Penny dishes

Millie Webb millie-webb at CHARTER.NET
Tue Jul 16 16:54:23 UTC 2002

> I wonder if 7-11 or some other nationwide chain decided that having penny
> buckets, as well as being a for-real convenience to its customers, would
> add a nice homey touch to their check-out counters.  This guess, if
> would explain why the practice, previously unknown, blossomed so widely so
> quickly.
> The cafeteria where I work (which I imagine sells 1,000 lunches per day)
> three cashiers and each one has a penny bucket, a policy which, if I
> correctly, began when new management took over a couple of years ago and
> a big fuss about how friendly their employees were.

> In a convenience store the cashiers do not log in---there are long gaps
> sometimes between customers, and whichever employee is nearest the
> counter when a customer is ready becomes the cashier.  Also in a large
> multi-checkout-line store, if a cashier runs low on pennies, s/he simply
> "buys" a roll from the manager.  In a 7-11 or similar store, it is not
> uncommon for the register to run low on x denomination of coins, and there
> no central cash source to buy rolls of coins from.  If the register runs
> of pennies, the penny bucket comes in handy (or else the cashier simply
> forgives the pennies beyond 5 or 10 cents).

I cannot speak to all convenience stores, gas station, and the like.  BUT,
in the gas stations and convenience stores I worked in, ONE person was
responsible for a cash drawer and the amount it reconciled to, no matter how
many people were ringing up customers.  If you had to use "someone else's"
register, then you had to enter your cashier code for each purchase.  At the
bookstore I used to (assistant) manage, it was much the same -- only you had
to put in your employee ID number every time you used the register at all.
It was usually expected to be off by a few pennies either way, pretty much
every shift (especially at the gas stations, where people tend to throw five
or ten dollars, say a pump number, and leave -- leaving you short a few
pennies or with a few extra in change).  We always had a penny dish on the
counter, but never really called attention to it.  Some cashiers used them a
lot, others just let customers noticed it.  You never "fill" the penny dish
from the register, because that almost never happens to just work out in the
end.  Most shifts when I controlled my own register the whole time (like
you're supposed to), my register worked out to within a few cents either way
(usually over, because of people not taking their change).  One manager in
particular (at an SA) was shocked that my drawer always balanced so well,
because most people were off between 50 cents and a dollar over six hours or
so.  Mine was always within ten cents.

Anyway, the dishes are a convenience for customers, and I always put extra
pennies in one that's low at all, if I get a few back in change.  I never
take more than two from the dish (and I think that's how most people work
it), but have been know to put in three or four at times if they are
weighing down my pockets!  And we always called them "penny dishes", by the
way, whether in Saint Paul (where I grew up), or in SE Michigan (where I
just moved from after graduate school).

As for the hock/hawk thing, I was born and raised in Saint Paul , all the
way through college.  I have always distinguished between Don/Dawn,
hock/hawk and palm/pom pairs.  I cannot claim I precisely "pronounce" the
'l' in "palm", but the vowel is definitely longer, and the 'l' creeps in --
even on a spectrogram (I have checked).  I find it annoying when people say
"hockey" like it's spelled "hahcky" though too.  In my experience, the
people from Chicaahhhgo are the ones who do that, and pronounce don=dawn.
Then again, I have always been interested in language (since childhood), and
take on the accents of the people around me very easily, whether I mean to
or not (trust me, it happens to me all the time).  If I am extremely relaxed
and talking fast, I am told you can still hear that I am from Minnesota
pretty easily.

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