Can we agree that most people have trouble accepting change? I know I do . . . but then, my issue has more to do with how it is given.
I think we can all agree that no one knows how to count back change anymore. It’s a lost art for which none of us are willing to fight any longer. The electronic gadgets tell us how much to give or expect back, and we like it that way. Furthermore, coins are seen as mere fractions of money, not worth the metal into which they are pressed. Most of us check the dollars, and toss the coins in a tip jar, penny dish, or the bottom of a bag.
My message today is about the physical handing over of the change. There are two acceptable ways to hand back the balance of one’s payment. The coins can be given with one hand and paper bills with the other. However, this requires both cashier and customer to have both hands empty to begin with. Most often, our hands are occupied with purchases, purses and receipts. The drive-thru window makes this most difficult with both individuals reaching through what amounts to a hole in their space.
Usually change is received through a one-handed ordeal for both giver and receiver. To be correctly accomplished, the coins should be dropped into the receiver’s palm, with the bills set either on top, or in the fingers.
Never . . . this bears repeating . . . NEVER should the bills be set in the hand with the coins sliding around on top! This is a recipe for disaster. The customer must quickly close the hand, hoping to capture the unpredictable coins, or risk them rolling across the counter, bouncing on the floor, or worse — losing them forever under the car at the drive-thru window. Customers waiting behind will be tapping their foot and rolling their eyes at the blundering transaction. “I’m sorry” and “my fault” rarely help the situation, and I guarantee this dance is repeated daily at all hours of all establishments.
I plead my case with the fervor of one who has watched the counting back of change go the way of the dinosaurs. The popularity of debit cards is making the passing of such skills swift. Indeed, I rarely use real cash myself. Dare I be one of those pompous elitists who takes it upon myself to instruct every cashier I meet on the correct procedure of giving change? Um . . . no thanks.
Lest you think you are off the hook because you don’t work in retail, please note: The counter has two sides. I actually have worked in retail, and for every person who tossed his coins on the counter (were they afraid to touch me?) there was one who dropped skittering coins on top of the bills and left me to play goalie with their payment.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the loss of these coins is leading to the lag in our economy. How many millions of dollars . . . nay, trillions! . . . could be lost in the gutters near countless hot dog stands, emptied from cashier waste baskets into the landfills, or swept away by cleaning crews? May I go as far as to say it is your patriotic duty, when acting in the role of a customer and/or a cashier, to hand off currency in a responsible manner?
*Bonus points: Just break out and be one of the pompous elite. As the coins are undoubtedly about to be dropped on top of your paper currency, say, “Uh-uh-uh! Let me show you the correct method for handing off change . . . ”
A+ for anyone who does that.
Peace . . .