Why Fast Food Employees Don't Like When You Pay With Lots Of Change

There is nothing worse than standing in a long line at a fast food joint — except, of course, standing in a long line at a fast food joint behind someone who wants to pay with coins. You realize that times are tough and many have to resort to raiding their piggy banks to pay for a McDonald's burger and fries, but your lunch break is short. Far too short to wait for someone to count out all their nickels and dimes.  

Thankfully, not all businesses will accept payment in coins for purchases. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System clearly says there are no "federal statutes mandating that a private business...must accept coins as payment." You can only hope that the change-riddled customer will be told to use their debit card instead. 

Sure, some people need to pay in cash. Pew, for instance, points to a 2019 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation survey that showed that roughly 7.1 million American households functioned without an actual bank account, mainly because they were unable to keep the required balance in their account. But paying using an excess of coins is a whole other matter. Moreover, the patiently queuing customers are not the only ones getting annoyed – fast food employees dread this practice as well. 

Counting piles of coins is time-consuming

Fast food employees, especially those who work at frequently chilly drive-thrus, aren't fans of those who pay with change. Former drive-thru employee, John Frigo, told Reader's Digest that he hated "hanging out the window in the cold, waiting two minutes while someone gets rid of their pennies." The cars behind likely didn't enjoy it either. 

Frigo is far from alone in his anti-coin sentiment. When Reddit u/maxtrainzz asked r/TalesFromFastFood if they could pay in coins, the comments were fast and furious. The original poster explained that they had a fast food drive-thru customer pay $14.70 in coins and worried the whole shift that their cash register would be short. One commented that they can accept a small child paying for their purchase with coins, but no one wants to stand in line behind a fully-grown "Mr. Coiny." Another questioned whether or not people do this on purpose during busy times in an attempt to shortchange the cashier, while others complained about the griminess or stickiness of the coins used. 

The truth is that it is called fast food for a reason. The restaurant is expected to produce your meal quickly. Likewise, customers should pay expediently. This means keeping your coins to a minimum.