DEAR MISS MANNERS: I've noticed a trend when paying with cash at restaurants. It used to be that if my meal cost $16.32 and I paid with a $20 bill, I would receive $3.68 back from the server. Last week when I paid a $16.32 bill with a $20 bill, I was given only $3 in change by my server, leaving me 68 cents short.
My friend told me that servers are now doing this to save time in processing cash payments, and so they don't have to carry around a lot of change in their apron pockets.
In a way I can see how this makes sense, but I also feel a bit miffed in getting shortchanged. Each time this has happened, I've found myself wanting to ask the server for my correct change, but then refrained from doing so after thinking it would appear silly or impolite to get into an argument over such a small amount of money.
Is this method of shortchanging customers the new normal that I should graciously accept? If not, what would be the best way for me to address this issue with my server?
GENTLE READER: That a pickpocket finds his profession more convenient than remembering to bring his own wallet is no defense. Servers who cheat you by 68 cents should feel lucky to find their tips reduced only by that amount.
Miss Manners sees nothing embarrassing about asking for your proper change. But you could also ask the server's boss, who probably does not authorize shortchanging the customers, whether such is the restaurant's policy.