March 20, 2007

Change your change

Posted in Customer Lack of Service at 2:34 pm by loolar

Customer service isn’t just the big things – responding to needs and clearly communicating – it’s made up of a ton of small things, like gestures, body language, tone of voice, eye contact, and those little things that can make a transaction smooth – or irritating.

This may be my pet peeve, but here’s one of the little things. When paying cash (I know, how quaint!), we typically must get change back. Most of us put our coins in a different place than our bills. And since the chaos factor for coins is much higher than bills (coins are given to sliding and rolling around), it stands to reason that coins ought to be placed in the most stable location for handling – e.g., the palm of your hand.

However, over and over again, I see cashiers putting the bills on a customer’s open hand, and then dumping the change onto that obligingly flat, smooth, BMX racing-style ramp surface, where the coins roll all over the counter and the floor. Thanks!

Put the coins in the palm first – then they’re going nowhere. Then the bills can be handled with a thumb and forefinger. Instead, most folks now need two hands to deal with their change, thus holding up the line.

Now I have no illusions that your average cashier is reading my blog. At present, actually no one is reading my blog. But I am hopeful, that somehow, perhaps like a flesh-eating virus, my ideas will spread out to the world of people who receive change (ahem, you), and you will speak up and gently urge those cashiers to adopt the more efficient and customer-focused practice.

On the other hand, it might be akin to hoping all the schmendricks who drive 45 mph in the left lane will hear the comedians that ridicule them. Those who need to know about their behavior are usually the least likely to hear it.


  1. […] use the same metaphor as my earlier post on customer service, this is like gun control – it mostly punishes those who obey the […]

  2. calzone said,

    I think that cashiers do this only because everyone else they’ve ever seen do it does it and they don’t stop to think about why.

    And it all started with a clever street vendor who didn’t want his customer’s money to fly away when he handed himi the change.

  3. holly said,

    i actually don’t mind this practice so much, but that’s because i have a specific coin purse that i can open and use the paper money as a slide for conducting those crazy coins from my hand to my little coin holder.

    ah, the joys of being a woman and being able to carry a million things in a purse. now, where *did* those mints go?

  4. And the related missed customer service is the counter person who swipes your credit or debit card and then holds onto it while the machine processes the transaction while you stand there with your open wallet waiting to get your card back. They’re going to verify the signature on the back, you think. Until they peel off the store copy of the receipt and put it in the drawer (no signature needed no inexpensive transactions), spit out another copy, and then hand the card and receipt back to you. Gee. I could have put my wallet away a minute ago…

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