Mandatory Receipts?

Whats the deal with fast food places with the sign “if you don’t receive a receipt at time of purchase, your meal is free!” Is this some obscure law?

Entirely a WAG, but the only time I have seen this was at a parking lot booth. I have, up until now, assumed it was because the customers could not see the total, so it would be easy for the cashier to add a buck or two to the total (this garage had an incomprehensible computerized formula for calculating payment, so the customer would never know) and pocket the difference.

But fast food places? Free meals? That’s just wacky.

I would think if it were a law, they would not post a sign proclaiming how to take advantage of it.

Fast food places want the employees to give receipts to the customers. It keeps the employees in check and keeps the # of employees that “skim” by adding 50 cents here or a dollar there to a bill, to a minimum.

Many require it(giving receipts) of employees, and actually discipline employees who do not.

It’s the customer’s incentive to bring it to management attention that they didnt get a receipt - because then their meal is free - and it’s worth it to the store to quickly terminate employees that don’t follow the rules and may be stealing/dishonest (or simply too stupid).

It’s to stop dishonest employees. An easy way to steal from your employer is to pocket the money without ringing it up on the cash register. To give the customer a receipt, the purchase MUST be entered on the register.

Since bizerta seems to have answered this nicely in only three posts, we have a little time for a historical hijack.

The OP didn’t ask about it, but because it’s related to this question, I’ll tell you why cash registers ring. (Or at least why they used to ring – these days they seem to just hum and buzz).

Before registers became popular – in the 1880’s when marketing wizard John H. Patterson took control of the firm he soon renamed National Cash Register (NCR) – retail businesses lost huge amounts of money due to dishonest, pilfering clerks. The genius of the cash register (known as “the thief catcher”) was that, not only did it tabulate the transaction, but it unlocked the cash drawer with an unmistakable jingle (or bong). This alerted the store owner/manager that a clerk had opened the cash drawer and a purchase was taking place; he could thus turn his attention to the action and be sure that no funny business was transpiring. When the clerk reclosed the drawer he could look away confident that the till was secure until the next purchase was “rung up.”

In some areas that have lots of businessmen, restaurants always make it a habit of providing a receipt for expense accounts. That saves much time and hassle when the customer doesn’t have to come back when he remembers he can be reimbursed for his food.

I don’t understand how this works. In every modern cash register, the transaction is recorded inside the machine (whether it be a seperate tape or computerized). In any case, all machines show the total due, and then the change due. If the drawer is short at the end of a shift, the owner could simply dock the pay of the employee by the amount that it is short. No receipt needed.

It’s possible that the employee could just ring up the order and get a total and then void out the transaction or some such mischief like that. The employee can then just open the drawer through a “no sale”.

A lot of places though require a manager to approve a void.

It’s possible even if the manager is needed for a void. Here’s how: (I’ve never done it, but every fast food place I worked had someone who did it) In a fast-food restaurant, there are certain common orders- say a Quarter-pounder value meal. After a few of these, I’ll know exactly what it comes to tax included (that way I’m not caught by overcharging the customer). The next time someone order one of the common combinations, I give them the correct price,take the money, give them their change and pocket the amount of their order.How do I get into the cash drawer? Either I leave it slightly open after each order(in case I get the opportunity to pocket money) or I ring up .01 on the misc key( a common method of opening the drawer when you accidently close it before giving change), which has the advantage of providing all the noise of the register printing and the drawer popping open.

The common orders and people not really caring about a receipt is probably why it’s mostly restricted to fast food. When I worked at Dunkin Donuts , probably 75% of the customers bought either a coffee or tea with a donut or muffin or a dozen donuts. Even with three sizes of coffee, that’s only seven combinations to memorize.If you pay $2.00 every day for your coffee and donut at Dunkin Donuts, you’re not likely to want to check the receipt for accuracy as you would in another type of store. You’re also not likely to want the receipt in case you have to return or exchange something, so many customers won’t ask for a receipt unless there’s some incentive.
BTW, it at least some places, it’s illegal to dock pay for shortages. There are other reasons for it besides stealing, and it’s not terribly uncommon for more than one person to use the same drawer.

First of all, this is supposition, not actual, first hand experience.

It’s possible for a dishonest teller to ring up a small fry, soda, sandwich, pizza, whatever and hand the customer a large, since that’s what they actually ordered. If the difference is 40 cents, or two dollars, or something else easy to remember, the teller would leave all the money in the drawer until the end of the shift, keeping track of how much the till is over. If you screw your boss on ten transactions, it’s…rather it WOULD BE easy to keep track of how much to skim out of the till and the end of your shift. That way the customer without a receipt has no idea what’s going on, and the internal tape jibes with the actual (post skimmed) cash count at the end of the shift. The beauty of this is that if the dishonest teller’s drawer gets audited early, he’s over instead of under and management that’s getting paid minimally thinks there’s no problem.

My father related to me this story about he fired a dishonest employee at his store about 25 years ago. He suspected that the guy was shorting him. So, he sent my cousin (whom the employee had never seen) to buy about $10 worth of something. The guy completed the transaction. Then my cousin waited about a minute and drove back up to the store and asked for a receipt. The guy then went and rung up the order all over again.

Armed with this info, my dad fired the guy. He still lived in the neighborhood and liked to come in and tell some of the other employees how easy it was to steal from the till. He failed to realize that most of the employees of the store were my three older brothers and I.

I wonder if this guy has ever held a job for any length of time.

This is an aside since the OP has been answered.

My brother used to work at a gas station where you had to pai inside. (no pay at the pump in those days)

Anyway, on credit card transaction he would often change the amount a little bit. If you pumped $20.19 he would charge $20.91 and pocket the difference. Over the course of a day it was easy to ‘earn’ an extra twenty bucks. I’m sure this is no longer possible with the newer computerized registers.
Also if the person noticed he would act like he just accidently transposed the numbers. (these were hand written credit card charges)

I don’t believe stores CAN dock your pay if you’re over or under. Mistakes happen all the time. Most people are accurate, but they’re bound to be short a bit one time or another.