Okay, before we begin, let's just realise that getting more change than you deserve when you purchase something may be illegal (note: IANAL, YMMV, etc.), and is definitely completely unethical and you should return the excess change immediately. Let it be noted that money missing from the till can be taken from the cashier's pay, and can lead to them losing their jobs, et cetera. See the members of e2 on their moral highhorses below for more information.

Now that that little morality issue is over and done with, it's time to discover some ways you can get extra change out of service station or supermarket assistants. If they're stupid enough to fall for your little lines, you deserve their money. It isn't even really their money anyway. Perhaps if you own such a store you could try these methods on your staff to make sure they're up to speed.

And just let me quickly explain that I'm from Australia, and therefore I'm thinking in Australian Dollars here. I'm sure these methods will work with US and other moneys, though.

Method I: Make $10.
Okay, this method's pretty simple.
  • Buy $11-12 worth of stuff from the shop that you would otherwise buy, otherwise the profit you make won't seem quite as plentiful.
  • Pay for the stuff with a $20 note.
  • When the assistant gives you your change (which will most probably be a five dollar note and some change) say "Hey, I gave you a twenty"
  • The shop assistant will quickly scan their memory, look at the change in your hand, and say "Oh, you did too, sorry." They will then give you another $10 note.
If the person says "Yeah ..." and looks at the change in your hand, they're slightly smarter than you'd assume from their place of occupation. Look at your change, and say "Oh, right, sorry." And smile.

Method II: Make $20.
Okay, this method requires a slightly more stupid shop assistant. It works the best in supermarkets with check-out chicks It's also good if they're a tad tired and/or busy - but not busy enough that another customer will see your grift.
  • Walk up to the youngest female check-out chick.
  • Buy something for $3-4 dollars, making sure you have the correct change and a $20 note.
  • Hold the $20 note out to her, and wait 'til she's opened the cash register.
  • Then say "Oh, hang on, I have the correct change."
  • Give her the $3-4 of correct change, watch her put it in the till. Don't let her see the $20 note, and hide it in your pocket when she's counting your money into the register.
  • Then, before she shuts the register, ask for your $20 note back. She'll either say, "Oh, sure", or "I already gave it back to you."
  • If she says the latter, argue with her, and she may give in. If she doesn't, put your hand in your pocket, pull out the twenty, and apologise.
  • If she says the former, you've made twenty bucks.
This method is again not very risky, and even if you're caught they cannot prove in any way there was any malice involved.

Good luck, and happy swindling.

If you have any other methods, message me and I'll add them.


Plasma says Just thought I should suggest a significant correction to How to get more change than you deserve . This is very definitely illegal (I can cite Australian case law if you like), so I wouldn't be telling people it's a legal (even if immoral) way to make cash

hamster bong: Granted, and I myself have worked on POS at points; however, even at the end of the day, have never been taken by such methods. And people do try. Oh, and, I'm quite sure Everything is not a BBS.

Xenex says: Probably works better in America, with their all green notes and all...

Excalibre says: as a former grocery-store cashier, let me tell you, that's a really mean thing to do. i've never done that; the one time that there was a question, i handed the guy off to a manager. but a trusting cashier, who doesn't want to make life difficult for her customers could easily fall for that, stupid or no. it's easy to begin to fuck things like that up at the end of a long day, especially if you're on autopilot. rest assured, however, that while the money isn't the cashier's, they will get in trouble. my particular store gave writeups for any instance of being over or under by a total of $7 in a week, and for missing twenty bucks in a day? you'd get fired. and that's a small, family-owned business that treats its employees remarkably well. your actions have a major chance of messing up the life of someone who, chances are, is poor and needs their job.

Footprints says: I'm all for this w/u. It's a pity people are downvoting it because it's not ethical. That is SO irrelevant
This is probably a stupid thing to post a response to, but I've done a lot of stupid things today so - what's one more..

Obviously, both of these methods will work at some point or another but consider the following before you decide to go ahead and see for yourself:

The missing money will come out of said person's pay. (achan points out this is illegal. I counter-point out it still happens, especially in a smaller business. As Excalibre says, it can also mean losing the job entirely.)It is not so simple as saying "It's not their money anyway." "So what?", you say, "It's just x dollars, and next time they won't be so stupid." A lot of times people are working these shit jobs because if they don't, they can't buy food. No, not even food for their hungry baby. The x dollars you just lost them could be a big deal to them. Maybe they were having an off day, maybe they are too trusting. It really doesn't matter.

I just felt this deserved a little elaboration. Just because someone isn't as bright as you, or is perhaps having an off day, does not mean you deserve their money.

More succinctly, it's a real dick move.
There are many different ways to defraud someone in a POS-type job, all of which involve sleight of hand, social engineering, and playing innocent if you get caught. Payment feigning, mathematical overages, and sum-up change errors are the most common ways, backed up by documentation and actual studies done. Sadly enough, conspiracy to defraud is hard to catch, because you have to prove intent, but it is possible.

The sad and unfortunate reality in this exchange is that in the vast majority of cases, you're digging into a slush fund of sorts, not an individual employee's pay, and to an extent, not even to a company's profits. This margin is calculated into an individual business's costs as a retail, grocery, and general POS term known as "shrink"; a generic calculation of the bottom line of human and mechanical error in small amounts. This is not to trivialize the crime of petty theft, but companies do business based around the fact that people will try to steal candy bars, want triple paper bags for reinforcement, and try to nickle-and-dime petty amounts from register clerks. Every department store has a cash-handling department (in some form or title) dedicated to tracking and reducing this "shrink".

In fact, one twisted way that you see shrink reduction and calculation in action is in new "check yourself out" grocery store lines. They are faster, work largely by credit card (less cash handling woes, though some do take cash 7), and you simply don't need the four to eight people to staff the lines (cashier / bagging). Your staffing needs are reduced to one or two people to supervise the operation. Even though you will technically see a greater increase in theft, the bottom line is that you can save yourself money by reallocating your workforce. The benefits outweigh the additional potential shrink, and the bottom line still wins.

Even one of the most stringent cash handling professions, banking, has acceptable shrink limits. While it is possible to have a perfect drawer every time, it is easy to misroll pennies, have bills that stick together, and occasionally simply miscount. For an eight-hour retail shift, most direct to customer positions are given a few dollars of underage or shortage in either direction. Most places have fair shrink stances in that being over in your drawer carries an equal penalty to being short, (even though technically the house is making money). While small miscounts in drawers do not constitute a discipline-worthy offense, continued differences, or large individual differences typically get the notice of people in management.

In many locations (see references to: OR 1, WI 2, and the UK3), it is illegal to withhold from an employee paycheck for any reason relating to business or operating losses (shrink). Other states, such as HI 4 and WA 5 make a provision that an employer cannot recover losses from wages if more than one person has been at that particular till. Still more states need to file a civil action against you to recover the money as an operating loss. Criminal theft from customers and shoplifting employees requires the same burden of proof required in prosecuting customers looking to defraud, except the opportunity is greater. If you need to find out specific information about your locale, many unions and local Chamber(s) of Commerce will have access to employer/employee relationship laws that govern wage. This is a valuable recourse if you feel that you are being deducted from unjustly. All things considered however, it is probably simply easier to fire you under accusations of theft; a rather dire black mark on your employment history.

In every cash-handling training program worth its salt, the methods of bill feigning and change rounding are explicitly discussed. Whether or not you have an inattentive customer causing the issue, or someone looking to score a free ten dollars, there are certain best practices for handling money exchanges that insure a fair transaction, for both you and the house.

The number one strategy is keep all inbound money visible at all times. After you have taken a bill from a customer, be sure to place it on top of the till or in another place where both you and the customer can see it. Typically, there is a bar above where the drawer sticks out that makes an ideal place. Once they can clearly see where you have placed the bill, the social engineering aspect of "hey, I gave you a fifty" loses its ability to defeat you. You'll see a lot of POS folks casually doing this as it is advised by many major chains as a "best practice".

Math-based swindling is oftentimes defeated by an open counting process. Many times you'll see someone count up to the amount of change desired. The ideal count-up transaction should work like this:
Cashier: That'll be 16.45
Customer: Okay, well, here's 25.50
Cashier: 5 cents makes 16. (counting singles) 17..18..19..20.. and 5 makes 25.50
If someone tries to change the end amount, always reset your count to the initial amount and count up until you get to the transaction total, again leaving all inbound money available in plain sight but out of reach of the customer. This maintains control over the transaction and keeps people from overaging or off by one errors.

Do not for a minute think that there are not ways that people are tracked at the grocery store. Every possible permutation, calculation, and intersection of grocery store datasets are calculated and reported on for maximum prediction of fraud situations, especially in big name stores (and all of the convenience stores I run POS machines in). If you're looking to get away with a petty hustle there are a lot of factors that are tracked to match large overage patterns, including discount cards, times of shopping, items included in the purchase, etc. I have personally witnessed scams that have been busted inside of stores that have spanned across chains and locations, because of people using fraudulent coupons, POS swindling techniques, and even company insiders helping them. Especially in larger stores equipped to handle this sort of fraud, these patterns are closely watched and analyzed, as small percentages mean big dollars to those sorts of companies. Mom and pop marts are most vulnerable, but are oftentimes met with strict customer service people not very far away from the register.

In the end, as a POS person, either professionally or as a summer job, know what your rights are and know how to stop that kind of shrink. It's better for your employer (who ultimately can cut your check or cut you loose), and saves you the hassles of getting written up and spoken to about being a better cash handler. While you may be able to steal small bits here and there for low risk, you're likely to get defeated at the register or possibly by some uncomfortable stares from security guards and managers as you are escorted out of the building, correct change in hand.
Okay sir, that's: 98...99...1000 dollars 6. Thanks for coming to Mom and Pops. Have a good evening.


  1. Oregon Wage Laws: http://www.boli.state.or.us/wage/employment.html#paychecks
  2. Wisconsin Wage Laws: http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/dwd/publications/236a/LS-45-P.pdf
  3. Hawaii Wage Laws: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol07_ch346-398/hrs388/HRS_388-6.htm
  4. Reference to UK Employment Law: http://www.gordonbancks.co.uk/Areas_of_expertise/Employment_Law/employ08.htm
  5. Reference to Washington State Employee Rights Law: http://www.consumerrights.net/employeerights2.html
  6. $1000 and/or six months in prison is the maximum punishment for petty theft under California State Law (section 490): http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=5562562354+1+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve
  7. Thanks to mkb for the report on a cash-taking self-serve checkout.

In the springtime everything that dies returns to bloom, or so they say in the picture books they hand out to you in grammar school. You get older and you begin to question the umbrella. How much rain upon one little life must fall. How many days will everything slowly die and how much rain must there be before bloom returns to the fields.

A person reaches many crossroads and faces many decisions. Some take you up. Some take you down. Some take you around the back where some guys take what they decide is theirs. Some take you backwards. Some take you forward. Some take you into the mists of undiscovered wonder. We all see change in our lives. Sometimes it is not enough.

How can you get more change that you deserve?

You pin yourself down on a bed where dreams unfulfilled stain a mattress with forgotten tears. You questions your value and wonder if you deserve anything more than what sits cold on your plate at dinner time. You fool yourself into believing you don't deserve much of anything. A place to sleep, a meal to eat, a warm blanket to get you through the nights... they are colder inside than the snow on the window. The frost makes it hard to see past the window.

You retreat into the darkness and into yourself.

There are those people again. Dancing and singing as they make their way down the street. Your car won't start again. The buses aren't running where you need them to go. Looks like you're walking. Another blister won't make much difference. This is the bed you made for yourself and the pie you baked from the ingredients you had.

Is this all there is to a fire?

Grab hold of something. A tree stump in the quagmire. Hold on tightly. There is a storm brewing. You'll be taken far downstream. Close your eyes. Let circumstances build your sails. Let your imagination be your navigator. Clear your thoughts. Find the tune in your heart and the drum beats in your soul.

Roll with it.

You find less change than you deserve when you undersell the need. You shortchange yourself on the journey. There go those thoughts again. You built this house. You sealed the windows and barred the door. The leaves are a sickly shade of yellow and not many are still hanging onto the tree. The branches reach up to the sky, twisted and lifeless and so easily swayed by the breeze. The roots are exposed and the sky darkens with clouds.

Darkness from light.

You can't get more change than you deserve, but you can get more change than you think you deserve. Open your heart like you are opening your wallet. Pull out a few dollars and pass them to the man on the gold and velvet carriage. He knows where you need to go. You won't see him, but he is there. He knows how to deal the correct amount of change. Just keep spending from the wallet within.

You'll get all the change you deserve.

Trust me.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.