“Do you have smaller bills?”

January 20, 2010 at 9:17 am 8 comments


“Ma’am/sir, do you have smaller bills?”

How many of us have encountered this? This is an all-too familiar scenario. You go to a high-traffic grocery, buy something, give a PhP500 or PhP1,000 bill and the cashier asks, “Ma’am, do you have smaller bills?” or “Sir, do you have PhP3?”

It’s quite annoying and disconcerting at times when you hear cashiers ask this. I find it odd that establishments that have a high volume of people (like groceries, fast food) often ran out of loose change. Isn’t it the store manager’s responsibility to ensure that the cash registers always have enough change?

I know that individuals buy small items from groceries to get smaller bills. When you have a PhP1,000 bill and you have no small bills to ride the bus, you go to a fast food store or grocery, buy the cheapest thing possible, and hope that the cashier would give you loose change. But once you reach the counter, you get asked with “Ma’am, do you have smaller bills?”

I myself do this. At times, it’s okay. At times, when I’m not in the mood, I just want to snap and say, “Obviously, I don’t!” But I just keep quiet.

How about you? Have you encountered this? And what do you do?

Entry filed under: money tips. Tags: .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. bellebathandbeyond  |  January 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Oh I can definitely relate to this!

    I agree too that it’s the store manager’s responsibility to make sure they have enough loose change for the sales on that day.

    It’s ok with me if if twas just a “just in case” question, and if you say NO – they can still give you your exact change. What I absolutely hate is when cashiers pose this as a “I really don’t have change so help me out here” thing, as if I am obliged to have “smaller bills”, if you know what I mean.

  • 2. bex  |  January 21, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Personally, I hate this line “do you have smaller bills?” because in the first place, if I do have smaller bills then I could have given it immediately. Eh kaso, wala nga e. I agree with you that it’s the store’s responsibility to provide change. As if naman they are not aware of the volume of people buying in their store. It really annoys me. What I normally would say is a flat “No”. And it annoys me more that they actually have a change for your money asfter saying “no”! Or inuunahan ko na, I would say, “I don’t have small bills” when I hand over the money. Similarly with short-changing. They can afford to short-change you but the customer is not allowed to short-change. I’m not bad mouthing Wendy’s fastfood place, but they top the short-changing department. And for a couple of instances, I spoke to the manager about this. They still do it. But now, when the crew says na, “okay lang po kulang ng 25cents?”, I’d say “no” and they give you 1 peso.πŸ™‚

  • 3. pinayandmoney  |  January 21, 2010 at 2:29 am

    @bex and belle, thank you for your comments. it’s really annoying that this habit of merchants and cashiers have become prevalent. it is just unacceptable that big establishments don’t have enough loose change. and even if the cash registers are emptied out every few hours, the store manager has to make sure that they have enough small bills for change.

    it’s a good thing that the habit of many stores of giving candies as change has stopped.

  • 4. Sherill  |  January 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I can definitely relate to this. At times, sorry talaga sa kanila, natatarayan ko sila pero na le learn ko na rin magtimpi ngayon. Kung maldita nga tayo, pwede natin sabihin yung nabasa ko dati sa email….kapag sinabi nila na wala silang barya…sabihin daw natin….”So, kanino problema yun???”. May isang time dati, hinanap ko talaga ang manager kasi bumili ako ng Globe load na 100 for my brother, binigay ko 1000 bill…pilit niya sinasabi, wala siya panukli, ipabarya ko muna daw…eh wala ako sa mood nun, sabi ko, bakit ako ang gagawan ng paraan eh ako na nga bumibili? May isang time naman, yung mom ko bumili sa 7-11, tapos nagbigay siya ng 500 php bill, wala nga daw panukli…sabi ng nanay ko..”24 hours kayong bukas tapos wala kayong panukli?????” Kung may barya talaga ako at medyo mabait yung crew, naghahanap talaga ako sa bag pero kung kailangan ko rin talaga siya pabaryahin, No na agad sagot ko. Isa pa kinaiinisan ko ay short-changing. Grabe, napakalaking mga establishments pero kinukulangan ka ng 10c or 5c or more. Kanino ba napupunta yun? Kung sa employees, ok lang sa akin pero kung sa employer, no way. Ako, iniipon ko 10c and 5c ko…kapag ang sukli ko, may .65 kunwari…bibigyan ko ng 35c, hihingi ako ng piso. Opps, na carried away sa topic hehe. Masyado kasi akong naka relate.

  • 5. pinayandmoney  |  January 23, 2010 at 2:46 am

    hi, sherill. SM is notorious about shortchanging. common sa grocery nila yang hindi nagsusukli ng 5c or 10c. yup, sa employer napupunta yung excess money pero once na-short ang cash register, sa employee kinakaltas yun.

    i think SM has come up with a program that you can have your 5-cents and 10-cents exchanged sa customer service nila. this is probably SM’s way of addressing their shortage of 5c and 10c.

    ako din, i collect 5c/10c para may ibayad akong sakto sa cashier.πŸ˜€

  • 6. bex  |  January 23, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Ako naman, one of my taray moments when asked for “do you have Php3?” – I’d say, “Sobra sobra na nga ang binigay ko sa iyo, hihingan mo pa ako?”πŸ™‚ Me, too. I collect 5c/10c para naman makatulong tayo sa barya nilaπŸ™‚

  • 7. Jess Guim  |  January 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    It’s easier to have always loose coins and loose lower denomination bills in your pocket, than to keep a high denomination bill, which will delay your hectic activities in a day.

    Here, in New York City, we use bigger bill for fun when we buy soda in a vending machine. One who knows the trick would roam around the office, showing his twenty dollar bill, and would ask someone if he has a quarter. He shows at the same time the $20 bill, and would say that he’s buying a soda at the vending machine, and machine would not accept a $20 bill. He would repeatedly do this to different innocent officemates, until he raises a dollar (four quarters) to be used in the soda vending machine.

    I’ve learned this trick from a Jamaican friend. He’s really good at this. So, everyday, he’d always have a free soda from the vending machine by simply using his $20 dollar bill to collect from officemates four quarters to buy a soda at the vending machine.

  • 8. Phoebe Rutaquio  |  February 6, 2010 at 10:34 am

    oh yeah, I do that rin, when I don’t have small change.

    There was one time I had to buy a napkin from a vendo machine. But I don’t have four pesos. Only a 10 coin.
    So I went to this store and bought 3 mentos, 1pesos each. I got a 5 and 3 pisos. So that’s obviously not enough, so I asked to buy another candy and confessed I needed coins. biglang nagtaray si ate at sinabi wala daw. HMP!

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