Great discussion at not martha (6/17 entry) about the preferred order for receiving change from a cashier. Personally, I hate it when they give me change on top of the bills. The grocery store in Newtown is even worse because they usually throw the receipt in there too. So I stand there juggling change and trying to get receipt into bag, change into compartment, and bills into slot before the next customer barrels up and knocks me over. As a former checkout chick I guess I understand part of the impulse: if you put the bills down first, you don’t have to touch the person’s hand. (You’d be surprised how many ferals there are in my Indiana town – and in Newtown too.) The end result is I’m using my debit card more and more, which means I never have change for train tickets or the pop machine. It’s a no-win situation. Which way do you prefer?


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  1. For me it’s change first and then bills. That’s how I count change back if I sell something at my parents’ stores. As for receipts, I ask them if they want it in the bag or handed to them.

  2. I guess it’s change first, but it’s never bothered me that much.

    On a slightly related note, what does bother me is when I buy an ice cream cone, and the server gives me the scoop first and then makes the $$ transaction. I’m then trying to juggle an increasingly drippy cone while making change. I’d rather pay first, and then eat my ice cream before it’s a melty mess. I find this happens every time unless I specifically ask to pay first.

  3. Ooh, good point! I don’t really buy cones like that anymore here. When I get ice cream, it’s generally a “choc top”, which is the greatest Aussie invention EVER. It’s just your basic sugar cone with ice cream on top, coated in a thick chocolate shell. (Like the chocolate dip stuff at DQ, but even thicker.) They’re pre-made by some company and you can buy them at just about every movie theater. They don’t sound like much, but they’re FABULOUS. I get one every time I go to the movies, Atkins be damned.

    I think I just derailed my own thread. 🙂

  4. Change on top of bills is a recipe for disaster–you know how bills are always kind of (shudder) greasy (I guess form being handled so much)? The coins always slide off! I like getting my coins and receipt (immediately jammed into pocket) then my bills.

    This is why I love using my debit card which is why I also never have any change (or sometimes cash at all) on my person.

  5. No cash is good cash: I’m hoping that in some utopian near-future it will be obsolete. To extend the vision: at a restaurant, every diner will see their total amount then swipe a card or beam an amount back to the server. Everyone leaves happy, having bypassed the inevitable bill perusal, number-crunching, and over/underpayments that go along with group dining.

  6. I worked in retail when I first left school, and back then we were taught to ‘count back’ the change into the customer’s hand. You know the ‘…and twenty cents makes a dollar, and four dollars makes five…” kind of thing. This way people could check how much they were getting back and the coins always went first, then the low denomination bills on up. But then again, we also had to do the change ourselves so it was a double check for us too. I still like the assistant to tell me how much change I’m getting back though, even if it is just the total.

    I absolutely HATE it when the assistant puts the change onto the counter, not into my hand. Then you spend time scooping it all up of the counter, a process that sometimes takes two hands.

    I live in Newtown too Kris, and the IGA is bad for doing the ‘change and receipt on top of the notes’ scenario.

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