AMC Theaters "Doesn't Carry Nickels?"

Reader Anthony says he paid for his movie ticket with “$8 and some change.” The transaction resulted in AMC owing Anthony a nickel.

But AMC doesn’t carry nickels. They told Anthony that if he wanted his nickel he’d have to go get it from the “Guest Services” desk. So he did. But instead of a nickel, he got attitude. Anthony writes:

“The ticket was $9 and I had $8 and some change to get rid of. So I paid with 3 quarters and 3 dimes which would have had me with a nickel change. The ticket seller told me they don’t carry nickels and if I want my nickel I have to go to the Guest Services desk. I thought this was a bit odd so I went to Guest Services where I was told again…they don’t carry any nickels in the drawers. So I asked to speak to the manager. The manager came over… he told me it’s policy that AMC doesn’t have any change in any drawers. Now I am not bent out of shape over a nickel, I am just utterly confused that a major movie theater chain would not have any coin change in any cash drawers (except maybe concessions). I asked for the managers name and he got an attitude and asked for mine which I gladly wrote down for him. “

Well, we guess that when you never give out change you don’t really “need” to carry any… but you’d think they’d have some emergency nickels laying around just in case. You know, so they didn’t have to tell Anthony to take a hike over a nickel. If AMC owes you a nickel they should give you a nickel.

Silly.

(Photo:Paxton Holly)

Comments

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  1. ptkdude says:

    Well, if they still owe you a nickel you can always take them to small claims court. Of course, it’ll cost you $15 and a day off from work just to file.

  2. B says:

    Well, it does make sense that a company who sells products that cost a whole dollar amount wouldn’t carry much change. I surprised they couldn’t get a nickel from the snack bar, though.

  3. Hawk07 says:

    While some might say, “it’s only a nickel”, that’s the very attitude that the credit industry has preyed upon in a post-Depression era. A few dimes and nickels here and there start to add up fast.

    Every time I get change, I put it in a jar at home and take it to the bank every year or so. Last summer, I got $50 or so deposited in my bank account just from loose change.

  4. SportsCentre says:

    If they don’t care about the nickel, they should let you buy the ticket for $8.95.

  5. Binaryslyder says:

    Did you know that JCpenny’s does not carry dimes? My wife worked for them ages ago and it was a company policy not to have dimes in the register. Now they had plenty of nickles and pennies mind you.

    I recall it had something to do with the founders wife or daughter chocking on a dime.

    At any rate, why didn’t they just give you five pennies?

  6. LowerHouseMember says:

    That is pretty stupid. When I worked in retail if I didn’t have a nickel I would give them a dime. Some things just aren’t worth pissing people off about.

  7. consumed says:

    If I was standing behind this guy in line I would have given him a quarter just to shut up and go watch the movie. What a big deal over 5 frickin’ cents. I could have panhandled out at the stoplight in front of the movie theater and made more money in the same amount of time it took for him to beg for his nickel.

  8. SorcererMickey says:

    At United Artists Theatre Circuit (before the Regal buyout), when ticket prices were at the $8.50/$10.50 mark, the cashiers only stocked half dollars (eliminating the need to count so many coins at the end of a cashier’s shift.) Patrons were incensed – they had no use for the fifty cent pieces, and demanded quarters. Sometimes what works fine in theory for the cashier’s office is entirely sub-optimal for practical use by patrons in the marketplace.
    (You’d think that Guest Services would just give you a nickel out of their pocket as a gesture of Customer “Service”!)

  9. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Hawk07: Wow you must not spend much in cash. My wife and I throw our change in a 5 gallon water bottle and I usually take it to the bank once every 6 months or so and its usually around $450 or so… Usually about the time where it takes an effort of will to pick it up and dump it on the table to sort and count :)

  10. Asvetic says:

    @LowerHouseMember: A lot of the local businesses do this. I’ve had totals that have come within a few cents of the nearest quarter cashier just rounded up instead of giving me a bunch of smaller change.

    Nowadays, a nickel isn’t even worth the breathe it takes to say the word, “nickel”.

  11. Binaryslyder says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: I used to be like that, cashing coins worth $100 or so every few months at the bank. Since I’ve started using a check card I keep better track of where my money goes. It’s been 6 months and there is probably $2 in coins inside.

  12. iMike says:

    No pennies?

  13. acambras says:

    How hard would it be for this place to have nickels?

  14. randalotto says:

    @dougm: Yes, because when customers are inconvenienced by idiotic company policy, they should grin and bear it like good sheep.

  15. Matthew says:

    @SportsCentre: Amen

  16. MoCo says:

    Next time, Anthony should be a nickel short and tell AMC to cover the shortage with the nickel that they owe him from last time.

  17. geekire says:

    As B said, the tickets are usually rounded off to the nearest quarter, as are the concession items. Sales tax is usually included so there is no need for anything other than quarters. Sure, it is annoying but getting huge and heavy coin deliveries from the bank and keeping them in a smallish safe is also annoying. I worked at a theater for years and never once encountered a customer who needed change other than a quarter. Of course, we had a small amount of change just in case.

  18. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Binaryslyder: Yeah I use my debit or CC for big things but I always like to have at least 20-40$ in my wallet just in case. You need gas just once when the ATM/credit card system is down and you start carrying emergency cash just in case.

  19. balthisar says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: Assuming you generate your $450 evenly from day to day and could deposit it into a 6% account with daily compounding, you’re ripping yourself off. You could have $456.80 instead of that measily $450. When will people ever learn that matresses (or water bottles) aren’t suitable investment vehicles.

  20. Obtusegoose says:

    It isn’t very clear whether they don’t have any coins at all or just nickels. If the snack bar rounds everything to the nearest dollar, then the theater wouldn’t need to stock coins. Otherwise, they should have given him a nickel from the snack bar. Very simple solution. But the people working there are not rocket scientists are they?

  21. sahhhm says:

    What are the odds that one person working there would not have a nickel to spare?

  22. joeblevins says:

    I worked for GCC (General Cinemas Corp) back in the early 90’s when they went to the quarter system. Every thing was in .25 increments that included tax so they didn’t have to do math. The asst. manager said, now we don’t have to have dimes and nickels. I used the example like the original poster. Pretty funny the look on his face while he did the math.

    It helped the cashiers, and most of the time people had dollars, so it was much quicker. Lots of times the customers could now know the exact cost and have it ready before the cashier would.

  23. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @balthisar: Ok so I am going to assume you meant that in a sarcastic way….Well I guess the 250$ a paycheck I deposit into a ING high yield savings account isnt enough for ya huh? And BTW the $450 or so I deposit also goes into my savings. And before you ask yes $250 is a lot for me to put into savings a check when you have to live in L.A. and take care of a 9 moth old..

  24. ellmar says:

    Next time I see a movie at AMC I plan to pay entirely in nickels!

  25. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @Binaryslyder:
    So what happened when someone paid with a dime or dimes at Penney’s?
    This sounds apocryphal.

  26. sp3nc3 says:

    If they owe him five cents and the smallest coin they have is a dime, then they owe him a dime.

  27. jefuchs says:

    Sad thing is, this is the kind of thing that pisses you off so much that you can’t enjoy the movie.

    You didn’t lose a nickel. You lost $9.05.

    With people going to the movies less (I haven’t gone in years) you’d think they’d make an effort to be more hospitable. And isn’t it time to start serving beer and decent food?!

  28. @balthisar: Wouldn’t it actually be less money once you factor in the cost of going into the bank everyday?

  29. LionelEHutz says:

    It’s all this customer’s fault because he should know better than to expect change from a transaction. Sheesh.

  30. DeeJayQueue says:

    A friend of mine worked for AMC, and the previous commenters are right. They purposefully made everything in multiples of a quarter so that they wouldn’t have to give small change. Usually they kept a roll of pennies, nickels and dimes in the safe but not in the drawers unless they had some in there already from a previous sale.

    Mostly when people buy something that’s 9.50 or 9.25 they just pay with a 10 or a 20. It’s rare to see people pay with exact or close to exact change.

    That doesn’t make it right that the theatre banks on people’s tendencies however. They do owe him a nickel.

    On a side note, I was at the theater on sunday and was flabbergasted to see how many people were standing in line while the DIY machines off to the side stood barren. My friend and I walked to the machine, swiped our debit cards and had tickets in 10 seconds as opposed to the 30+ minutes we’d have to have waited otherwise. Cash sucks.

  31. @Matthew: I second that.

  32. Jesse in Japan says:

    I would have said: OK, you can either give me the ticket for 8.95 or I can just go home and Torrent the movie.

  33. overbysara says:

    while losing a nickel isn’t a big deal… it seems sketchy…

  34. Binaryslyder says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: When someone would give dimes to JCpenny’s they would just deposit all of them in the store’s safe during normal register balancing. My wife said most people paid with cards in her section anyways and it was rare to see more than 1 or 2 dimes in the register during the week.

  35. Consumertaz says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer:

    If you’ve really got $450 every 6 months or so you should get a coin counter for $100 or so. The time saved will more than make up for the cost.

  36. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Consumertaz: I had a couple of the cheaper $30 ones but they always jammed or broke. I wish my bank had a coin sorter like the Coin star type..without the fee of course. But as cheezy as it sounds its actually fun for us to sit around and count and roll them…you know the whole togetherness time and stuff.

  37. swalve says:

    Why would anyone complain about a half-dollar? It’s money.

  38. Shadowman615 says:

    Even better, the Chevy Chase banks in the DC area offer *free* coinstar machines — for everyone. You don’t need to have an account there.

    Although the teller usually tries to give you a pitch for an account when you go up to collect your money. But a simple ‘not interested’ usually takes care of that.

  39. niteflytes says:

    What’s a nickel? ;-)

  40. TechnoDestructo says:

    @joeblevins:

    But obviously, situations come up where that doesn’t work. And it leaves you unprepared. Hell, just having a little jumble of small change somewhere in the back of the drawer would be enough to resolve it, and you would still not have to think about it MOST of the time.

    @Binaryslyder:

    Are these places all getting bargain-basement cash drawers from countries with only three main coin denominations?

    AAFES in Korea doesn’t carry pennies. This isn’t like in the US, though, where it’s in the middle of a dollar economy, and there is a constant flow of pennies, though. Because AAFES doesn’t ship any over (they figure it isn’t worth it), the only pennies in Korea are those that individuals are carrying with them when they come from the United States.

    Some of these get into circulation at AAFES, but it doesn’t happen terribly often. So prices are usually rounded to the nearest 5 cents.

    In my experience, it ends up being in AAFES favor about 4 times out of 5.

  41. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Binaryslyder:

    It’d be funnier if JC Penny’s didn’t carry pennies.

  42. Echodork says:

    I would have taken one of my dimes back.

  43. Youthier says:

    @LowerHouseMember: Seriously… I was at Subway the other day and their card machine was rebooting which I was not told until after my sandwiches were complete and would take about 10 minutes. I told the cashier, “I had my debit card and a ten” and my total was $10.59, so the employee just accepted the ten.

    I’m not a big Subway fan but it made me happy to see an employee make the right service move.

  44. SJActress says:

    I’m a bartender, and we only keep quarters for change. We never have dimes, nickels or pennies. All our beer ends in .25 or .50, so it’s really all we need. What sucks though, is that if you give me 23 dimes to buy a $2.25 beer, I either have to put that in my purse and pay it with my tips, or not charge for it on the register at all, because it won’t be counted (and as a matter of conscience, I won’t do that).
    And if you actually want that nickel in change for a beer, it’s gonna be your last beer on my shift!

    But a movie theater? That’s stupid.

  45. Jim says:

    This is what those stupid credit card commercials – where the poor uncool guy pays with cash and causes havoc – are based on. Charge your movie tickets and quit ruining everyone’s life!

    Seriously, if I’m cashier or especially manager, you get a nickel out of my pocket. It’s just good karma.

  46. Hodo says:

    When your business model NEEDS the cost savings provided by not stocking nickels in your cashiers’ cash drawers . . . you have a SERIOUS problem. How much money can this POSSIBLY save AMC? Perhaps the “savings” isn’t in the efficiency, it’s in people foregoing their 5 cents? Hmmmm

  47. dohtem says:

    @jefuchs: You want them to serve beer at the movies? Like the talkative idiots aren’t annoying enough, now we’ll have to deal with *drunk* talkative idiot.

  48. nequam says:

    @swalve: Because invariably you will try to use the half-dollar at a store and the clerk will look at you like you just handed him a drachma. I have had this problem with dollar coins (USPS vending machines give dollar coins as change). You take it to a store and they don’t know what to do with it.

  49. RandomHookup says:

    My neighborhood theater serves beer (good stuff too) and gourmet ice cream. And it’s crawling distance from my house.

  50. mannymix03 says:

    I worked at an AMC theater, but moved on to a Regal Entertainment Group theater because of a payroll issue.

    Either way both theaters have the quarter system so that everything is in 25cent intervals

    Popcorn: $4.50
    Soda $4.00
    Gummy Bears $3.25
    And yes its true, we don’t stock nickels in registers, unless it was from a previous sale. Its not the theater’s fault, next time know that you will need to pay in quaters, or at least have exact change.

    Also to the poster above, we are all not stupid. Most of us understand what a dollar coin is, and how to deal with it.

  51. reagan32 says:

    @balthisar :: I agree completely, but where is the 6% money market or savings account (or even CD)?

    Also, extend that calculation to using a debit-based cash-back card with 1% cash back on everything. That 6 months worth of cash spending (say $1500 per month to keep it easy) now pays you an additional $90.00, making the total $96.80. Also, the cash you’re carrying in your wallet could be earning 5% in your debit account instead of 0% in your wallet.

    -Reagan

  52. cleric says:

    I worked at a movie theater for a couple years. Everything was like a previous poster wrote, everything in $.25 increments this is not because it’s “expensive” to keep dimes, nickels, and pennies in the register. It’s because the people you are employees you are paying $6/hr are not good at math nor are the $8/hr managers (yes I know it’s simple math but, you complain about your 5 cents think about that over multiple registers and a lot more transactions across thousands of locations). If you go to the movie theater for service prepare to pay a lot more than $9 otherwise start using a credit/check card like a normal human being.

  53. DaveTyranham says:

    That’s illegal in the state of Canada.

  54. BugMeNot2 says:

    People go to theaters? This is why pirate bay exists. OK… I confess, I do go to the movies but not to these megaplexes. Why would anyone stand in line to get a ticket, wait in line again for good seats, allow themselves to be treated as cattle and be seriously over charged for junk food? Oh, and if you bring water and fruit, they may just kick you out.

  55. CapitalC says:

    Let’s just round everything up to the nearest dollar, dammit!

  56. Trick says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer:

    @Hawk07: Wow you must not spend much in cash. My wife and I throw our change in a 5 gallon water bottle and I usually take it to the bank once every 6 months or so and its usually around $450 or so… Usually about the time where it takes an effort of will to pick it up and dump it on the table to sort and count :)

    I was thinking the same, in April I cashed a little over $350 in change that was in my big plastic Coke bottle for a little over a year.

    I use a credit card to pay for whatever I can most of the time then pay it off at the end of the month, yet I still managed to put that much change from the cash I do use!

  57. Chicago7 says:

    @SportsCentre:

    I think SportsCentre hit it on the head. They should let the CUSTOMER keep the nickel rather than charging an extra nickel. It’s their mistake for not having change.

    It’s no big deal, right?? It’s ONLY a nickel.

  58. Chicago7 says:

    @mannymix03:

    I haven’t been to an AMC in a long time, but here in Chicago, they charge tax on everything, even the tickets came out odd, because of tax.

    /IIRC, they were trying to make a point that the tax shouldn’t be there and charging 2.13 for a small soda, etc.

  59. quail says:

    I’ve been party to National Association of Theatre Owners conventions since the early 90’s. Making the math simple for the high schooler pouring your drink and making change for you is only one of the reasons. The main reason for the .25 increments in pricing is to give back to the purchaser as many quarters as possible. It was quickly noticed that the more quarters you gave back the more money your arcades generated for you. So a drink that once cost $2.85 was soon priced at $3.25. They made more on the sale and were assured a good chance at getting the other $0.75 as well when you played Street Fighter.

  60. Josh Smith says:

    If I had a nickel for each movie ticket, I’d be one rich movie chain.

  61. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    How hard would it be for the theater to go down to the bank and get a bag of nickels? It’s not the amount of money, it’s the principle of the thing. Next thing you know, it’ll be “We don’t carry $1 bills.”

  62. Havok154 says:

    Just tell them that they can keep the nickel as long as they want, just make sure you get them to sign your loan forms which entails a 700% interest for every hour the nickel is not payed back. Lets see how fast he runs to his car to get you a nickel.

  63. ursonate says:

    That reminds me that when I worked retail and needed change, I couldn’t get nickels from our cash office. Basically we would just try to accumulate them when customers paid in cash. My question though is did the cashier not have pennies either? ‘Cause, 5 pennies equals, you know.

  64. ursonate says:

    Oh actually maybe it was dimes we didn’t have…

  65. figpetus says:

    It is federal law that any reasonably public place that sells products or services accept all forms of cash, and provide you with the correct change. I would involve the better business bureau as well at the DA’s office where you are.

  66. Alger says:

    @geekire: Oh, what a horrible burden on a cash business to actually keep some cash around.

  67. erica.blog says:

    It’s policy to not have any change in any drawers, but they’re perfectly willing to accept his quarters and dimes. Er?

    Kudos to Anthony for asking a common sense question, no kudos to AMC or the manager for being so ridiculous.

  68. WTFITWCT says:

    OK, I’m sorry (not really), but in reading the comments, the one that made me stop & think “WTF?!” was MANNYMIX03’s. In it s/he states, “Its not the theater’s fault, next time know that you will need to pay in quaters (sic), or at least have exact change.”

    Again, WTF?! Last time I checked, each and every denomination of bills and coins is “legal tender for all debts, public and private”. Now, I’m not highly educated as a financial guru, but this means to me that anyone person or business can use any combination of coins or bills to pay the debt incurred.

    With MANNYMIX03’s example of a sale of goods or services costing the consumer a total which ends in “5” (e.g. .05, .15, .25, etc.), if the consumer pays that cost with 3 dimes (entirely reasonable), It’s not the consumer’s responsibility to provide only denominations which are preferred by a particular party; rather, the responsibility lies with the party selling the goods or services in providing the consumer adequate compensation to pay for the new debt incurred. This means, if the consumer pays for the $3.25 gummy bears with 3 one dollar bills and 3 dimes, the other party now has a debt to the consumer and has a responsibility to the consumer to pay that debt.

    To be quite honest, I’, REALLY starting to get annoyed* with VISA & their new ad campaign. To me, their new catch-phrase (“Life takes VISA”) is one of those great works of marketing which can mean different things, depending on the perspective one thinks of it in. The catch-phrase itself seems quick, snappy, and taken at face value, can mean that one can use the VISA card for anything one encounters throughout their life. I can see a more subtle & troubling interpretation as well, one which can mean that one figuratively (or even literally) CANNOT get through their life without using the VISA card. ([usa.visa.com] , “Downtown”)

    This is even more disturbing when you stop to consider one particular message ([usa.visa.com] , “Morning in Manhattan”), which can be indicative of a larger marketing strategy, which is that it’s a bad to use (or even CONSIDER using) cash anymore. It’s my belief that the longer-term (meaning 5 or 10 years) strategy is to slowly but surely influence most consumers tho change the way they think about cash & cash transactions. This is so wrong on so many different levels, it’s just not funny.

    So, I ask again… WTF?!

    *…and kind of puzzled, why there doesn’t seem to many other people (if at all), who are having the same reaction

  69. joemono says:

    It’s a nickel. It’s just not worth it. You’ll probably find one on the ground as you’re leaving the theater.

  70. The Meathead says:

    @joemono: That’s completely not the point.

    I’m sure AMC would not say “It’s a nickel. It’s just not worth it.”, so why should he?

  71. nakedinlb says:

    one more reason why i don’t pay the fucking high prices for a movie ticket! most movies are crap and not worth my hard earned money. and they wonder why i never by the over priced refreshements? because i always bring my own! i go to rite aid or costo and get 100 times more for the same price and fill up all the pockets in my cargo shorts. now if i could only find a personal size icee machine to sneak in so i can enjoy a cherry icee during a movie.

    other reasons why i don’t go?

    • people who talk during a movie (i always ask with a smile, “will you be talking thru the entire movie?” and i’ve been known to yell across a croweded theater “shut the fuck up. this isn’t the front porch of your single wide trailer.”

    • people who answer cell phones (again, i ask loudly to shut the fuck up. or “what did they want?” i love the stares of “none of your business”. but i reply, “it must have been since you were talking so loudly for all of us to hear it.”

    •screaming kids. leave your brats at home. hire a babysitter. nobody, and i mean, nobody, thinks they are cute but you.

    • people who come in late and then expect you to move over a seat or two so they all can sit their fat asses together. i get to the theater with plenty of time to pick my seat. i’m not moving for anyone, especially if they are late and obstructing my view. a well versed, with a smile response of “i’m fine where i’m sitting, thank you.” usually shuts them up.

    • the theaters never let me sit there in my underwear or naked. (ok, just kidding with that one!)

  72. countertop says:

    Sue

    Go down and spend $25 to file a small claims action against AMC seeking the nickle.

    It would be fantastic – forcing them to hire a lawyer for many thousand of dollars and surely driving the point home.

  73. joemono says:

    @The Meathead: It’s five cents. Complaining about the attitude the manager gave him is fine, but complaining about the loss of five cents is greedy and stupid.

  74. a-dub says:

    Next time you’re there, you should use nickels and only nickels to pay for EVERYTHING!

  75. HungryGrrl says:

    @cleric:

    Yeah, the grocery stores must hire all the smart kids, though it is a little scary how often one encounters a cashier who can’t ‘make change’ in their head if they have accidentally entered the wrong tendered amount in the register.

    What I’m curious about is if the movie theater would TAKE nickels… what if I came in with a $5, three $1s, three quarters, and five nickels?
    would they refuse to take them?

    And complaining about five cents is not greedy and stupid. If this was a situation in which it was happening regularly (say a store decided to stop carrying nickels and shorted everyone who was supposed to get a nickel five cents), the amount the company would be stealing from the customer’s change would add up a lot.

  76. Charles Duffy says:

    @dohtem: The Alamo Drafthouse theatres here in Austin serve beer (and food) — and they’re great! Ordering is done by writing on paper, so disruption via verbal communications is avoided, and I’ve yet to see the “drunk talkative idiots” situation you’re so concerned about.

  77. itsjos says:

    i use to work there… as a manger, and we were actually told for a while from corp to not accept pennys and or nickles coz they messed up our deposits… it was totally crazy and when i was working i always accepted them, it kind of made sense not to have pennys/dimes/nickles in the registers coz all of the products were rounded to quarters but to not accept them was insane

  78. dog13000 says:

    I work at an AMC Theater, and we indeed do not carry any change in our registers except quarters. We include tax in the price to make most people’s lives easier / more efficient.

    That said, if someone does pay with coins that would result in change, we just round up at our theater. In this case, we would probably just tell the guest (dumb amc speak for customer) to keep one of the dimes.

  79. Ramana Briggs says:

    seriously, get the hell over it. I work an AMC and no we dont carry nickels. Nothing we sell is denominated into 5 cents, so the HOME OFFICE made the descion not to have to go to the trouble of carrying them. Stop being an asshole, and get over 5 cents, dont you have something better to do with your life than pissing people off? and the fact that you actually took the time to write this on here, shows whant an absolute idiot you are.

  80. Blake Hutchison says:

    I can’t imagine going to guest services over a nickel…given the time factor, that can take several minutes at a lot of places, and if it takes even two minutes to get your nickel back from guest services, that is the same as placing a value of $1.50 an hour on your time.

    When I worked at Lowe’s a few years back a woman literally drove back to the store from ten miles away because the cashier had accidentally shortchanged her by a PENNY!

    If you can afford to spend $9.00 on a movie ticket, is 5¢ really that big of a deal?