drawer after another employee has been ringing on it, the outgoing employee conts the drawer (and the incoming employee verifies that count) and runs a report on the register that shows how much was rung up (and what portion of that was cash sales). Thus it is possible to check if the drawer had the proper amount of money in it at the time of hand off, and therefore how much of any overage or shortage belongs to which employee during that shift.
Except that the forms for those calculations haven't been changed from the old safes. So nobody knew how to work that out now that we are using the new safes. And when I say "nobody", I mean none of the 8 managers of stores in our group (or their Assistant Managers either), their boss, and apparently not any of the 9 other bosses like her in our regional office (nor the managers under them) nor anyone else in the regional office.
I can forgive the regional office people: they likely have never seen a report from the registers. they know what some manual says it will say, but they don't know what it actually does say.
I found out this was a question when my manager complained that her boss was still unable to answer that question, dispite having been asked "weeks ago". That's when I said that I had worked it out one morning while doing the paperwork. One drawer had come up very short, and I needed to know which cashier was responsible for that (which actually helped me find the mistake causing it), so I worked it out.
I worked it out again for her in less than five minutes, spent 10 minutes writing it down in a clear and attractive way, then spent 30 minutes explaining it to her so she could explain it to her boss. Finally we decided to just have her boss tell everyone that they could ask me.:rolleyes:

I agree: if you can't do change in your head, you shouldn't be allowed to work with money. Unfortunately, it appears that enforcing that rule would leave us with only about 1000 cashiers to serve every business in the United States.

09-23-2008, 10:15 PM
I go to Burger King. My meal comes to $5.25. I give the guy $20.25. That is not a difficult thing.

That's pretty bad especially when the manager comes into it, and when it's an amount like that. I'm not all that great at doing subtraction and addtion in my head, I forget numbers when I'm doing it, on paper though it's fine and dandy, it's a memory thing for me, not that I can't do the math.

I do think it's unfair to say that everyone should be able to add or subtract any change amount in their head, it doesn't make them stupid nor does it mean they shouldn't be cashiering (depending on how bad their math skills are though, some people really aren't meant to work with money) , I used to have to whip out a piece of paper or a calculator to figure out odd amounts of things when I screwed up on punching in the amount or whatever, I never did it on the easy ones either.

I'm glad my job now pretty well only deals with rounded numbers and multiples of 5, with a few exceptions (when people make weird-ass bets). (I'm a dealer at a casino)