Michael's: "It's Store Policy Not To Accept Change"

Hayden wanted to buy a $4 wood plaque for his mother as part of a last-minute birthday gift, but Michael’s wouldn’t accept 16 quarters as payment. “It’s store policy not to accept change,” a cashier explained, forcing an embarrassed Hayden to borrow a few bucks from his younger sister.

Hayden writes:

I recently went to Michael’s in Hemet, California to make a last minute birthday present for my mother. I didn’t have money on me at the time and the bank was closed so I had to use 4 dollars in quarters to buy a wood plaque. When I went to check out, an older woman told me “It’s story policy not to accept change.”

Is it really legal for a store to not accept change? It’s still legal tender, and it’s not as if I was paying in pennies; it was quarters and I was counting them out for the cashier.

I was in a hurry so I had to borrow money from my younger sister to buy it, which was pretty embarrassing.

Michael’s is about 10 miles farther from my house than Joanne’s, but needless to say I’m not going back. At least Joanne’s accepts legal money.

It’s not like this in other countries. Watch here as a pair of Marines try to shock an unsuspecting Japanese waitress by paying for their whole meal with nothing but change:

It’s not an issue because it’s not unreasonable to ask employees to count change.

(Photo: seawallrunner)


Edit Your Comment

  1. healthdog says:

    “Yeah, well, it’s my policy to call for a store manager when a cashier makes up store policy.”

    • dragonfire81 says:

      @healthdog: Fucking right, no way I would buy some bullshit policy like that. It was QUARTERS! What kind of store doesn’t take quarters???

      • @dragonfire81: @seandavid010:

        That’s funny. Radio Shack refused my payment of coins pre-rolled for them. I tried to pay with three pre-rolled $25 rolls, so $75 total. They said it is store policy to *not* accept pre-rolled coins.

        • Parting says:

          @obamaramallama: I can tell you one thing, a friend of mine accepted rolls, while working in a store. Those rolls were missing money, so cash was short at the end of the day. Crooked people cause those kind of policies.

          (However, if the store is empty, and the cashier doesn’t have anyone else after you, I don’t see why the cashier cannot break and count rolls one by one.)

        • @obamaramallama: That’s because Radio Shack didn’t have an easy way to verify that the rolls were full. I’m sure that they were, but Radio Shack had no way of knowing if they were $25, $24.75, or $8.50 and a bunch of washers stuffed in there.

          Also, what were you rolling? Half dollars? I can’t recall any denomination of change that gets rolled into amounts of $25 (Pennies=50 cents, Nickels=$2, Dimes=$5, Quarters=$10).

        • ellastar says:

          @obamaramallama: Definitely not COMPANY policy. Might be a rule the manager put in place due to the rolls including items other than coins (I once found a metal piece and Canadian coins in a penny roll from the bank) and they are too busy (or lazy) to count them out. With that you could escalate it to the District Manager since it’s definitely not a company rule. District Manager would most likely take your side. Countless times I’ve counted out rolls to make sure it was all there, or even accepted handfuls of loose change.

      • mon0zuki says:

        @dragonfire81: AGREED! Wasn’t like the guy was trying to pay in flippin’ pennies!!!!

        Don’t people ask FOR quarters at checkout? Wouldn’t the store WANT to have quarters on hand to create change for those customers?

  2. EdnaLegume says:

    what if you’re buying just a pack of gum for roughly .89? do you HAVE to give them a dollar bill?

  3. homerjay says:

    Ugh… For the last time YES, it is legal for stores not to accept change. Is it good policy? Hell, is it likely a policy at all? Not really, no.

    • JoshReflek says:

      @homerjay: 100% Wrong homerjay.
      They can *ask* you pay with a different type of currency, such as bills, out of courtesy since they are closing in 5 minutes and don’t want to count all your change, but no, it is illegal for a store to not accept any form of legal tender, you can pay in all pennies and they can’t refuse it.

      • @JoshReflek: You may want to check the law before correcting someone else.

        They can refuse payment in change if they so choose. Heck, they can refuse to take cash altogether if they want to. Either you go along with that policy, or take your business elsewhere. If the policy cost them money they will change it.

        • deadspork says:

          @TracyHamandEggs!: A company can, without any reason, refuse to offer services or goods to any customer ever. So, if they don’t want to count your change, they can simply deny you the purchase.

          It’s crappy customer service, especially since he was paying in quarters, but it is well within their rights.

          • Difdi says:

            @deadspork: Yes, a company can, with the caveat that they cannot do so for reasons that are illegal discrimination. The guy looks like he hasn’t showered in months? Go ahead and refuse him. He’s black? Can’t do that.

        • Slow2Whine says:

          @TracyHamandEggs!: Wait…I’m confused. Isn’t spare change included in the realm of cash? If so, then if a store accepts cash, wouldn’t they have to accept change as well? Or am I thinking something different, when I pay the exact amount when I want to get rid of some excess change in my pocket?

          • homerjay says:

            @Slow2Whine: HAVE to? No. They can do whatever they want as long as their not discriminating.

            • JoshReflek says:

              @homerjay: They can’t give it out as “legal tender”, then when you want to use it to pay, say “that’s not valid here”.

              If the store carries change in their register, then refusing to accept it as payment would be discriminatory.

            • mon0zuki says:

              @JoshReflek: : I think the jist here is that a store can refuse to service someone – which in this case includes accepting change as payment, even if they give OUT change.

              Doesn’t make sense from a business, customer service, or general perspective, but since they do reserve the right to refuse service, I suppose this is one way they express that right…?

              I do wonder though, does the cashier have the authority to technically do that, or does the manager have to step in?

              • JoshReflek says:

                @mon0zuki: Certainly, a store can outright ‘refuse service’ to anyone.
                However, the debate here is if they are able to say ‘we dont want your coins, but we do want your paper bills’ and weather or not that’s discriminatory.

      • homerjay says:

        @JoshReflek: I think you’ve been sufficiently smacked… I won’t add to it. :) Nice try, though.

      • xip says:

        I don’t think that’s true. As I understand it, any legal tender currency has to be accepted as payment for a debt. However, they don’t have to accept it as payment for something that you haven’t bought yet.

        For example, if you eat at a restaurant, they bring you your bill, and you try to pay in pennies, they can’t refuse to accept the pennies and call the cops for your non-payment of the bill. Since you owe them money, they have to accept your debt repayment in whatever legal tender for you provide.

        However, if you are trying to purchase something, and you want to pay in pennies, the store can just refuse you service and kick you out. They don’t have to sell to you.

        • Sidecutter says:

          @xip: Legal tender must be accepted as payment for all *debts* public and private. The key word is *debt* If the store refuses to make a sale or provide a service to you, then no debt has been created, and they are therefore not required to accept any form of legal tender in exchange. Until that product is paid for, it still belongs to the store, so no debt exists.

          By contrast, in your restauraunt example, goods and service were provided, and a debt now exists.

    • ablestmage says:

      @homerjay: I don’t believe it is legal to deny legal tender as acceptable payment. You can reject credit, checks and the like, but you cannot deny actual legal tender. There was a legal battle over this some time ago about an asian-food shop that would not accept pennies, and the courts established that businesses must accept actual legal tender as legitimate payment.

    • barty says:

      @homerjay: I wouldn’t exchange money at any other place in Europe aside from a bank anyway. Exchange rates at those kiosks and exchange offices you see everywhere have always sucked anyway.

      Best bet is just to use your ATM card and get the cash you need instead of trying to bring dollars over there and getting someone to change them for you.

  4. emilymarion333 says:

    When I was in college I worked at an outlet mall very close to the Canadian border. I had a customer buy around $35 in random things and asked me if we took change. I said yes and they pulled out $35 dollars in pennies. The manager and I were beyond pissed. I can understand paying for smaller items in change but $35 in pennies is ridiculous. We had to get penny rolls and count all of the pennies before they could leave. They just did not want to go to the bank and pay the exchange rate before they went home.

    I can see why some stores have the policy due to examples like this – but if the item is under $5 it should be fine to pay in change!

    • crazylady says:

      @emilymarion333: Exactly. $4 in quarters doesn’t take more than an eyeing to count, same with, say, $4 in $1 bills. Anyone bringing in significantly more than that should have them counted and in rolls beforehand..or maybe they can just go to the freakin’ bank beforehand if they could.

      I’ve operated a business that goes through lots of coin/cash enough to justify purchasing a bill and coin counter. Worth a mention for small business owners :)

      On the other hand, I have lots of money in foreign coins that banks won’t exchange and I’m slowly going through the pile exchanging them with friends going on vacation. Frustrating and depressing, since I have a bunch of euros and the US dollar…sigh.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @crazylady: hold onto those euros if you are going to europe – it’s getting hard to get some exchange places to trade for the american dollar anymore. in amsterdam you now have to do it while still inside the airport or go into an actual bank.

    • @emilymarion333: One of my friends used to work at a sports store where customers would pay for $100+ purchases in pennies. That would happen about once a month. They would take the change, but check the customer out in the back of the store with a male associate. Why a male associate? The customers that brought in an unreasonable amount of change were usually male and wanted to stare at female associate’s boobs while they counted the change.

      I can see why a store might have this policy; not because of the inconvenience of counting change, but to protect female associates from dirty old men that go to great lengths to stare at boobs.

    • Keter says:

      @emilymarion333: $35 in pennies is 3500 pennies. That’s about a shoe-box full – I know because I just took a half-shoebox full to my credit union and it was $19. You don’t just “pull out” a shoe-box full of pennies: they’re freakin’ heavy!

  5. Skellbasher says:

    Paper currency and coinage are legal tender. However, business can decide if they want to accept it for payment or not.

    A business could easily decide that they would only accept the special state quarters from the state you’re in for purchases, and they are perfectly within their rights to do so.

    You’re also perfectly within your rights tell that business to pound sand, and take your business elsewhere.

    • forgottenpassword says:


      However I think it is different if you are in a place that provides the product before you pay. Like say at a restaurant/diner… you eat your meal & all you have is 10 bucks in coins to pay…. they MUST accept it or else your meal is free.

      • Difdi says:

        @forgottenpassword: Wrong. You’re in the restaurant, enjoying a service and a product. Refusing to pay is theft (dine & dash). Insisting that because you ate before paying means they have to accept cash or it’s free, while a novel concept, is not likely to get much respect from the police or courts.

        You might be able to argue this over a bar tab, however, one that is settled up weekly, monthly, etc. But probably not for one run up over a single night.

        • Spin359 says:

          @Difdi: I don’t know where skellbasher is but in Virginia, If you owe a debt to a place, say a restaurant or a gas station, they must accept payment as long as it is legal currency and “reasonable”. Refusal to except legal currency voids the debt. If for example a gas station has a sign that it does not accept bills larger than a 20, and refuses your 100 dollar bill for a “reasonable purchase” of say 80 dollars, it does void the debt. This has happened several times in Virginia. They listed “reasonable purchase” and i think a 4 dollar item in quarters would count as reasonable. I also think a 80 dollar gas bill is reasonable to use a 100 dollar bill.

          Also, to point out the flaw in your argument that he would be “refusing to pay” is not true. He is using legal tender that states “for all debts, Public and private”

        • @Difdi:
          The eating before paying your tab makes that tab a debt. Legal tender is “legal tender for all debts public and private”. On its face, that doesn’t seem to say that a debtee is required to accept it, just that he can. Of course, Federal law may say different.

        • crashfrog says:

          @Difdi: You’re in the restaurant, enjoying a service and a product.

          And you offered to pay. They didn’t like how you offered to pay, but you offered to pay with what the law has declared legal tender for all debts public and private, and so they really have no legal recourse to object. It’s their choice to either accept your payment on the debt or wipe it, completely.

          I mean, flip it around – you offer to pay with cash, check, or credit card, but the manager comes out and insists that he’ll only accept sex with your wife as payment. There’s no way you’ve “stolen a meal” simply because you refuse his terms of payment, and offered your own in good faith.

          Once you’ve offered legal tender to pay your debt, it’s their choice to either accept payment or refuse, but the refusal must surely void the debt. (Of course, you can probably only get away with paying for pennies once; if it’s that much of a hassle I doubt they’d let you in for a second time.)

          • @crashfrog: Posted policy would allow them a lot of latitude. If they have a sign, or any other note saying “We only accept Cash or Charge, no change accepted” then you would still be on the hook.

            I worked, a long time ago, at a restaurant. We had a large party of kids (14-16ish) try to pay a $250ish bill with change. We refused to accept it, since it would have taken forever to verify the amount, and would have forced us to pay our cash pickup place extra (there was a surcharge for extra cash bags). When the kids came up short we told them they could call their parents or we would call the cops.

            The reason companies have policies that are this strict is people who abuse it. If you let one person go then the next guy has $10 in pennies how can you refuse him?

        • johnnya2 says:

          @Difdi: The funny party of that argument would be once it was in the court system, it would then be a DEBT, and they would be required to accept the legal tender they attempted to pay with in the first place.

  6. SuperiorInky says:

    “Store policy”? I call BS on this. If they have a register, and it has those little areas that can hold change, they’re gonna accept change. When you consider the slow economy, this policy (if it even exists) is gonna run Michael’s into the ground.

    Also, I’m curious: Let’s say their “no change” policy is legit. If someone pays $20 for for something that is $17.32 (using random figures here), how is the customer getting his change back when Michael’s isn’t using change in their transactions?

  7. ivanthemute says:

    Back when I was a retail drone, we wouldn’t accept more than .99 in unrolled coins, and in the case of rolled coins, we would need your drivers license and telephone number (in case you shorted us.) Now, if you had ten bucks of quarters, no problem (or even dimes.) A ten’s worth of pennies, get bent! Just because you have it, doesn’t mean we take it. Look at all the gas stations with big-bill restriction. Yes, valid tender, no we don’t take it.

    • parad0x360 says:

      @ivanthemute: There is a very good reason for Gas Stations not to take anything over a $50 bill. I see no good reason to deny someone to pay in Quarters. They are easy to count and always usefull. Its not like it was nickels.

      • @parad0x360:
        I think the $50 is so they don’t have too much cash lying around that would make them targets for holdups.

        • t325 says:

          @Crim Law Geek: I never understood it though.

          Lets assume I buy $100 in gas (lets also assume I drive a Hummer) and pay in cash. I could pay with 10 10s, 2 50s, 5 20s, 1 100, etc. If after I pay, someone robs the gas station and gets all of the cash in the register, they’re still getting my 100 bucks, regardless of how it’s divided up. I don’t think robbers are too picky when it comes to the denominations of the bills.

      • temporaryerror says:

        I think that the no bill over 20 rule has to do with making change for a small purchase that was paid for with a 50 or 100 as well as counterfeiting concerns.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @ivanthemute: So you wouldn’t accept four quarters in payment? Seems a little shortsighted.

    • bwcbwc says:

      @ivanthemute: Since the PITA for the merchant is the number of coins to count, a reasonable policy is something like no more than 20 of any given coin, with a total coin count limit of 50. I suspect the cashier was partly right about the policy, but probably botched the details. Maybe they don’t accept change in rolls, maybe they don’t take pennies, or maybe there’s a value limit. But “we don’t accept change?” Call the floor manager and make it a training opportunity, either for the cashier if it turns out they’re wrong, or the store if they actually don’t accept change.

      I know of some stores that don’t accept rolled coins anymore. This is partly because of shorting and partly because most of them have those coin counting machines that take 8% off the top of your count..

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      This is probably just an inexperienced cashier not understanding something a manager said to him/her. the cashier probably interpreted something like “Don’t accept a large amount of coins for a purchase because it takes up too much time, and it drastically increases the chance that you’ll make a mistake.” To be “don’t accept coins for payment (unless they are necessary)”.

  8. freefallmotion says:

    Re: emilymarion333

    In Canada it’s apparently illegal to use more then 25 pennies when paying for something. You can use other coins (nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies and toonies) but pennies have to number 25 or less.

    • Kinneas says:


      I’m not 100% sure what our penny policy is, and I’m not suprised if there is a limit on them. I’m sure people would agree that’s reasonable as not to slow down checkout lines. You can use a lot of the other denominations though. I’ve never ever had complaints even passing them rolls of pennies before. Either they just don’t care, are very polite, or are trained well.

      • Benny Gesserit says:

        @Kinneas: @freefallmotion: “Legal tender” – cash and coin (even pennies) must be accepted in payment of a debt. Yes, this means you can pay your car loan in pennies and there’s nothing the bank can do about it. (I guess what it really means is you loan can’t go into default if you’ve offered the payment in legal tender.) Likewise, a restaurant that takes payment after delivery of food had better be ready to accept coin. (Although I suppose the waitress could warn you before the meal?? Lawyers? Thoughts?)

        Where there’s no prior agreed debt – our boy at Micheals – they’re within their rights to have a VERY DUMB – very very dumb – policy.

        That said, the cashier must have been a miserable soul to degrade the kid like that. He was going to make something for his Mom for Zod’s sake.

        And what cashier in their right mind wouldn’t kill for $4 in quarters instead of yelling for someone to bring her a roll of them later in her shift? (I’ve seen cashiers say “Ooo, can I buy those coins from you?”)

    • humphrmi says:

      @freefallmotion: Canada has coins called “loonies and toonies”??? There’s a joke here, I’m sure.

  9. Trick says:

    Does anyone really believe this is store policy? More like BCP (B*tchy Cashier Policy.) You could have asked for a manager and verified if it was true, if not, embarrass the cashiers BCP attitude.

    Instead though to save time or not deal with the issue, the OP complied with said demands. Of course that is his choice… but in the end the store/cashier won and every time they get away with this type of treatment, they have no reason to change.

    Remember, Best Buy & Circuit City continue to treat their customers like garbage because the customers keep coming back asking for me with a smile and cash in hand.

    • SinisterMatt says:


      I’m wondering if this was a store policy which said not to make change for rolls of coins that customers brought in that got mistakenly transmogrified by the clerk into a “we don’t accept change” policy.

      If I had a Michael’s nearby (I can’t think of one), I’d go test this, but I am willing to bet that the clerk was just being lazy and made up the “policy.”


  10. sven.kirk says:

    If I was the cashier, I would have just quickly counted the quarters and be done with it. But if was any higher, I would have informed them of the policy.

    As for the YouTube clip on this page, if they left the coins on the table in total disarray, I would bet the waitress would be pissed.

  11. VOIDMunashii says:

    When I worked retail we never would have turned away quarters as we always needed them.

    I once had a kid pay with $11 in pennies; this normally would have been refused, but it was a quiet night and I was not the only assistant manager there, so I figured “why not?”.

    I went back to the office and got the money scale (which thankfully included a rechargeable battery so it could used at the front counter during the holidays), and proceeded to weigh and bag his 1100 pennies into one dollar bags while he waited.

    We needed the sale anyway.

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

    Come on, that’s ridiculous. We’re talking sixteen quarters.

    Maybe the manager was so stupid, she couldn’t count that high.

    I could understand the store refusing payment if they had to count out four-hundred pennies…that would just waste time and you could see where that might be a purposeful act to waste time and frustrate employees and patrons, but $4 in quarters? Give me a break. Not to mention that many times, stores would KILL to have somebody give them dollar bills and quarters because the cashiers usually run out of those quickly.

    Legally, I’m pretty sure a store can refuse or accept anything as payment (I mean, you could, after all, pay in live chickens if the store would accept them), but legal doesn’t always equate with sensible.

    • SabreDC says:

      @anker: The Safeway grocery store near my house now has pictures of coins on their cash register screens with totals next to them. If I get 32 cents in change, the screen shows the cashier a picture of a quarter with a 1 next to it, a picture of a nickel with a 1 next to it and a picture of a penny with a 2 next to it.

      I also notice that cashiers these days have NO CLUE why someone would give a dollar bill and one penny for something that costs $0.96. I’ve had cashiers give me back my penny because a dollar was enough to cover the cost…

      • SabreDC says:

        @SabreDC: Hmm.. I think I found a bug in the comment system. This comment should have been attached to anker’s below. Not sure why it jumped up here.

    • silver-spork says:

      @Grrrrrrrrr: That was my thought. Maybe it’s the policy at that store because the cashiers are too stupid to count change or recognize that they are accepting arcade tokens.

  13. forgottenpassword says:

    why on earth would a retail store NOT want to accept change in quarters?

    Usually retail stores are always wanting change… because a lot are short of it & they can actually use it!

    Like if I went in to buy 20 dollar item with one dollar bills…. they would LOVE it… because they often need a LOT of one dollar bills because they have to make change for people who buy things with tens twenties etc etc.

    DOesnt make sense to me.

    • ShariC says:

      @forgottenpassword: I could be wrong, but it may be related to trying not to sell to people who may have stolen money from vending machines, to avoid people who are messing with them by paying in change to avoid going to a bank, or to try and reduce the amount of change they have on hand and have to process.

  14. VA_White says:

    It sounds like a policy that the cashier interpreted strictly without any leeway for common sense. Everything is so black and white. Like when a grade schooler gets expelled for bringing a butter knife to school because the policy says zero tolerance for “knives.”

  15. seandavid010 says:

    When I had my crappy college job, I had kids come in all the time to pay with change. They’d dump $2.50 on the counter in pennies and give me a little punk-ass smile to go along with it. I would calmly slide 5 paper rolls for the pennies across the counter, and politely offer to help them roll them.

    We’d take the pennies, but we’d make them work for it just enough to not try it again.

  16. Bog says:

    If you want to have real fun, go and get a strap of 2.00 bills and pay for everything with them.

    • Kickstartheart says:

      @Bog: I fail to see that causing anyone headache, and thus being amusing for the spender. As a cashier, when they come through, I just stick them under the till with the large bills.

      • @Kickstartheart: You obviously haven’t seen all the true stories on the Internet of the idiots who think $2 bills don’t exist and call the cops on people for passing them. Sure, at least 99% of people know about them, but that’s the top 99%. Guess where the bottom 1% works? I could be wrong, but IIRC it turns out the answer is Taco Bell.

      • Phydeaux says:

        @Kickstartheart: @Bog:

        Ah, yes, a frequent joke of Steve Wozniak’s (co-founder of Apple). Buy a sheet of $2 bills, fold them up, and cut them as you unfold them out of your wallet or perforate them ahead of time so that you can just rip them off.

    • dorastandpipe says:


      You and I are cut from the same cloth. I ask my tellers for all the 2’s they have and the dollar coins…they love to be rid of them and it drives other people nuts to get them! Fifty cent pieces irk people as well but are harder to come by unless you ask your bank to order them for you and not all of them will unless you buy the whole box. I don’t know what the fed boxes them in so it could be a $250 investment which I am not willing to do. (I know quarters are $500/box, dimes are $250, nickels are $100 and pennies are $25.)

      I remember a long time ago a guy wrote in to a local radio station about his ordeal because some dork cashier thought there was no such thing as a 2 dollar bill, he called security on the customer and the security guy looked at the cashier like he was nuts. “Why would anyone fake a $2 bill?” The cashier finally caught on and gave the customer a free pop for his inconvenience.

    • Eilonwynn says:

      @Bog: My grandmother used to send us $2 bills regularly – one of my earliest “consumerist” type experiences was trying to convince a cashier to take them in Omaha in order to pay for a CD (circa 1993 or so.. ish?) – I quickly learned to ask upon entering whether there’d be a problem with my paying $2 bills.

  17. Robobot says:

    This reminds me of one of my bizarre customer service ordeals. When I worked at CVS in high school we had a regular who would buy money orders- usually in the $200-$400 range- with nothing but change and maybe a few crumpled $1 bills. She didn’t know how to count, (which wasn’t unusual for the area, unfortunately), so she would just give us her sack of change to sort through by ourselves. it took FOREVER to take care of her transaction.

    No one behind the counter minded it most of the time. The only issue I had was when she would come in while I was the only cashier on duty. You can probably imagine how thrilled the customers behind her were.

    Scenarios like that are the only real reason I can think of for not accepting change transactions, but it’s not like 16 quarters are going to take more than a few seconds to count.

  18. anker says:

    I have a theory. Younger cashiers today can’t count. It’s not being taught in schools like before. I recall on one live journal post a young man in total shock because the cash register at his business was not working properly and *GASP* they expected him to count back the change in his head!

    This morning at the McDonalds drive thru, paying for my daughters number one, which they got wrong by the way, I handed the girl two one dollar bills, six quarters, one nickle and four pennies. The girl looked at the change, uncomfortable pause, then she looked at me and asked if it was correct change.

    Oh my.

    • @anker: When I took a job as a cashier, they gave us a test. I looked at the questions which composed of “what coins would you use to make this amount of change” and other basic questions. I asked my trainer if these questions were serious. She said, “are they to hard?” My jaw dropped. Apparently some kids have BIG problems counting out change.

  19. forgottenpassword says:


    I find the $1 coins really annoy (and sometimes stupify) cashiers.

    • lulfas says:

      @forgottenpassword: The stupefying part is the government still makes 1 dollar coins. Now that Vegas doesn’t use them, do they really serve any practical purpose besides making people who use them look like asses?

      • Triborough says:

        @lulfas: They are used in train ticket machines, MetroCard machines, and the like. It is much better getting ten dollar coins than forty quarters out of them.

      • RobertW.TX says:

        @lulfas: The primary purpose of the Dollar coin is long term cost savings for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP). A paper 1$ bill costs less to make but does not last long in circulation (less than 2 years). We, the tax payers, then have to shoulder the expense of printing a replacement for the worn out bill. $1 bills make up about 45% of the workload at the BEP.

        $1 coins might cost a little more to make but are designed to last about 30 years. Other countries have removed smaller denomination bills from circulation (in favor of coins) and it does save quite a bit of money in the long run.

        My personal opinion is set a date for the demise of the $1 bill (mainly to let vendors get ready for the switch) and then stop printing bills. In a couple of years we would be $1 bill free and would not have to fight our vending machines to take every crinkled nasty $1 bill in our wallets.

        While your at it kill the penny. When there is literally nothing to purchase for less than 5 cents I just don’t see the utility.

      • Tysto says:

        @lulfas: No, the stupefying part is that the government still makes 1 dollar bills. The only reason cashiers hate 1 dollar coins and 2 dollar bills is because they don’t have a place to put them. Kill the devalued dollar bill and the worthless penny, and shift the lesser coins over to make room for the dollar coin. Multiple problems solved.

    • johnnya2 says:

      @forgottenpassword: One dollar coins should be the standard. Canada does not have a $1 paper bill and survives just fine. The cost to make pennies is more than a penny. Who is the bright guy who thinks that should go on? People talk about wasteful government spending, but nobody thinks of easy ways to save money that might be an “inconvenience”, but well worth the money. Make a 2 year plan to phase out all dollar bills in circulation. As bills need to be destroyed they do not add more to the system. Eventually, you will use dollar coins, or you will be stuck with $5 bills.

  20. chatterboxwriting says:

    It sounds like the cashier misinterpreted the store’s policy on change. Perhaps they do not accept “rolled change” and she took that to mean “ANY” change?

    I can see why they would not take rolled coins, as you could throw metal washers in there as quarters and get away with it if you have a cashier that doesn’t open them up. But $4 in quarters is easy to eyeball and doesn’t take any more effort than counting a few bills. Silly.

  21. Amethyst02 says:

    That is stupid. I work in retail and as long as the customer isn’t significantly holding up the line so what? Honestly in the time it took for her to tell him that they don’t accept change she could have had him rung up and out the door.

    Now if it was all pennies I’d have made him count it all out first in neat little pile, but I would have accepted it albeit grudgingly.

  22. JollyJumjuck says:

    Sounds to me like the cashier just wanted to be a jerk because she had the ability to do so. I’ll bet she got a kick out of embarrassing the customer. Some people are just like that.

  23. Please stop talking about legal tender if you don’t know what it means. Or you could read the front of a dollar bill:


    OP, you didn’t have a debt so legal tender is irrelevant to this conversation. No store is enjoined by law on what they have to accept as payment. Legally, they are allowed to say “We only accept nickels, Fives, and Fifties” and if you don’t like it, tough luck, don’t shop there. Also legal: Cash Only, Checks Only, No Change, Change Only, Singles Only (do you think strippers accept quarters?), No Change Given (buses), and finally, No Cash Accepted.

    The point of the legal tender law is to make sure that when you owe a debt, the company can’t screw you by requiring you to pay it in some crazy way.

    According to Wikipedia, if you dine at a restaurant where you pay after you eat, the debt you then owe them after eating the meal does compel them to accept legal tender.

    Now without bringing law into it, clearly the cashier or Michaels are being jerks here. Who has a problem counting quarters?? Hell, you need quarters to make change. I’d have been glad to have extra ones if I were the cashier.

    • SinisterMatt says:

      @West Coast Secessionist:

      I would argue that the debt that is being referred to on the currency applies just as much to debt that one accrues from loans as it does to “debt” that one owes someone for performing a service or making a purchase.

      Nevertheless, you are right that companies can arbitrarily choose what methods of payment they accept. That’s why some companies refuse to accept credit cards or even checks.


  24. CharlieInSeattle says:

    So if this is really corp policy, how long before Michaels goes under in this economy? I’m sure there will be more people dipping into their change drawers.

  25. tedyc03 says:

    I’m going to take a bit of a different tack here and say that I think this cashier may have just been a douche.

    Person is buying a $4 birthday gift for their mother with quarters and their young sister is tagging along. Doesn’t that sound like someone in high school? Perhaps I’m wrong, but it does sound like someone young.

    What do you want to bet this cashier was 35 – 45, having a bad day, and just wanted to “stick it” to some kid?

    And just for the record, there’s nothing wrong with being a kid. There’s nothing wrong with buying a $4 gift. There’s nothing wrong with paying for it in quarters. I just think this was a pissy cashier who showed little (if any) respect to a young person.

  26. QrazyQat says:

    Well, in Japan they can count. You know, here when I go to Chinatown and buy something and the bill is, say, $7.32 and I give them $22.32 they just take it and give me my $15.00. It takes them no time to see what’s I’m doing; sometimes as I count out my change they watch and they’ve got the right bills in their hand before I’m done.

    In the USA it’s different — not always, thankfully, we’re not Idiocracy yet, but way too often — when I do that they stare at the money after I’ve handed it to them and I have to explain why I’m giving them that amount. Sometimes they don’t get it until they tap it into the register and the change amount comes up on the screen. Even after that they sometimes look puzzled, like they’ve just seen an amazing magic trick performed by a master of table magic.

    It’s scary out there.

  27. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    plenty of times in the last few years i have run into cashiers who couldn’t count. i even had a trainee at one job who burst into tears after an hour of me trying to explain to her how to make change from our most common transaction [single ticket cost after tax 33.16. many transactions occurred with the customer putting down 2 x $20’s, a quarter and a penny] this was disney and at the time, disney did NOT permit use of calculators and the screen intentionally did NOT show the change amount. you were expected to do it in your head and if you couldn’t you didn’t get to be a cashier. i have no idea if they still do it that way, but it was a highly effective idiot screening tool. needless to say, she didn’t last.

    in my former jobs as a cashier i have had to handle a lot of change. fortunately at the disney ticket office we had a currency scale in the back of the office so i could just lay the rolled coins on it and it would tell me if it was short or over. more often than not, it was over, like someone couldn’t recall if they counted a dime and stuck another one in anyway.

    we had $300+ disney annual passes paid for in change a few times. always had international tourists pay me off all their change so they didn’t have to dump it at the airport [the orlando international airport has a bucket for some sort of charity next to the international outgoing security line which profits greatly from tourists emptying their pockets]

    working in a hotel i have had more than one college student pre-pay for their room in change, sometimes out of a sock.

    it’s not mandatory to take it but i never worked anywhere that wouldn’t. my old manager at taco bell WOULD make kids paying for their whole meal in pennies get out of the drive through lane and come inside to pay though, to keep from holding up the line.

  28. hoffmeister_hoff says:

    When I lived in MA, I constantly received Candaian coins from merchants as change for transactions that I used the proper American currency, and always complained about receiving foreign currency, as was basically told “too bad”, that’s what you’re getting.

    I moved to San Diego 10 years ago and have never received a peso as change.

    I really don’t know what my point is though.

    • Eilonwynn says:

      @hoffmeister_hoff: Eh, I have no problem seeing if they’ll take a bit of change, but I once ran into a store with a policy that they would accept any coin as direct exchange, but that anything over a quarter would only count *as* a quarter, and as we got to talking, he said that he once watched a guy pay for several bucks worth of chocolate with twoonie-quarters :)

  29. ajlei says:

    I pay for stuff with change all the time at Michael’s. When half their stuff is for under dollar, it’s ridiculous not to. This cashier was being an asshole. But, from what I’ve heard from my boyfriend, working at Michael’s is a miniature dimension of hell so maybe the cashier was just accepting her role in life as crazy.

  30. You guys think 35 dollars in change would piss you off? You have no idea, I was in line at Gamestop to buy a game, when some asshat kid bought 400 dollars worth of stuff in change and then ended up being like 3 dollars short! The store let him run next door where his mother was shopping and guess what he brought back? Yeah, another 3 dollars in change. WTF. I should have left but they were the only place in town that had the game and I wouldn’t make it back if I left and tried to come back to the store.

  31. JoshReflek says:

    They CANNOT tell you to bring in a specific type of quarter.
    Legal tender means it has to be accepted everywhere.

    • jusooho says:

      @JoshReflek: You keep saying that. But look up the term. it’s Legal Tender “for all DEBTS public and private.”

      Before selling a customer goods, there is no debt incurred. This means that a restaurant cannot refuse your legal tender for a meal already eaten, but a store can refuse your business beforehand.

      Please think about it.

      • Lance Uppercut says:


        Even if you had already eaten your meal I don’t think they have to accept anything. Especially if they had the policy posted.

        There is a dry cleaner in my town that will not accept cash. By it’s nature you don’t pay for dry cleaning until the items are already clean and you are picking them up. You are in debt to them for their service, but they still aren’t taking cash.

        Same thing with a pizza. By the time you pay for the pizza it has already been cooked and brought to your house, but they still aren’t going to accept big bills.

        Read Daemonstar‘s quote from the treasury website.

  32. ShyamaBenkar says:

    Heh, the suckers should just do what reasonable people do and dump the left-over coins in a red-cross or similar gift-box thingy.

    At Arlanda airport in stockholm they had one at the gates so that when you finish spending at the airport you could dump your extra swedish kronor in that one instead of thinking about it much.

    Works great, must have been several thousand dollars worth in the box and it had been emptied just a week before :)

  33. closed_account says:

    I own coin op washers and dryers. Needless to say I always have a ton of quarters. And they are always sitting in my cup holders (overflowing them). When I get fast food I will ask nicely if they mind me paying in quarters and when they say they don’t care I count them out handing them 4 at a time. I have never had an issue with it.

  34. OmicroN says:

    I called this store. (951) 925-6635. I spoke with an African American woman who said that they have no such store policy, and would have no problems accepting $4 in quarters for such a purchase. She put me on hold so I could speak to the manager, but then the line was disconnected in the middle of the hold music.

    No blame here to the OP. But, a little detective work goes a long way.

  35. Daemonstar says:

    From the US Treasury website:


    “I thought that United States currency was legal tender for all debts. Some businesses or governmental agencies say that they will only accept checks, money orders or credit cards as payment, and others will only accept currency notes in denominations of $20 or smaller. Isn’t this illegal?”


    The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled “Legal tender,” which states: “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.”

    This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.”


  36. sleepydumbdude says:

    I had a guy when i worked at sears come in and buy an air compressor that was like 800 bucks with 150 or so in bills and the rest was change. It took 90 minutes to count and he came 10 minutes before closing. Manager told us to do it. Thinking about it now I should have just quit that day and told him to come down and count it.

  37. deadspork says:

    @Difdi: I felt it wasn’t necessary to state that, because this clearly was not discrimination. This is similar to a company refusing to accept $100 bills. If they can do that, they can refuse change too (again, even if it’s crappy customer service).

  38. BeeBoo says:

    Paying $4 with 16 quarters is no different from paying $16 with 16 one dollar bills. It’s certainly not unreasonable.

    They probably have a policy about accepting large quantities of change and rightly so but the policy was misapplied. You have to draw the line somewhere ($2.00 of loose pennies?) but this was nowhere near unreasonable. Shame on the cashier. I would have asked for the manager.

  39. snoop-blog says:

    A store can accept/deny any form of payment they want to. You can also shop anywhere you want to. It’s kinda how this whole free market thingy works. Heck they could switch to credit card only for that matter. A lot of places in bad neighborhoods do to avoid keeping large amounts of cash on the property. Now most shops/stores won’t do this, but say an insurance company or what-knot may require you to pay with any form other than cash.

  40. ShefalikaHaermm says:

    ” It’s not like this in other countries. ”

    Yes, it is. In the UK, coins are only legal tender up to certain amounts.


    However I could pay up to 10 pounds in 50p or 25p’s but only up to 20p in 1p or 2p

  41. snoop-blog says:

    The cashier was intentionally being a pain which I would consider to be very rude. I WILL NOT give my money to people who are rude.

  42. snoop-blog says:

    How many times have you seen a sign that says: “no bills larger than a $20” and such. where I work we do not give change (as in coins). if your payment is 164.85 and you pay 165, your $.15 change, would just be applied to your next bill or principle balance.

  43. boomshakla says:

    Funny, I just went to a grocery store and paid with $3 in quarters for gatorade bottles. I don’t really pay in change all that much, and with using credit cards more and more, my change pile is not that big these days. I keep my quarters in a baggie, and I have like $20-25 worth of them as of now. I’ll put all the other change through coinstar, I don’t care about the fees, it saves space in my house and indirectly cleans my car.

    But I would never pay with a giant thing of pennies, I have too big a life to do that. I mean, it’s such a waste of time, even if it is technically correct. People like that need to get a bank account and roll them.

  44. harleymcc says:

    “Title 31 (Money and Finance), Subtitle IV (Money), Chapter 51 (Coins and Currency), Subchapter I (Monetary System), Section 5103 (Legal Tender) of the United States Code states:
    ‘United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues. Foreign gold or silver coins are not legal tender for debts.'”

    “What this statute means, in the words of the United States Treasury, is that ‘[A]ll United States money . . . is a valid and legal offer [that’s the key word here – Aron R] of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal law mandating that a person or organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services.'”

    “That’s it. All this means is that the Federal Reserve System must honor U.S. currency and coins, not necessarily anyone else. U.S. currency and coins can be used for making payments, but merchants do not necessarily have to accept it for all forms of business transactions.”

  45. johnnya2 says:

    A private enterprise can choose to do anything they want, BUT they better be consistent, and if the person attempting to pay were black, or a minority they have a much larger issue to deal with. I would write Michaels HQ and get an explanation.
    The government on the other hand CAN NOT REFUSE LEGAL TENDER. The city I live in had a policy against accepting pennies for parking violations. A person who was ticketed sued and won his case.

  46. summerbee says:

    I probably would have become an on-the-spot smartass and asked the cashier to exchange my 16 quarters for 4 one-dollar bills, and then pay.

  47. sponica says:

    Back in my retail days, if someone came in with rolled money, we’d have to OPEN the rolls and count it. Honestly I’d rather deal with the morons paying in coins than the idiots who would buy a 99 cent hot wheels car and pay with a 100 dollar bill as the first sale of the day. At least with coins, you’re getting change that you need. The other way around, the idiot is wiping out ALL THE CHANGE in your drawer….

  48. PedroBalbus says:

    I used to work at Micheal’s and while it was annoying when people paid with change (as it is for any cashier), but I was never told I could refuse tender. I mean, it was only $4 bucks in quarters….
    Although I can vouch for how miserable Micheal’s cashiers are, as I was one while in college.

  49. DocWha says:

    That is so odd. I’ve got to think the cashier either made it up out of whole cloth, or misunderstood some other change-related policy. I’ve paid with change at plenty of places – including a Michaels – and never once had a cashier be anything but pleased to be able to replenish the coins slots in the drawer without having to find a manager.

  50. PrestonBluebird says:

    if you want to sell it you’ll take the change! if you want return business you’ll take the chane. i worked in a car dealership and a elderly man purchased a Grand Marquis, when he arrived with his payment it turned out to be a truck bed filled with unrolled nickels! We Sold It!!!

  51. cwsterling says:

    the only thing that really gets me a little confused is when people give random change like 8 cents or what ever to make it so they get a quarter back, that will confuse me and I will have to rely on the register to get it back to me.

    • dweebster says:

      @cwsterling: I always try doing this – why fill up my pocket with your pennies if I can give you one penny? It would seem that those ridiculously automated registers can calculate the rounding up to the whole coin, but cashiers more often than not get flummoxed like a random character in Idiocracy.

      Usually it ends with them confusedly giving me back my offered change and then shorting me on the transaction, leading to a math lesson for me to be made whole.

      I can understand that the school math programs have been ravaged to appease our Republican overlords, but if you’re working a cashier job can’t you at least use it to better yourself in that area?!?

  52. I’m not surprised–just last week, a snippy teenaged clerk at my local Michaels told me I couldn’t buy a picture frame unless I disclosed my zip code.

    Mind you, this was a $4 item, I was paying in cash–and I’ve been a victim of identity theft. I NEVER disclose personal information on request like this, no matter how innocuous. I want to discourage retailers from keeping a database of any kind on my sales, so I pay cash and refuse to give phone numbers, zip codes or any other information.

    Clerk asked for zip code, I told her, “I don’t disclose personal information”, and she replied, “Then I’m not allowed to sell you anything.”

    Of course, there were about 8 customers in line behind me, so the moment got very amplified by the onlookers. “WHAT?” I asked, waving my four dollar bills, “I’m paying cash and you can’t sell me my item without a zip code?”

    “I can’t complete this sale without a zip code,” she repeated, with rolled eyes, heavy sigh and a chip on her shoulder.

    So I rolled my eyes back and told a LOUD and OBVIOUS lie: “Fine. 1-2-3-4-5!”

    “Good one,” said the woman right behind me.

    I didn’t stay around, but I don’t imagine Miss Michaels Snip-ette got a real entry out of any of the onlookers. The whole line was shaking heads and muttering.

    • Ajh says:

      @organizedhome: Most cashiers I know just put the store zip code in when you say no…o.O What is with people these days?

    • azntg says:

      @organizedhome: Hey! You could conceivably be from Schenectady, NY :-P

    • homerjay says:

      @organizedhome: I have the same combination on my luggage! :)

    • johnnya2 says:

      @organizedhome: I had a similar incident at a bank. I was involved in a dispute with a former roommate who owed me money. He mailed me a check, so I went directly to his bank to cash it, and make sure it was good. I went in, and gave a thumb print, my drivers license number, and then they asked for my phone number. I told them I did not feel comfortable giving that number to them since they were writing it on the check. I told them their customer could easily see the DL number AND my phone number and to avoid crank calls and identity theft did not think that was needed information. She said, they do not use it for marketing and would never call me, blah blah blah. So I said my number was 734-999-9999. I went round and round with the teller, and made a huge scene in the bank during a busy Friday afternoon. I then called the VP of the area, and actually have changed their policy about people cashing checks in their banks. I happened to mention that I would not be able to accept checks from any more of their customers until the issue was resolved.

  53. TechnoDestructo says:

    When I pay with large amounts of change, I group it into easily-countable stacks. Usually 5 coins each, except for quarters. Just looking at it, someone should know how much is there.

    One time, I was buying about 10 bucks worth of groceries with change. As I was waiting in line, I put all my coins on the conveyor, grouped so as to be obvious how much was there.

    When my stuff got to the cashier, she rang up my items, then grabbed up all the coins, mixing them all up, and she started counting them out one at a time herself.

  54. wjmorris3 says:

    I suspect that Michaels’ policy is more along the lines of not accepting rolled change, rather than not accepting change at all. I know this to be the policy at the grocery store at which I work, because just because a roll says $10 on it doesn’t mean there’s actually $10 in quarters in it – an unscrupulous person could short the roll.

    That said, I do agree that an excessive amount of change could be refused by a legitimate business. I have had customers who have decided to pay for their $93.50 order with 370 quarters and a $100 bill, and then got peeved when I accepted the $100 bill as full payment for the order (she insisted that I had to accept the quarters first, and then apply the $100 bill to the rest of the order.)

  55. fonfa says:

    i’m from brazil and i used to work as a waiter in usa. we got a lot of people from all over the world, and sometimes they would pay like $25 in change, sometimes leaving no tip at all. and i didn’t get mad, i can understand that. maybe us latins are not as bitter as you guys in the northern hemisphere are :)

  56. Ajh says:

    They accept change. One of my closest friends works in michaels. She’s the cash office person and during the week is a cashier. She thought I was crazy for asking even. Shame on that lazy cashier.

  57. kathyl says:

    Wow, when I worked retail back in college, I think I would have done a dance if someone brought in a bunch of quarters. Between employees putting in dollar bills and taking out quarters so they could do their laundry and handing quarters out for change to customers all the time, we ran short on quarters during nearly every shift I ever worked.

    Until you’ve been sent with a twenty or two to go begging at the other stores near you for rolls of quarters (only to have them roll their eyes and show you their own nearly-empty quarter trays) you wouldn’t know exactly how much of a head-scratcher this was.

    (I’m with the people betting that the cashier was making it up because she didn’t feel like counting out the “extra” change, either right then for the purchase or at the end of her shift when she needed to balance her drawer. Never mind that it was just a handful of quarters.)

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      @kathyl: I used to work in a coffee bar and a large cup of coffee — our most popular item — came to $1.52 after taxes. It was common for us to run out of change no matter how much we increased the percentage of change in the till at the start of the day and people giving us quarters or pennies was cause for celebration, especially on busy days when we couldn’t go beg a shop next door for change.

  58. HPCommando says:

    Federal law says any person or business may refuse more than 25 pennies or nickels as payment, or may refuse cash payment altogether.

    I got this in my years as a paper carrier from a bank, when customers would try and dump their coin jars on me to pay their bills.

    Technically, the same law does not require coins to be rolled, but for convenience to all, only banks are allowed to ignore that technicality because a failure to do so would cause efficiency issues…go figure.

    I also ran into an exception on this when a local idiot decided to pay his eight hundred dollar fine in pennies and nickles.

    The judge used the same Federal law on him, and used it to threaten the guy with contempt of court if he didn’t return in four hours with real cash. Local news covered him as he tried to scramble for coin rolls, since the bank wouldn’t take it in exchange until it was counted and rolled. He ended up only being able to roll up about three hundred before his mom came over with the rest in fifty dollar bills.

  59. DrJimmy says:

    Disappointing behavior by Micheals’ checkers, but not surprising in today’s retail world. Increasingly, my students can’t read an analog clock to tell the time. Who’s to blame? We are.

  60. OdellFazniah says:

    This is a common misunderstanding of the term “legal tender”. If a currency is legal tender, it cannot be refused when SETTLING A DEBT. It *can* be refused for any reason when not settling a debt. This is why Nintendo/Microsoft can force you into their Wii/Microsoft points scheme.

  61. ShariC says:

    Regarding the video, it’s interesting how the viewpoint of the Americans is that they’ve carried out some sort of impish prank and the waitresses didn’t blink. The viewpoint of the waitresses is very likely quite different. They probably thought one of several things (and not that they were being playfully pranked). They likely thought the Americans didn’t have enough Japanese currency to pay for the meal or were scrounging for enough money period to pay.

    The restaurant, by the way, is Curry House Cocoichibanya. It’s a huge chain which has restaurants all over Japan, in Hawaii in the U.S., and China (possibly other locations around the world). They sell big greasy plates of curry topped with a variety of things from eggplant to cheese to fried meat with sides of white rice and Japanese pickles. It’s very bad for you, but quite the guilty treat. The Japanese love it and I’ve seen tiny people eat astonishing quantities at those places.

  62. CRSpartan01 says:

    Aren’t there legal ramifications for that? After all, it is legal tender no matter what the form.

  63. QrazyQat says:

    Federal law says any person or business may refuse more than 25 pennies or nickels as payment, or may refuse cash payment altogether.

    Wrong, according to Snopes and the US Treasury. And BTW, a poster above you already cut and pasted this info from Snopes. So whoever told you that was wrong. As for the judge story, that could be, since judges have a lot of latitude about what they do and some abuse it. For instance, King County Superior Court Judge Jeanette Burrage ordered female lawyers in her courtroom to wear skirts rather than tailored pantsuits — stupid, probably not legal, but some judges do dumb things like that, perhaps because they enjoy the opportunity to be petty tyrants. It doesn’t make what they do law.

  64. TrixMelampus says:

    That is kind of a jerk move, regardless of policy.
    Ten minutes to closing time at Circuit City, guy denies every form of upsell that we offer and then proceeds to purchase the cheapest laptop (at $500) in DOLLAR BILLS.
    Now, I could have denied him based upon the fact that we’re losing money on this sale and use the dollar bills as an excuse, but, heck, I’d be equally pissed off to be denied.

  65. DanLar75 says:

    Oh damn! Situations like this I damned the fact that was not in the store to get that punk fired on the spot!

  66. DanLar75 says:

    $20 to the kid and walking papers for the little cashier kid. Fuck that!

  67. captainproton says:

    This is an issue of a bad employee not wanting to count up to 16, not store policy. The store policy undoubtedly was to prevent someone from coming in with 3000 pennies, not a few quarters.

  68. DarceyFaloogin says:

    Federal Reserve Notes are legal tender for all DEBTS, public and private.

    Money means nothing in a barter session. The store can ask for payment in pigeon poop and refuse all money for items.

  69. Roclawzi says:

    Years back I went into Sam Goody to buy a CD and I had rolls of quarters. I had won $300 playing Keno, which was/is a state lottery game in MD, and the shop I won in didn’t have enough cash so I got 180 singles, 5 20’s, and 2 bank rolls of quarters. The cashier told me they can’t accept rolled quarters, so I broke them open right there and started counting them out, to which she interrupted me and said “I’ll count that out for you” and proceeded to count it all out without complaint, all the way to exchanging the excess quarters for dollar bills. I left the 3 bucks and change leftover from my purchase on the counter for her to keep, telling her “I can’t believe you did that. I would have been pissed if someone did that to me”

  70. Rem888 says:

    Legally, Federal currency must be accepted “for all debts, public and private.” If you want to pay for an $2.00 snack with a $100 dollar bill or if you want to pay for a $4 plaque with quarters, the business must accept it. However, they are not required to give you change.

  71. Alexei says:

    I travel a lot in South America, and the opposite problem (change isn’t available) is frequently an obstacle in day to day transactions. Everyone is happy to get their hands on the smallest change available.

    Want to buy a soda in Peru? If you try to pay with a 20 sol bill, the equivalent of about $7, you will frequently be turned away because the vendor doesn’t have change. And just don’t get in a taxi unless you have exact change. Most small businesses and some large ones won’t accept bills of 50 soles ($16) or larger. This is an incredible drag on the economy, discouraging countless sales each day.

    I’ve often wondered if this chronic change shortage is because the small denominations of money aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, so the central bank doesn’t print enough. The other reason is that small business owners don’t have the capital to fill a change drawer.

  72. yeahhtrue says:

    As somebody who works in retail, this isn’t necessarily BS. I know that in my store if somebody tries to pay with a large amount of change, we can refuse them, rolled or not. For $16 in quarters, I wouldn’t have complained. I think the lady should have just counted them out. If it was anything worse though, I probably wouldn’t accept it..we’re a retail store after all, not a bank.

  73. MargaretMagoon says:

    I work at a Michaels & that is total BS. There is no such policy. Michaels is king of mindnumbingly stupid corporate BS. There are new rules and policies every week (no exaggeration), many that contradict each other. I’ve learned that asking why only leads to more frustration, not that it stops me, because the managers are clueless. They just do what they’re told and I think a lot of the time they get confused with what the new pointless rule is and come up with their own rule that makes about the same amount of sense. I also wonder how they dress themselves in the morning because they are very clearly mentally challenged. Every last one of them. Oh god how I hate retail…someone please kill me.

  74. digitalgimpus says:

    Duane Reade did something like that to the person in front of me once… they said bills only.

    So he decided to buy elsewhere, left the item on the counter and walked out… the cashier yelled at him that it was illegal to “cancel a purchase” in NYC. She called her manager who came out and they discussed calling the police.

    I laughed. I’m virtually positive he didn’t commit a crime. I think Duane Reade just has low hiring standards.

    I contemplated grabbing some change out of my bag and paying like that too, but I didn’t really have the time to deal with the stupidity that would follow.

    • clickable says:

      @bsalamon: LOL! I noticed that too, especially the two-metal one that looks like a 10-sheqel coin, and at least one that looks like a 5- or 10-agora piece (talk about worthless). But it does look like there are some quarters there, so maybe it’s a mix of coins and some kind of tokens or something.

  75. UniComp says:

    Some people would really try to abuse the whole “paying in change” thing, and while rare, it really does waste a lot of people’s time when you roll in with change. It’s just common courtesy. I’d say unless you have all quarters, don’t try to buy anything over $5. If you have mostly nickels, dimes and quarters, don’t buy anything over $1

  76. weedpindle says:

    My wife works in a Michaels and they take change, any amount and are damm glad to do it.

  77. attercob says:

    The cashier was being a tool. She was too lazy to count, but all you have to do is make a fuss and the kid would have been fine. Why to people continually *let* themselves be taken advantage of then waste time posting about it here. Sometimes people really are being taken advantage of and this website is good, but stuff like this post is just lame.

  78. FedericoMagooin says:

    I am with this guy…

    In most civilised places (Europe, UK, Australia, NZ) They have done away with the $1 note equivalent and replaced it with longer lasting coins. Also NZ has gone further and got rid of 1c, 2c and now even 5c coins, it really cuts down on the shrapnel in your pocket. Most of your purchases are electronic anyway, and these can still be done at the precise amount, everything else is rounded.

  79. ottawa_guy says:

    Yep, the toonie has a polar bear on the front of it and a picture of the queen on the back.

    loonies roll to $25.00 a roll
    toonies roll to $50.00 a roll

    Seriously, people, if you want to pay by coin, be nice to the cashier if it’s a large amount, and go to your bank.

    If it’s a few bucks like in this case, just take the change. I would drool for quarters, loonies and toonies when I worked retail.

  80. bsalamon says:

    anybody else notice that the picture is not legal US Tender….it looks like Israeli shekels

  81. OttoTalos says:

    As an employee of a convenience store/gas station, I look at it this way: we always need change. It costs us money to go to the bank and get change, so I don’t mind taking reasonable amounts of change. Four dollars in quarters is a reasonable amount of change. $40 in rolled quarters is reasonable change.

    Plopping down a Tim Horton’s back full of unsorted, miscellaneous change to pay for a purchase, however, is not reasonable. I don’t have time to count that all out, I have a line of customers to the back of the store. Especially if you’re not buying anything.

  82. autoclavicle says:

    I worked for Michael’s during 2006, and I’ve never heard this.

  83. dweebster says:

    An idiot cashier can cause inconvenience even if you try paying with good old legal tender bills:


    ..and the police seem to be just as stupid nowadays, makeing Barney Fife look like a Rhodes Scholar by comparison.

    “Rodis, an immigration attorney and a leader in the city’s Filipino American community, was arrested after trying to buy $42.62 worth of medication at a Walgreens store on Ocean Avenue near his home. He gave the clerk a $100 bill that, because it had been printed in 1985, lacked the watermark or magnetic strip installed as an anti-counterfeit safeguard in 1990.”

  84. dcparisian says:

    I work in a retail store that caters mostly to the 5-17 age range. You wouldn’t believe how many $18+ transactions I’ve had to handle completely in change. Never a problem though, we tend to run low on change most days and if we have too many of something, we just roll it and throw it into the deposit. Not hard at all.

  85. I too, had a hard time swallowing what HomerJay, Et al, had said about it being legal to ‘refuse’ coinage.

    But when you look it up on Snopes (as we’ve been asked to accept as truth), it comes up as FALSE…yet it’s ALSO TRUE!

    It depends on what you’re asking.

    Snopes lists the claim;

    “U.S. law specifies that merchants do not have to accept more than one hundred pennies in payment”

    as FALSE.

    However, it gets tricky from there.

    Restated, the claim would be more like this;

    “there is NO Federal law mandating a merchant accept coins as payment”

    THIS statement is TRUE.

    Sourcing as follows:


    Basically, though U.S. coins and currency ARE legal tender for “…all debts, public and private” as printed on our Federal Treasury Notes
    (aka: dollars to most of you),
    there is (according to Snopes), NO FEDERAL LAW that says any person or organization MUST ACCEPT said currency or coins as payment for goods or services.

    THAT’s the loophole.

    The money the Treasury Department prints and strikes IS legal tender for the FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM.
    However, apparently (from what i’m reading on the other screen as i write this), merchants (retailers) do not necessarily have to accept it for all forms of business transactions.


    On the face of it, i would challenge Michael’s store policy as being out of step with US law too. However, from what i’m finding on the ‘net…this is completely up to them.
    Of course, i too, believe it’s not a GOOD policy at all.

    Considering we’ve been off the Gold Standard for decades…wonder if the barter system will find a bigger foothold in our country/society as more people opt out of the Federal system.

    = = =

    Side note:

    i remember a couple of years back, reading an article that mentioned the state of Nevada was considering striking their OWN state currency.

    Wonder if they went throught with it. and if so, how that’s working for them.

    = = =

    Wait til those turds @ Circuit City and other stores catch wind of this – they’ll cause even MORE havoc when trying we’re trying to buy something

    (though i must say, i haven’t had a single problem with places like Circuit City or Best Buy – maybe i’m not doing enough business with them for them to bother).

    We’re all better off switching to Gold. It’s the REAL currency of the land
    (tho, admitedly, it’s a BITCH trying to buy a DVD or a night out to dinner with a pinch of gold).

  86. SaulCrispus says:

    As a cashier and office assistant at Michaels, I can safely say that ther is NO policy WHATSOEVER in regards to change. If it is legal tender, we accept it. Especially in the case of coins and Sundays.

    My advice to the guy that had this issue is to call the store, speak with the manager, and express his displeasure at being embarassed in front of other customers by the cashier.

  87. ageshin says:

    I’m sorry but coins are leagl tender, and as such are good for paying for goods and services. I might suggest that we have grown to used to the credit-debt card world. Many stores are short of pennies and like it if you use pennies for change. The idea that one would pay for a $10 item in pennies is not a good argument as almost no one would du it. With the banks going kaput right and left, and the credit crunch coming soon to your local bank, I think that stores should get used to old fasion currency.

  88. jenjen says:

    Pretty stupid behavior on the part of that cashier. We have a sort of mini junk-food store at my workplace and we make periodic Costco runs with cash from the previous month’s sales. Last time we were in there we spent around $200 almost all in $1 bills and rolls of quarters – NO problems, they brought over another cashier to help verify our counted bundles, smiles and thank yous. It wasn’t a super-busy time of day, but they handled it quickly and got us on our way. Obviously they know what’s important at the end of the day: THE MONEY.

  89. GretaThyestes says:

    The original question asked about what would happen in Canada, and this is what I am replying to.

    Pennies do NOT have to be accepted as payment in Canada in all transactions. The Currency Act (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/C-52/bo-ga:l_I-gb:s_8//en) clearly states that in a transaction greater than 25 cents pennies are not considered legal tender.

  90. YES, ageshin they ARE legal tender(since the Coinage Act of 1965), yet THAT really isn’t the real issue.

    The REAL issue is that – from what i’ve been able to find in the past couple of hours – there is NO FEDERAL LAW that MANDATES a person / organization / merchant ACCEPT them.

    Here is something else to consider (straight from the Dept. of the US Treasury’s website:

    “Federal Reserve notes are not redeemable in gold, silver or any other commodity, and receive no backing by anything This has been the case since 1933. The notes have no value for themselves, but for what they will buy.
    In another sense, because they are legal tender, Federal Reserve notes are “backed” by all the goods and services in the economy.”


    (now doesn’t THAT put your mind at ease, considering our nations current economic situation?)

    ON THAT SAME FAQ PAGE of the US Treasury is this – which should help put this issue to rest (though cause other problems and questions):


    I thought that United States currency was legal tender for all debts. Some businesses or governmental agencies say that they will only accept checks, money orders or credit cards as payment, and others will only accept currency notes in denominations of $20 or smaller. Isn’t this illegal?


    …There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services.

    Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise.
    For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills.
    In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.”

    = = = =
    Straight from the good folks at your US Treasury Department.

  91. LouisaTrigeminus says:

    Oh well, another store missing out on another sale. You have to be monumentally stupid as a business to reject any sale that comes your way. Yes, it may be a pain to count out $50 in pennies, but that’s still $50 you didn’t have before you started counting. Also the idea of limiting the denomination of bill that a store will accept is also insane. If I have a $100 bill why shouldn’t the store accept it? I use the equivalent-size bill all the time in the country where I live. I use them at the convenience store, at fast-food places, at the game arcade and never had a problem. I guess US businesses just aren’t really interested in making money wherever they can.

    • onestrawplz says:

      @LouisaTrigeminus: well to be fair, a lot of places that refuse to except large bills are places such as gas stations and convenience stores which are often targets for robbery. if they refuse to take anything higher than, say a $20, (and advertise that they keep very little cash on hand) they’re helping to protect their employees…

    • Tysto says:

      @LouisaTrigeminus: If someone buys a $1.50 soda with a $100 bill, the cashier may have to clean out the drawer to provide the change. This is especially true if the store has a policy of not keeping large amounts of cash available to the cashier for fear of robbery (internal or external).

  92. yagisencho says:

    The ‘Customer Service’ desk attendant at a local mall begrudgling accepted payment in a roll of dimes, but only after I pressed her on it. She looked at me like I’d asked her to recite the names of the 50 states, in the order of their admittance to the union.

    Some people just bregrudge having to do anything for anyone.

  93. tmweber says:

    I had a friend pay for his first semester of college in bags of Sacajawea dollar coins. Spent the entire summer cashing his paychecks by clearing out banks of their entire Sacajawea stash.

  94. @jopari:
    These are rolls straight from the mint, $1 Presidential coins. $25 per roll.

    I offered to bust open the rolls at ratshack, I was the only person in store (and was for the entire duration I wasi n the store).

  95. Squeezer99 says:

    reminds me of when i delivered pizza back in 2004. this guy lived almost litterally next door to Domino’s. they’d have parties at his house several nights a week, and I think the entry fee was just whatever change you had in your pockets/car, because they’d always order pizza and pay in change, and I mean $35 in change. one day I got the order to deliver, and of course got paid in all change. when I walked out of there I was jingling, lol. the only reason I wasn’t mad is because we made $1 per delivery and since it was almost right next door to domino’s it was like getting $1 for free since you used almost no gas.

  96. Roclawzi says:

    This is totally going to screw up my christmas shopping. I’m going to have to go hit up coinstar after I steal the Salvation army buckets from Santa.

  97. floyderdc says:

    This is sadly because people did not think for themselves anymore. This store might have some sort of change policy. (Although I highly doubt that it is a sold across the board no change at all policy). The cashier was told the policy and just accepts it, no questions asked. This is a major problem in this country is that people in the corporate world from the board room to the guy cleaning floors just follow policy in lock step with questioning anything. If she was told no rolled coins, no excessive coins, or whatever she just misunderstood and then BLAM no coins ever!

    Off topic but as to the poster who did not want to give her zip-code. I do not understand you reasoning but I agree you should not have to give a zip code to make a purchase. This is for marketing purposes maily, so let all of us consumerist readers untie! Start giving 99672 (Nome AK). Let all the bosses think they needed to rush to Nome because of the huge demand up there.

  98. Human947 says:

    Yes the image of coins is not US coins. I think they are
    Canadian coins i see a maple leaf on one of them. This is not the first time the posters in here have added or used images or words not in the linked story or post

  99. Vegconsumer says:

    Only $4 and in QUARTERS? That’s the most polite situation of paying in change I have ever heard of. You’d think it was $20 in pennies by the response the person got. Big deal! They should have taken it.

    As a server, I would be a little ticked if someone paid for their meal in change..but I’d rather have decent tippers tipping with change than crappy tippers tipping on a credit card.

  100. Zooph says:


    Other than wheat backs, it looks like the weights of the coins has remained constant.

  101. VidurMink says:

    Good point. If he had enough time and patience, he should buy one item (less than a dollar) using his quarters… Do that 4 times… Then return all the items getting store credit or cash ( he doesn’t accept change because it is so hard to spend…Ha HA)… Then use that money or credit toget his real purchase. When finished… ask do you think your policy makes sense now?

  102. Torley says:

    This isn’t change we can believe in.

  103. miryam says:

    I have paid for things entirely in change at Michael’s before with no problems. Perhaps the cashier misunderstood a “no rolled coins” policy (I’ve seen people fill a dimes roll with pennies and put a dime at either end to make it look legit) or maybe the cashier did not want to count quarters.

    I have to say that every checkout experience I’ve had at any Michael’s store has taken much much longer than any checkout anywhere else- even if it’s just one item and I’m paying with a card.

  104. photoartist says:

    It’s true, most cashiers today are uneducated idiots. I was a cashier as a 16 year old. I worked at a news stand and we had one of those old fashioned mechanical cash registers which were little more than adding machines. They didn’t calculate change.

    That was the job of the cashier. I was taught a little trick that ALL cashiers should still know to this day. It’s called COUNTING FORWARD. There is no real math involved at all. It’s simply counting forward from whatever the total is to the amount given by the customer.

    It’s so simple a fucking monkey could do it! Unfortunately most cashiers today are dumber than monkeys. Instead they rely absolutely on the register to think for them. God help us all.

  105. MyrtlePriapus says:

    I work at Michaels, and at a Southern California store. I work as a cashier sometimes, and I do take change as a payment. I will see what I can do and look for the “policy.”

    I think you probably got a really frustrated employee. I’m kind of new at the store I work at, and to be completely honest… I’m not getting the greatest training. I think this might be the case at the Hemet store.

    You don’t deserve the treatment you got. I hope someone from corporate reads this and enforce mandatory training for new employees. It should be that way everywhere.

  106. GTB says:

    Having been a former red-apron register jockey years ago, i can tell you that at least THEN it was not store policy. This, I think, should be obvious.

    What Michael’s DOES have is an absolutely retarded system called “1 + 1” which states that at any given time, there should only be 1 person currently being totaled at the register, and 1 person waiting in line. This would be great except they also only schedule the bare minimum of cashiers to get by (also policy, in order to save money). The registers are actually set up to keep track of how fast people are going, and if they go don’t go fast enough, both the cashier and the manager-on-duty take a hit from corporate. Of course what this all means is that you quit accepting change. Obviously. Obvious to everyone but Michael’s Corporate.

  107. HClay says:

    Speaking as a twice-former cashier (Once for an unfortunate 6 months of my life at Staples, which I’ll never get back *shudder*), I’m a bit perplexed… usually cashiers are hard up for quarters.

  108. JoshReflek says:

    @xip: Most places are happy to accept coins, within reason.
    Make sure you’re the only person in line, or that they have multiple cashiers if you must pay with excessive coins.
    I’m not *reccommending* paying in all pennies as a habit, but if that is all you have, a grocery store is not going to turn you away.
    Be reasonable with your mad sack of coins, go to their customer service desk and count it out with a manager and just ask to get paper bills before you shop if it’s a rushed time of day.

    Back to the original article, the cashier said “It’s story policy not to accept change.”
    Is there change in their register?
    Perhaps she misunderstands the ‘policy’ of not taking *excessive* amounts of change to mean that they never take any, or is following it precisely, but wording her rejection poorly.

  109. econobiker says:

    Why don’t the self server checkout counters have coin dump bowls instead of small slots??? These have change dump bowls…

    Coinstar, et al, of course

  110. Ninjanice says:

    How ironic is it that the last time I went to Michael’s, I asked if the cashier could give me 4 quarters fo a dollar and she couldn’t? I didn’t plan on going back to Michael’s anyhow. Too many old ladies with carts full of millions of tiny things. Then they want to talk about what craft they are doing with each item, asking the cashier’s opinion, etc. You go in to buy 1 or 2 items and it takes an eternity.

  111. QadirSteinbeck says:

    Having worked in retail, I can tell you that you can refuse change. Granted, common sense actually can come into play, but according to ‘accepting cash’ you are only REQUIRED to accept change UP TO the next bill. Which means, if you buy a $100 something, a retailer does not have to accept 100, $1 bills. They can force you to pay in larger tender. So, if you buy a $4 plaque, the retailer CAN refuse change totaling over $1 IF THEY CHOOSE.

    Not only is counting large amounts of change annoying, and time consuming to make sure you are paid the right amount, but you then have to re-count it a second time to make sure you didn’t screw up the first, all AGAIN when closing down your drawer, and then ONCE MORE when doing the daily totals, and A FIFTH TIME when making a bank deposit. Would you want to count $4 in change five different times? In one day??

    I think not!

  112. bagumpity says:

    Yikes! Over 100 comments, and I’m stupid enough to want to add mine. Store policy like this is due to the fact that most cashiers are assumed to have only minimal ability to count and add. Over time, this can add up to large variances in what’s in the till versus what’s on the ticker paper. While it’s not unusual to have a few dollars variance, anything over $20 is a red flag (the person is intentionally shorting either the business, the employer, or both with the intention of taking home some unearned cash).

    I’ve even seen places where certain cashiers are not allowed to give out quarters or nickels or even fives or twenties. If they can count, they can use the digits on the display to know how much to give out (i.e. $27.33 is two ten-dollar bills, seven one-dollar bills, three dimes, and three pennies).

    Sounds stupid, but when you’re dealing with a workforce that has real limitations, you need to find ways to overcome the liabilities those limitations impose. In some cases, training just won’t work. (And smart people won’t take those jobs, so hiring smarter employees isn’t an option)

  113. LouisaTrigeminus says:

    LouisaTrigeminus here:
    That’s another thing people don’t have to worry about much here, thieves. I cannot understand why the US tolerates crime and violence as much as it does. It must be a cultural thing.

  114. LouisaTrigeminus says:


    There are cash registers that count and deliver the change automatically. It might be in the best interest of some stores to implement these machines in order to eliminate overchanges.

  115. Tankueray says:

    What time was this? Perhaps the cashier had already counted down her drawer for change and didn’t want the extra quarters messing up her count? The drawer shouldn’t be counted down until after the last transaction, but it happens.

    And my grandma fires people if they don’t count back change. My first boss did that too.

  116. HermanSura says:

    i started to do a news story on this matter b/c i love to bust corporate america when these things happen … BUT does anyone out there know hayden’s last name or how to reach her? i can’t find her. i called michael’s corporate for threir take … the hemet store manager doesn’t remember any such incident and the communications dept. says they have NO SUCH POLICY to not accept change. if anyone can shed light on any of this pls feel free to write me at

  117. clickable says:

    Maybe the cashier was feeling crabby, saw that OP was the perfect target for her irritability, and decided to try to ruin his day too by being nasty to him. I wonder if she would have said the same to someone who would clearly have challenged her, say, another crotchety old broad *points to self*. I would definitely have taken it to the manager and if it turns out that it was an “official” policy, which I doubt, by the time I left the store they would regret they ever drafted it.

    Four dollars in quarters is not an inconvenience anywhere, for heaven’s sake.

  118. JeromeAristodemus says:

    i used to work as a Michaels Front End Supervisor.. let me tell you THAT POLICY is not true. That girl was being very lazy. Now if he was paying with a $50 or a $100 yeah a different story. She could take the $4 in change. I had customers pay in change and ive never made a deal about it. If they are willing to count out the change then it makes it easier if not, she needed to suck it up and take the money.

  119. StewartMachaon says:

    I used to work for Michaels in California and this was NOT a store policy. Unless its changed within the last ten months, I think this was just a bitchy cashier. Any manager would have taken the quarters and have been done with it.

  120. Anonymous says:

    I work at Michaels, in Northern Michigan. And I have to say that you shouldn’t blame an entire corporation on what one Cashier did. I tell people all the time that I like it when they pay in quarters, because it saves me from getting change when we’re busy, and holding up a line. I’ve never heard of anyone refusing someone’s money, even when old ladies pay me in pennies and dimes.

    But I’ve been there for two years just about, and I HAVE seen a lot of cashiers who haven’t been there long, and are too stupid or lazy to do their job. They’ve refused Jo Ann coupons, which we take, they’ve told someone we can’t return things that we can, blah blah blah. And it reflects bad on the store as a whole.

    I’m not saying you should always blame the cashier, because in some cases it isn’t our fault. Like when people blow up at us for not being able to take all 10 of their coupons at once. But use your head about what’s logical and what’s not, and ask to see a manager. I feel bad for the little boy, and anyone who won’t shop there any more because they heard this story.