Amtrak notice: If you don't get a receipt, your purchase is complementary. What?

I was researching Amtrak travel. It turns out that there is an unusual notice in some of the menus.

It says “If you paid by cash, credit card or traveler’s cheque and did not receive a recept, your purchase is complementary.”

Please translate. I’m thinking that it doesn’t mean that the servers withhold a recept as a complement. “Gee, this customer’s tie is really awesome. Don’t give him a recept.”

They are trying to stop the Amtrak employee taking your money and not putting it into the cash register. If they do that, you don’t get a receipt, you demand your complimentary meal, and the employee’s supervisor learns about their little scheme.

I believe this is to curtail theft. If you don’t tender a receipt for the customer, the assumption is that the cashier has pocketed the customer’s money after he walks away instead of putting it into the cash register.

By allowing the free meal (or whatever), the customer has grounds to raise a ruckus if he doesn’t get the receipt after paying.

Yep, management’s attempt to get the customer involved in the employee-management relationship as a de facto supervisor. Similarly, my local theater chain used to have a sign at the register that said “if the cashier doesn’t ask if you’d like a combo pack, your popcorn is free.”

The goal being to a) make sure that their employees tried to upsell the way they’re instructed by giving me an incentive to tattle, and b) hoping to make me stop bitching about the constant upsell.

A chain of one-price discount stores near me has a sign at all the tills saying if you’re not given a receipt, you can claim a £5 reward. I thought they might be doing this as a customer service incentive (and docking the cashier the £5 for not following procedure), but on reading this thread, it’s obvious - it’s so that the cashier is forced to put the sale through the till, thus making it harder for them to pocket the cash.

Looking at it, it actually reads “complimentary,” not “complementary.” Anyway, they mean it’s free, not a nice remark.

As an aside, there’s a difference between “complimentary” and “complementary”

I’m wondering what other methods a person might use to pay for his snack.

Is the implication that “if you paid by personal check or IOU, then don’t expect a receipt”? :dubious:

There’d be less potential for fraudulent cashiers with personal checks, as they’re made out to a specific person or organization. A cashier who pocketed a personal check made out to “Amtrak” wouldn’t be able to cash it themself, like they could with a traveler’s check.

Amtrak has some travel packages that I imagine may include some vouchers or such for the dining car.

You’d think Amtrak would have a better handle on value of tickets printed vs value of currency deposited. I mean, it isn’t like a fast food joint where management won’t notice some missing burgers or greasing a bouncer at a sold out show. Those printed tickets have the passenger’s name and a certain cost on them and if the register doesn’t add up at the end of the night, it seems like the thief will be caught very quickly.

It’s for food, not train tickets. They’re trying to make sure no one steals money or food by ensuring that all orders are actually rung up in the till.

If you’re in a sleeping car, meals are included with the ticket. You probably don’t get a receipt (I imagine there’s a voucher or they check your ticket or something), so they put that restriction in the menu to ward off any confusion.

Totally missed that. Thanks.

Perhaps if I’d READ the OP…

Sleeping car passengers sign for meals by car and compartment number rather like hotel guests do (or used to do).

My only recent experience is with the Empire Builder, so YMMV, but on that train the dining car separates coaches from the sleeping cars that originate in / are destined for Seattle (the section of the train that comes from or goes to Portland is farther back). This means that Seattle-based sleeping car passengers and coach passengers enter from different ends. Not a perfect solution since Portland-based sleeping car passengers enter from the same end as coach passengers, but a quick way to separate prepaid from cash customers.

I know a guy who runs a restaurant, and employee theft is a major concern.

Taiwan has a national system where numbers are printed on receipts and then there are drawings with cash prizes. It’s the same thing, to make sure that stores put the sales onto the books.

That Taiwanese national system is a bit different in that the goal isn’t to help honest retail managers / owners catch dishonest retail employees. It’s to help the tax authorities catch dishonest retail managers / owners.

I wonder who’s watching out for dishonest tax authorities? And what gimmick they use to enlist the citizens to unwittingly help catch them?

They can, it just takes an extra step, put the check in the register and pocket the cash. In fact, it might be easier since the waitress/waiter doesn’t have to worry about making change.

We had these policies at the amusment park I worked at. Even then there are all kinds of nifty ways to work the system. The big ones with us were at miniature golf. Cashier would ring up receipt and staple to golf scorecard (scorecards were logged and numbered every shift) Customers would often walk off without their scorecard. Cashier would tuck scorecard under register. When a group of same size came up, cashier whips out abandoned card/receipt and pockets cash. At $5/person for mini golf it was very easy for a crafty cashier to make an extra $50-$100 a night without even trying.