Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I have noticed recently how some popular fast food establishments tend to dump their excess coins at their customers. Just the other day, with a change of 49 pesos coming to me, the girl behind the counter gave me one 20 peso bill and the rest in loose change. Chow King is worse with handing me five pesos in 25-centavo coins.

What an arduous task it must be to manually count all those coins at the end of each business day; however, there is a machine that automatically does that. Now, why can't these establishments get one? This way, all those coins can be neatly bagged when deposited later on to their bank; no longer would their customers have to receive these coins in bulk as their change.

In another incident also at Jolibee's, though in a different branch, with 69 pesos due to me, I was given six ten-peso coins and the rest in single peso coins. When I voiced out my displeasure, the girl behind the counter claimed they ran out of twenty peso bills. At ten in the morning?

Just to test out my hunch that she was being untruthful -- plus I didn't want to walk out of that place like the boy who grabbed the most coins at a house blessing party -- I asked her to just cancel my order. She appeared astonished yet remained polite when she asked to be excused for a minute. After a brief huddle near the kitchen entryway with her manager and another store employee, she came back to the register and pulled out three twenty peso bills, a five peso coin, and four single peso coins to hand over to me along with her trademark Jolibee smile.

I am not one who despise carrying loose change; in fact, I don't leave the house without at least 30 pesos in five, ten and single peso coins. You see, out of courtesy, I wouldn't want to burden anyone with breaking my large bill for a small purchase -- like some jeepney passengers who'd nonchalantly pay a seven peso fare with a hundred peso bill.

However, on the other hand, I've come across some taxi drivers who would quickly claim to have no change at all, which would leave passengers, especially those with hurried schedule, without any other choice but to simply leave everything to the cab driver.

What's just as shabby are the management of establishments who would price their items without rounding off to the nearest peso -- P44.79 instead of simply P45.00, for example. Yet, at the checkout counter, their cashier wouldn't even blink an eye when announcing that she can only give you a five peso change for your fifty peso bill, because they have no 21 centavos in exact change. Most customers would just shrug off their shoulders, not minding being short-changed, but I thought short-changing customers is considered illegal.

Nonetheless, many times I'd come home with a handful of coins in my pocket without remembering how I've managed to accumulate so much loose change to begin with -- making me feel just like the kid who grabbed the most coins at a house blessing party.


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:44 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naku, speaking of shortchanging. What about the five centavos change from say, P99.95? Imagine how much it would all amount to at close of day over at SM. I guess store owners price their goods this way as a come on, or to deceive consumers that the goods actually cost less.

I briefly browsed on the Consumers Act, Eric, and unfortunately found no stipulations on shortchanging issue. However "Chapter III of Title V - Consumer Complaints" vests the right to complain on the consumers, which I believe is the best remedy we can avail of with regards to shortchanging. And the Department of Trade and Industry is the proper venue for such.

However I may have overlooked, so here's the link in case anyone is interested to follow up. :)

October 03, 2007 9:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

..."Chapter III of Title V - Consumer Complaints" vests the right to complain on the consumers,..."

I correct myself, Eric. I think I used the wrong phrase. Actually, the right to complain is not vested by any law or agency for that matter. It is an inherent right, in my opinion. hehe.

October 03, 2007 10:06 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And again, there is Article 19 of the Civil Code:

"Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith."

OMG, what's happening to me! Three comments in a row for this entry! haha.. Guess, I have to ban myself from your site for a while. :)

October 03, 2007 10:15 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks for the information, Rhoda. They are all greatly appreciated.

My sister Inday wouldn't blink an eye, either, whenever remarking to cash register clerks that short-changing customers is indeed, a crime. In response, they would themn give Inday 25 centavos for a 19 centavo change so as not to be in trouble with the law. Inday would then first ask them if these would come from their own pockets later on? Always, the clerks would say no -- that management is aware of their lack of exact loose change to make such change.

Now, why not just round off to the nearest peso? Perhaps, those accumulated uncollected small change do amount to a significant sum at the end in which proprietors do not have to have pay tax for.

Ang gulo! Lito na ako ... hehehe.

October 03, 2007 11:25 AM  

Blogger Android Eyes said... in Canada, they are thinking of eradicating the use of pennies (1 cent coins), a Freudian slip, hahah, there's a lot of it being circulated but only 10% of the population uses it (hmm, is that another Freudian slip?) I remember having 1 & 2 dollar bills, now those were replaced with a loonie (1 dollar coin) and a twonie (2 evidently), now thats about as big and as heavy as a 1 Peso coin, if they're still even around, imagine getting all ur change in them heavy coins?

October 03, 2007 12:36 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Lol ... aren't we full of Freudian slips today, eh, Romy?

Incidentally, an interesting read posted by BW, "The Rising Loonie"

Jeez ... a two dollar coin? I get confused enough by our teo peso bill.

Nonetheless, I feel bad for the guys in dress slacks with lots of coins in their pockets. I used to have a coin purse which I'd slip into my brief bag because it gets too heavy for my pant pocket.

October 03, 2007 1:07 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

To punish Jolibee you could pay all your future hamburgers with 1 peso coins! ;-)

I have a special little pocket in my jeans where I put some of my coins. I use this mostly to give something to the beggars and street kids. That way I don't have to take out my wallet.

October 03, 2007 6:18 PM  

Blogger INKBLOTS said...

I agree with Sidney! Masubukan nga! I have plenty of coins, and I even bought a small basket from Batanes where I could put them (although inuubos ng mga anak ko). Dapat 25 cents. If they complain, then we can always say, it is for their own benefit, because they always say they have run out of coins.

This reminds me of my recent trip to Simara Island in Romblon. I always get loose change (5 and 10 peso coins) for my 500 or 100 bills. last Sunday, I have a plastic bag-full of 10s and 5s! It is understandable though. The place is not that well off and the limited economic activities there would only require coins for your transactions. (Now it is my fault why there are no loose change after I bought some snack items.) I pay only P37 for my lunch (with softdrink pa yun ha, which costs P12.00--mahal!). But the poverty of the place is another story, of course.

October 03, 2007 9:58 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Put all your loose coins in a sock and use it as a weapon(swing it around like a Gladiator!) just like what Charles Bronson did on one of his "revenge" movies!

October 03, 2007 11:36 PM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

For the past two years, I'd been collecting coins in a small piggy bank for a scholarship fund-raising. It took me that long to fill it up since I also use coins in commuting. I returned the full and heavy piggy bank, hoping that it would amount to about P5000. However, months later I received a receipt that reported by donation as amounting to an embarrassing P1000 pesos only.

October 04, 2007 1:30 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ako rin, dami kong barya (peso coins) from my last vacation. i put it in my mom's balikbayan box couple months ago and the kids were happy with it. as my pamangkins said, nakabili raw sila ng madaming ice candy! hehehe =)

October 04, 2007 2:28 AM  

Blogger Android Eyes said...

By the way, what did u think about the book Shock Doctrine?... OMG a Eureka moment Sr. E... How about a Sr. E bookclub? Also, the Toronto Nuit Blanche, any 2 cents about it?

October 04, 2007 3:34 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I experienced that before where the cashier would give me a bunch of coins as a change. Even if I have a coin purse with me, I think it would really be an inconvenience considering its bulky and heavy.

What I did was I just told the registrar I'll just go back for a change later when they have notes already. And that is after I ate.

Nice still life by the way. Love the warm lighting and reflection.

October 04, 2007 8:31 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

as much as possible i pay jeepney drivers and especially taxi drivers the EXACT fare. some taxi drivers don't even care to give me back even a P5 change. i especially hate that when their meter is fast.. they don't deserve an extra 5 pesos from me, that's for sure! but if they drive ok and the meter is normal, i don't mind it at all.

with regards to those loose change, it's ok as long as it won't cost up to twenty pesos. i appreciate sm supermarkets as they give change down to the last centavo, thus i won't get asked the question "pwedeng kulang ng ...centavos?" coz for me every centavo counts (and besides, i need all those loose change for my exact fare! =))

October 04, 2007 9:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I carry loose change around too whenever I go out but like you said cashiers these days tend to give loose change more than often. Whenever I get shillings, I will just donate it into the charity box because it's very heavy to carry so many shillings in the pocket.


October 04, 2007 9:21 AM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

My bro-in-law actually argued with a cashier of SM after she proudly declared that "kulang ang sukli niya ng 15 centavos." He shot back by saying "Eh kung sampung libong 15 centavos ang hindi niyo binibigay, kaya pala ang yaman na ng SM!" In the end, she coughed up 25 centavos for my bro-in-law.

October 04, 2007 9:35 AM  

Blogger jon go said...

guilty! i meant me of course... but we sell meat and it all depends on the weight. a customer might want a whole piece of something and its weight might have some decimals.. so in our case it is quite inevitable.. and most don't really want to take the worthless ten and five cents anymore.. :( :)

October 04, 2007 4:51 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Highly appreciate your candor, Jon; however, your store, very much like the one I go to in my neighborhood caters to repeat customers, and therefore, relationship is often established to the point that it is often rounded off to 25 centavos, if not at that time of purchase, the next time. What's disturbing are the major department stores, who do not prepare their cashiers to give accurate change.

But you're right, there are customers who cannot be bothered with the five and ten centavo change :)

October 04, 2007 6:53 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Reminds me of the similar incident with my sister, Scrooch, because it got to the point that she couldn't take it anymore to be continually short-changed by some SM cashiers.

October 04, 2007 6:56 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I do that sometimes, Kyels, but I prefer wrapping my loose change in ten-peso increment and then give them to street kids who wipe the windshield of cars while at a stop light, and also to carolers.

October 04, 2007 6:57 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That is the reason why I dread taking cabs, Carla, except for R&E and EMP. I've had enough unpleasant experiences with unscrupulous drivers, including those who'd insist in knowing first hand where you're heading, and then only refuse. Makati cabs are notorious for preferring to remain within the Makati area only.

October 04, 2007 7:01 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

hat's how usually I do it with Chow King in Intramuros, Ferdz. They never seem to have any bill in the mornings. So like you, I'd eat my meal first and then just go back later to the cashier for my change.

Thanks! I'm really enjoying practicing these controlled lighting photography :)

October 04, 2007 7:03 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, the kids love to have those loose change, Nell ... hehehe ... for the dirty ice cream also, and other sitserya :)

October 04, 2007 7:04 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Highly admirable of you, Dave :)

I wrap mine in ten-peso increment to hand out to street kids, especially during the holiday season.

October 04, 2007 7:05 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hahaha! Welcome back, Pete!

October 04, 2007 7:05 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks for giving us a glimpse of rural life in those faraway islands, Ding. Knowing about them makes us appreciate whatever blessings that we tend to take for granted at times.

October 04, 2007 7:07 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

What I ought to do, Sidney, is try to pay with exact amount if I have the change. This way, no more bad trips ... hehehe.

That's nice of you to give those street kids and beggars some loose change. Hope they're the ones who get to really enjoy them.

October 04, 2007 7:10 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Romy,

To better appreciate those featured on the links you share with us, especially the art-related ones, may I suggest that you write about them and educate us about those performances/exhibits/films. This way, we'd get to understand and appreciate them more.

October 04, 2007 7:11 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

A smarter way-out for a cashier's dearth of enough change was using hard candy in cellophane.

So everytime the exact change cannot be had, candy is given equivalent to the amount not covered. Smart!

Until the customers got wise and started complaining. In due time, the practice was stopped.

But PI has more unique problems, like the pricing schemes, the way small denominations are allocated (imagine a 10 peso coin!), and of course, because most retail sales are for cash rather than other media.

Because of these, providing banks and ultimately retailers with coins is a very costly proposition, in the areas of handling and insurance on the part of both the former and the supplier, the CB. I used to work for the local banking industry and this was always a thorny issue.

October 05, 2007 12:18 AM  

Blogger Yam Manuel said...

I think Philippine Law states that coins should not exceed Fifty Pesos (P50) when used in trade.

Can anyone verify this?

October 05, 2007 1:52 PM  

Blogger Francesca said...

i was once a cashier in sm makati and landmark (years and years ago, lol) and we gave candies also as shortage of coins.
what I did, i collect all coins in the store nearby my house, everyday I collect 100pesos coins of ten five and one cents.
Brought it in at work, show to cashier managers and approved it.
Easy work, happy customers.

Mcdonalds noted in the counters to pay "a la point" (exact amount) as they also have shortage of coins.
What I did, if i dont have this cash "a la point" i pay my with my blue card. Five euros fifty lang yung bill, haha!

October 07, 2007 6:09 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a few weeks ago, I was sorting coins and rolling them in pieces of paper. By the time I finished rolling them, I had $41.00 worth of coins. I brought them to the bank, boy was that heavy, and have them exchanged in bills.

October 08, 2007 3:46 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I know in the States you can buy those rolls in various increments, Irene; most popular of which were for the quarters. At one time, NYC banks begged for people to bring in their pennies since people tend to store and forget about them instead of using them. And without sufficient pennies in circulation, shortage arose.

This is what the local establishments ought to do -- wrap those coins and take them to the bank as they do in the States.

October 08, 2007 6:27 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Very resourceful and conscientious of you, Francesca. Bravo!

That "a la point" system they should also implement here in the Philippines :)

October 08, 2007 6:28 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's interesting, Yam. Perhaps. one of our fellow bloggers would know and provide us with clarification :)

October 08, 2007 6:29 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Wow! Thanks for this valuable information, Amadeo. The more reason then for our merchants to not give out their coins in bulk to their customers.

Yes, those candies would be an acceptable proposition. I'll take 'em ... hehehe.

October 08, 2007 6:32 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

I had lots of loose change in the car and at home. When my daughter was still young, she would collect some quarters from my car and save it on a jar in her room, then pag marami na, gagawa ng kung ano ano using elmer's glue since she saw on tv about some hobbies using some copper pennies. Until she learned the value of money from her teacher when she did a project using those loose change. She went home in a very sad mood and felt guilty that all along she was just playing with some hard earned money.
She was about to remove the glue from all her coins but I told her no, "that would be a souvenir of your youth and keep those since they became more valuable with your interest in arts:.
Ngek! she graduated with a dual degree in computer science and Math. hahaha!

And thanks to the atm cards, most franchised fast foods and markets are accepting them here not like when I was on vacation in Manila, I just have to put all the loose change in my big pockets and sort them out later at our house in Malabon.
Pati dun sa NAIA, Airport tax ata yung binayaran ko, I used some 5 dollar bills since I was short of peso..sabi sa akin "boss, wala akong pangsukli dito", sabi ko na lang, Happy New Year also! :)

October 14, 2007 2:14 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I think her having graduated with a dual degree is an impressive accomplishment, Reyd! She can always just pursue art as a hobby, plus she'll have all the money from her day job to pay for all those art materials :)

In some establishments here in Manila, ATM cards are now being accepted, but the "barya" will remain a n integral part of the local culture.

October 14, 2007 7:11 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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