Learn How to Make Change
September 18, 2003 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Learn How to Make Change. Having never had to work retail and wanting to learn bartending, I found the FunBrain Change Maker to be a useful game where the player calculates the change given for a money purchase.
posted by johnnydark (18 comments total)
I still think this one was better.
posted by zekinskia at 10:02 AM on September 18, 2003

For some reason the Canadian version has a 50 cent piece, which you would never find in a Canadian cash register.
posted by teg at 10:04 AM on September 18, 2003

Yeah, I had the same problem, I blew the first one because I thought it was an example, and didn't notice the actual problem at the top, and the second one, because I assumed the coin next to the loonie was the quarter.

The other problem I have with this, is that all the offered amounts are even dollars. Many people will give you 20.03 or something, to limit the number of pennies they get back. It makes making change both easier and harder at the same time.

I worked cash for a number of years, and always had a little bit of pride in my ability to make change, keep a neat cash drawer and balance out at the end of a shift. I can't tell you how annoyed I was when the new Canadian bills came out with the heads on the wrong end of the bills. I hadn't even been a cashier for years at that point, but I was irritated on behalf of all the people who still were.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:25 AM on September 18, 2003

I worked retail back in high school and I was amused the several times I encountered the big bill scam artists who preyed on people's inability to keep track of money and make change properly.

They'd pay with a big bill and several small bills, ask for one of the small ones back, replace it with a big one, ask for the big ones back replace them with an incorrect number of small ones and so forth, and then claim that they were still owed money back. This trick apparently works against a large percentage of retailers, though whenever it happened to me it just resulted in my calling security to have them supervise as I counted the drawer to make sure I was correct in refusing the extra change (while, presumably, somebody was reviewing the videotape of what I did, to make sure I wasn't the crook).

The most annoying part of this scam is that the scam artists were never arrested, as they'd just claim that they really didn't mean to do it and they'd leave with no punishment beyond the knowledge that they couldn't scam in that store anymore.
posted by mosch at 10:36 AM on September 18, 2003

If they're including the 50 cent piece, where's the 20 cent and and 5 dollar pieces?

What about half pennies?
posted by shepd at 10:37 AM on September 18, 2003

When I was probably 10 or so (1978) I went for a job "interview" as a delivery boy for a local grocer. He only asked me one question: "How do you make change?" And he gave me the example of a purchase that was $3.25 and the person gave me a $5 bill. I said "From 5. Three seventy five," handed him the 3 quarters, "four," handed him the single, "and five." I got the job. I'd learned that way of making change from watching old movies.

I assume kids these days don't watch old movies because most cashiers are dumb as paint when it comes to tending cash.

I've given someone, say, a $10 bill. However, they inadvertently have punched in $100 or even $1000 as the amount tendered. More than once I've watched a dumbfounded cashier stare at the machine that's "telling" them to give me $90 or $990 more than I should be getting. I'm always amazed when they ask... "So, am I supposed to give you this amount?"
posted by dobbs at 11:03 AM on September 18, 2003

My dad taught me how to count change when I was 14, and wouldn't let me apply for any jobs until I could do it correctly. I found it frustrating at first, learning how to count change backwards, but am glad today that I still can do it - since I have to work retail during summers, and there are times the cash registers at my summer job just don't do the trick, as mosch and dobbs noted.
posted by Lynsey at 11:07 AM on September 18, 2003

Neat, but they don't tell you how to avoid the flim-flam.
posted by TedW at 11:13 AM on September 18, 2003

This doesnt teach you an *efficient* way to make change.

As long as the numbers add up, it counts you as correct.
Amount of sale: $96.06. Amount paid: $100.
Here you go, 394 pennies! Have a nice day. :)
posted by jozxyqk at 11:15 AM on September 18, 2003

I still remember my first "job" where the register/till told me how much change to give/make. Within a few weeks I was completely dependent on the machine, even after having made change "manually" in my head for several years prior at other jobs. I find the same effect with calculators. If a calculator is around, I am more likely to use it to do simple equations that I could easily do in my head. It's like my brain is lazy and doesn't trust itself. Damn technology.
posted by shoepal at 11:36 AM on September 18, 2003

Play that game for 8 straight hours and every now and then have some one complain to you about something, and you will have a pretty good approximation of what it is like to work retail or fast food.

When I used to work cash registers, I would get so bored I would try to come up with games to make it more interesting. For instance, I would try to make change left-handed for an entire day. Boy, that would make the time fly by.
posted by trigfunctions at 12:06 PM on September 18, 2003

This is nothing. I wish drawers were all cash today. Try balancing out a drawer with six different types of tenders, two of which are off. I once had a cashier fuck up his store credit/credit card numbers so badly that it took about an hour of forensic work to figure out just what the hell he did.

Thanks, Metafilter, for dredging up terrible memories of working retail.
posted by mmcg at 12:07 PM on September 18, 2003

trigfunctions - dammit, i pity you!
posted by triv at 12:17 PM on September 18, 2003

I always give too much change. That way they'd take me off the register and let me tend the espresso machine. yeay!
posted by dabitch at 12:28 PM on September 18, 2003

"So, am I supposed to give you this amount?"

That's when you calmly look them in the eye and say, without a single trace of remorse, "Yes. Yes, you are."
posted by webmutant at 3:55 PM on September 18, 2003

i just about fell over the other day when i handed a young lady in a gas/convenience store two $20 bills for a $32 purchase and she actually counted my change back - "33,34,35 and 5 makes 40", she said with complete confidence. made my day.
posted by quonsar at 4:36 PM on September 18, 2003

Wow, quonsar, it has been a while since I have heard that. Just like the old days when cashiers actually had to work out the change and counting up from the sale amount to the tendered amount was the best way to do it.
posted by dg at 5:42 PM on September 18, 2003

counting up from the sale amount to the tendered amount was the best way to do it.

it's the ONLY way to do it! screw mental subtraction! and someone giving you, say, $20.03 to avoid pennies doesn't complicate the process one little bit! on occasion, when the kids at [insert random fast food joint] go "here's yer change" while stuffing bills and coins into my hand in one clump, i'll stand there and count it back, out loud. and i take my time about it :-)
posted by quonsar at 7:06 PM on September 18, 2003

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