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advice/perspective on jobs, work and management

My employer requires us to make exact change

I’m a server at an upscale restaurant chain. Our change policy has always been to round to the nearest dollar. Recently, I was told we would now be expected to give customers exact change—down to the penny—to those paying with cash. I find this to be both unnecessary and annoying. Am I right to feel this way? To my knowledge no one ever complained about the old policy. – Name withheld          

I know a few people who work in the restaurant business, so I decided to outsource my response to this question.

Here’s some of the feedback I got:

Here’s what happened: Out of the many thousands of people your restaurant chain serves every day, one cheapskate complained once about not getting exact change back. And so management, instead of ignoring it—like they should have—came up with this stupid policy.

Some corporate lawyer—who’s never worked in a restaurant—figured out the practice of rounding is illegal.

Some management consultant—who’s never worked in a restaurant—mistook your establishment for a diner, where losing a nickel or two here and there actually amounts to a hill of beans.

Some corporate accountant—who’s never worked in a restaurant—figured out that rounding to the nearest buck is costing the company precisely 63 cents per year. That’s two quarters, a dime, and three pennies.

Your company has a new executive director—who’s never worked in a restaurant—and he thinks this bold, forward-thinking policy will impress his boss. I say ‘he’ because a woman would never be this stupid.

Wait. Don’t they know about Venmo..?

I have nothing to add.

[ 1 Comment ]

  1. Scarface

    Though clearly whoever came up with that policy is a jack***, does the Subordinate is In have any suggestions on what an employee might do in that situation? Like, let’s suppose they really like the place and most of their co-workers are v cool and the money’s better than average. And it’s right down the street from their house.

    Is this a hopeless situation or are there options to at least *try* (talking to management, and if so, how / unionize / get plant customers to complain to the manager that an employee INSISTED on returning correct change and they can’t be bothered)?


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