On Saturday I went shopping with my youngest daughter. While on the hunt for elusive and impossible to find Skylanders figurines, I picked up this, that and the other thing at a variety of stores. Every time I was handed back change from my purchase, it was done so in the annoying, obnoxious way that has become the retail norm for the past few years: Dollar bills in hand with receipt, and coins placed on top of that.

This makes me crazy. Why? Because half the time the coins roll off your hand onto the floor or the conveyor belt after the slightest movement of your hand. Or because while I am holding my wallet with my one hand, a pile of money precariously balanced in the other hand renders me incapable of anything but utter frustration.

Then I must put my wallet down, transfer the loose coinage to my now freed up hand, pick my wallet back up with my hand still holding the bills, drop the change into the zippered change pocket (which I must unzip with my teeth or the hand still holding the bills which by now are a crumpled wad), and then un-wad the bills and slide them into the appropriate slot. Meanwhile, I am getting more and more rankled because I know I am holding up the  person waiting in line behind me who is growing inpatient to get their purchase underway.

I can remember a day when a cashier would hand you back the coins in the palm of your hand first, and then you grabbed the bills with your fingers. This way, you could slide the coins easily out of the hand into the purse and put away the bills in almost one deft movement. Or, if you were quick, you could store the coins before they even handed you the paper money back at all. But it seems as if those simpler days of receiving change are lost forever.

I can recall a story on the news a few years back about a man who was killed in the drive-thru lane at a McDonalds. He was handed back his change, and dropped a bunch of the coins on the pavement between his car and the window. As he opened her car door and leaned out to try and retrieve the money he accidentally hit the accelerator, and was dragged until the vehicle hit part of the building several feet in front of where the change was dropped. I’ll bet you a zillion bucks this poor guy was handed his change back in this new fangled customer unfriendly way.

Since I am a meek freak who can almost never speak up unless lives are at stake, I appeal via this blog to any and all folks who handle money. I do not have the balls, guts, or gumption to lecture each and every cashier who hands me my change in this very wrong and frustrating fashion. However, If you are a cashier and you are reading this try to change your ways of giving change. For the love of God, put the coins in the customer’s hand FIRST!

And for fuck’s sake smile a little when you do it.

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