Are change trays common in retail stores in Europe ?

Something I noticed in Paris - most of the retail stores and dépanneurs I was in had a little change tray. I’d pay with a 5€ note, and the merchant would put my change into a little plastic tray, so no hand contact.

That’s not the case here in Canada - the merchant hands the change to you, so there may be a bit of hand contact.

I assume it’s a hygiene thing. Is it just Paris, or is it more wide-spread?

They’re a relatively-new thing and I don’t know how widespread.

I’ve recently encountered them in a Danish-owned chain which operates in multiple countries (saw the trays a couple of years back in Denmark and Sweden, where they mainly got ignored; don’t tell anybody, but their Spanish employees will count the money into the tray and then into the customer’s hand) and in a few Muslim-operated stores in Spain, which may even use them only when the customer’s apparent gender is different from the salesperson’s.

Don’t know about Europe, but apparently it is a big thing in Japan.

In the mid-80s they were common in Germany.

My friends told me that it was considered impolite to exchange coins from hand to hand.

When I briefly worked behind a cashier (USA) I was told to always count out or hand the change bills first (into waiting palm) then coins.

As a customer I always hated that, and still do, because the first thing you want to do is put away the big money --the cash–safely in your wallet, but you wind up hold8ng and looking away and stashing the coins, or stashing them on the counter anyway while you pull out your wallet.

Or maybe it’s just me and my personal cross to bear.

In the US, one occasionally sees a weird arrangement at the grocery store whereby the cashier hands back any bills to you directly, but the coin portion of your change is dispensed by a mechanical changer that spits the coins into a little tray.

That’s normal practice here in the Uk too and I really get wound up about it. Yet another good reason to go cashless - I love my contactless card.

Cash is rapidly going out of fashion in Europe, where the use of ‘contactless’ bank cards is widespread. It is kind of encouraged by the public transport systems in big cities, where paying fares by tapping on the reader is very convenient. One of my local coffee bars in London does not accept cash at all. Getting rid of cash completely has a lot of advantages.

In the 1950s, I worked the cash in a newsstand/smokeshop. There was a glass countertop, and a circular rubber disc to put the change on. Apparently widespread practice, because the change pad had advertising on it for some kind of cigar. The rubber had a beaded surface, to make the coins easy to pick up. It was preferred then, so the coins wouldn’t scratch the glass countertop. So, at least in my experience, the idea is not new.

I’ve always assumed that was because women pour the change into the change pocket in their purse, before carefully putting the bills away.

Whereas I, as a bloke, am holding my billfold open. I want to put the bills away while holding the coins in the hollow of my hand, then force the coins into my pants pocket, an operation which is difficult if I’ve got the bills underneath.

It’s the patriarchy…

The issue of coins is the reason that I have always gotten a wallet with a separate section to hold coins. I’m not sure why they weren’t more popular, although the point of them is rapidly diminishing (as is the amount of change that ends up in there).

It was once. I remember the change trays that were in Canadian convenience stores. They were often emblazoned with the name of a brand of cigarettes (I particularly remember Player’s and Export A change trays in stores). But I haven’t seen them in years–perhaps the ban on tobacco advertising, and nobody willing to pick up the slack (e.g. Coca-Cola or Doritos) led to their demise in Canada.

I was born in Germany (where cash is still king) in 1968 and those trays have been common as long as I can think in small retail stores, bakeries, barber shops and the like, but for some unknown reason not in bigger stores like supermarkets. Don’t ask me why, I have never thought about these trays until opening this thread.

As with any question about Europe, there’s no blanket standard, and practices vary from country to country. We don’t have them in the UK, for example, but they are common in Italy, from my experience.

Pretty much this.

From personal experience it’s very common in Italy, (and was rather disconcerting on my first visit as it was an entirely new concept). I haven’t particularly noticed it in Berlin, Amsterdam or Paris, but I’ve not been outside those city centres, and I didn’t see it in Ireland having covered most of the country.

yeah, in 1950 maybe.

I don’t know any woman these days who doesn’t just use a wallet. Apart from anything else, purses are crap at holding plastic cards.

I think my granny had purses…

I remember doing business in the Lower East Side of Manhattan with some Hasidic Jews and the men would not hand money to women. They would put the money on the counter and avoid indirect contact with female customers.

I don’t doubt this, because by their rules they do not touch any woman not their wife or children, and it’s simplest that way. Ditto, in reverse, women, with whom I’ve more that once offered a handshake and was politely refused.

I never really paid attention, but when you mention it, I indeed realize that most of the time the change is put in a plastic/metal/glass tray, as you say. I don’t think it’s only a Paris thing.

Also, something that is novel but seems to spread very quickly are machines that take in bills and coins and spit out your change. So, the cashier just rings what you bought but never handles any money at all. I assume that the machine can recognize counterfeit money.

In the UK you’ll frequently get the bill in a restaurant presented in such a tray and then any change returned in the same.

Where one does find the change being directly presented in a tray is in a slice of certain bars and pubs. Invariably ones trying to project an upmarket ambiance. And with an undercurrent of expecting you to leave some (or even all) of the change as a tip. Which nobody ever does. The All Bar One chain is an example where the staff invariably do so (presumably under instruction).