Short-changed at BK: Should I eat the loss?
February 11, 2015 1:20 AM   Subscribe

About an hour ago, I went through the drive-through at Burger King and bought dinner. Having no smaller bills, I paid the $6 tab with a one-hundred-dollar bill, and- because I'm an idiot- put the change in my pocket without counting it. Guess what happened next?

The rest of the story is predictable: I drove home, ate dinner, got undressed, and pulled from my pocket two twenty-dollar bills, two sawbucks and a few coins. Not a huge loss in the greater scheme, but I'm already stretched pretty thin, financially. Should I bother contacting the manager tomorrow? How should I state my case?

In a best-case scenario, it was an honest mistake- there will be an overage in the drawer, and I'll get my $44 back. But, realistically...

Does anyone have experience working at a big chain fast food restaurant? If I know approximately what time I went through the drive-through, and can describe the cashier, would management be able to locate video footage of the transaction? (Naturally, there was no receipt in the bag.) Would the footage be clear enough to show the denomination of the bills? Would they even bother looking?
posted by t(h)om(as) to Human Relations (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about fast food but I do know about retail. If the cashier was honest and the drawer counted out that much over at the end of the shift, the cashier and the manager probably spent a ton of time on that and would love to hear from you.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:35 AM on February 11, 2015 [28 favorites]

Definitely call. You've got nothing to lose, right? If you had cash to waste I'd say don't sweat it, but if money is tight it's worth calling to see what happens.

If they're 24 hours, I'd suggest calling now. The employee you dealt with should still be there, and hopefully you can deal with this before the shift changes.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:35 AM on February 11, 2015 [10 favorites]

Yeah, they won't mind, and having the till be wrong is going to drive them nuts.
posted by mythical anthropomorphic amphibian at 1:40 AM on February 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yes for sure call. The two possible scenarios are that it was an honest mistake and the drawer was over, or the cashier pocketed the money. In both cases, when I was a cash manager for places, I'd have wanted to hear from the customer. Honest mistake? Thank goodness we know where that overage came from. Here's your money. The drawer was okay but there's a customer who says they were shorted change? Something I'd log away in the back of my mind in case it ever happened again with that cashier.
posted by Orb at 1:46 AM on February 11, 2015 [11 favorites]

best-case scenario, it was an honest mistake- there will be an overage in the drawer, and I'll get my $44 back

I don't see how you get that $44 number. You were due $94 change, and your description of your pocket contents could plausibly add up to $64. So you're actually out only $30, and the most likely thing is that one of those twenties was supposed to be a fifty but got fumble-fingered.
posted by flabdablet at 4:46 AM on February 11, 2015 [7 favorites]

I've made the call and it has worked out. The factor is the manager more than the overarching business. Call, ask for the manager, and be polite/thankful that it's nearby.
posted by childofTethys at 5:13 AM on February 11, 2015

You should call ASAP. Keep your receipt. I'm surprised they took $100, most places won't take anything over a $20.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:27 AM on February 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

your description of your pocket contents could plausibly add up to $64.

I had to google "sawbucks" too (apparently that's slang for $10 bills). By my read the OP got 2x$20, 2x$10, and a few coins, so $60 - and as you correctly state they would be due $34 more rather than $44.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:58 AM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Regardless of the amount it's still enough for a few more meals and everyone is right that you should call. Let's hope it was an honest mistake and the cashier didn't pocket the change and claim there was no overage.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 6:05 AM on February 11, 2015

Possibly the OP confuses a fiver for a sawbuck and it is actually $44. Either way, give 'em a call.
posted by beagle at 6:18 AM on February 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I went 40 years thinking a sawbuck was $5 until one day on metafilter...
posted by rhizome at 8:21 AM on February 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

I am sort of an excessively friendly, chatty person. I once went to the bank, did some banking transaction of some sort and was supposed to get $20 cash as part of it (maybe depositing a check?). Yeah, I was all friendly with the bank teller, did not notice until I left that she never handed me the money. I went back a few minutes later, as soon as I realized what I had done. She said "Okay, let me count my till." I waited for her to count her till. It was off by $20. She gave me my money.

Call or go back as soon as possible.

(Also, for future reference: don't be as chatty as I sometimes am with cashiers and count your change immediately if it really matters. Try to make it a habit.)
posted by Michele in California at 10:57 AM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would contact the manager immediately. They will do a drawer count and if it's an honest mistake, they will be able to see they have too much money in the drawer and refund you. I had this happen once. If the employee stole it, that's hard because you didn't deal with it then. I'm sure they do have security cameras and maybe they would check, but you would have to decide how badly you want your money. I would be sure it didn't fall in the car or out of your pocket in the house first, but yes, contact them immediately. Do not wait until tomorrow in case they reset the cash in the drawers.

Don't use the word "sawbucks" when you go back.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:21 PM on February 11, 2015 [7 favorites]

Yeah, get ahold of them. I had retail jobs where if my till was over by that much, I'd get fired on the spot. (Over or under, all that mattered was that it was off.) You might save some kid's job and get paid to do it.
posted by klangklangston at 1:59 PM on February 11, 2015

The security cameras aren't likely to show the right camera angle AND have good enough resolution to see what you paid with. However, the cashier should have held the $100 bill up to the light to look for the strip and also should have marked it with a counterfeit pin. Their cameras should be able to see those actions.
posted by tacodave at 3:21 PM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I work at a grocery store and we have cameras on each register, it totally would not surprise me if BK has a similar set up, especially with a much smaller amount of tills.
We also have a "cash accountability" position who counts drawers and reviews transaction reports.
All this is to say, ask. There are systems in place to monitor cash flow that can probably back you up. It happens.
posted by rubster at 4:05 PM on February 11, 2015

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