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Coffee Please - May 13, 2010
Rating: 4.6/5 (78 votes cast)
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Spiked Math Comic - Coffee Please


One time at Tim Horton's there was a new girl working there and I ordered: "an extra large with milk". She charged me for an extra large coffee and then gave me an extra large coffee cup filled with milk (no coffee). Guess I should have been more specific in my order :-)



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36 Comments

wow. ive never done something like this..pretty smart mike :)

Normally I 'get' most of these comics... However, this one I just don't know. Can someone fill me in?

Pretty much this exact thing happened to me as well. Except it was at a Radio Shack, they guy at the counter just gave me a weird look instead of saying anything, and when the display popped up he said "Wow, that's cool!".

There was also a dilbert about this.

Wow! Are you serious?
I live in Slovakia, and everybody does that. Also, the clerks often ask, whether you can give them an amount 'rounded' like this...

Haha, I thought I was the only Slovak following this comic :)

_I_ thought I was the only Slovak following this comic. Cheers guys :P

Why would you think that?! :)
Cheers. :)

I'm from czech rep :-)

Hey! I'm Slovak too! I did this once in america though, and the lady refused to take the extra change and called me dumb. It was a very sad day... (•⋂•)

You are all equal.

ver: minor variations to the given amount are common here as well but that usually only includes the last non-zero digit of the amount. So giving 2.08 instead of 2 might have been done but 2.18 would be uncommon. And cashiers have a tendency to be unable to do maths nowadays.

Raymond Chen also had a similar story once :-)

ver: I guess that cashiers in middle Europe know some math - this is quite usual in Poland too. ;)

ver: I live in Argentine and the same happens here.

I always do this as I REALLY hate this small change. Why the heck there is a 1 or 2 cent coin except to annoy and get my wallet weight a tonne?

I do this all the time. $4.89? Here's 10.14.

On a side note, I freaking miss Tim Hortons. Down here in central Missouri, the only doughnut shop that manages to stay in business is on the other side of town and is in a strip mall (with no drive-thru!). There are rumors of a Dunkin Donuts in St. Louis (2 hours away), but I'm not sure I believe it.

I live in London, and used to be from Singapore. I _always_ get rid of small change as soon as possible (and I take care to do such stunts only when there is next to no queue). In London, I _keep_ getting stunned looks from the cashier while I seldom get them in Singapore. It seems that there can be large regional differences in such matters.

I _detest_ small change of less than 0.10 in whatever currency. (Or < 10 yen) because no vending machine accepts them, they simply just grow and become dead weight loss. I cannot even classify them properly into the hoarding category (Economics, Keynesian theory).

Do you go to the LSE by any chance?

Sometimes the cashier will try to hand back the change over the nearest dollar, since you "don't need that much". I always try to do this if possible, but I'd usually just rather throw away pennies than put them in my pocket.

My friend has this great story of when she was at a museum with a friend and their admission came to $57. That day the register was broken so the counter guy was using a calculator. My friend decided to save him the trouble and gave him $107, but he then handed back the 7 dollars and punched in 100-57 on the calculator...

I am an Indian and its very usual there for either you doing this to the cashier or the cashier asking for this. I'm now here in Canada for a short while and see stunned faces.
On a second note at a restaurant, when I tried doing this for my bill, the waitress thought it to be a tip and never turned back with the change ans I was too embarrassed to ask for it :(

And so you need a one liner to increase the stun factor. Oh, like "oh sorry, refex."

@JeffMe, I get this response all the time and it is sometimes impossible to convince them to take it without them getting mad :(

I've done this sort of thing--it freaks some cashiers out. It helps to warn them, "I think I have change."

They say my grandfather--in the days that clerks had to add up the prices by hand--would have the exact change out by the time the clerk got the addition done. My granpere had added the column upside down in his head faster then the clerk could with pencil and paper...

I went on a trip to Japan, and saw everybody doing this... and no one was stunned. I do that occasionally myself, but was stunned by the popularity of such practice.

A similar situation is described in the novel Bellwether by Connie Willis, although the end is less happy than it is in this cartoon.

In Norway this is very common as well, I do it all the time as a customer and I ask for "rounded numbers" to give out less change as a cashier.

I just got to thinking about this, I actually calculated the change in my head before the register was done calculating and opened :P

Lol, my parents do this all the time.

Here in the Netherlands it's common as well, though most cashiers are not that skilled in math.

haha I remember you telling me the tim horton's story...priceless!

it's common practice here in Mexico as well, unfortunately, it's also very common to run into chashiers that can't do math...

I know I'm a little late to the comment party but I do this ALL the time. Although nowadays I mostly pay with credit. I love seeing little 14-year-old cashiers stare at me like I'm crazy. I've even had them try to hand me back the change I hand them.

The cashiers at the cantine where I work (in France… just) *always* ask if you have the right number of cents to make it a round number of change. They wouldn't have enough change for everyone otherwise.

This is so typical German :)

In Spain that's quite frequent, too.
It happened to you in Tim Horton's, right? Are you Canadian?

using the infinite number of zeros rule, and that guy is a rich man!

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