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    Loony Over A Toonie

    | QC, Canada | Canada, Money, Tourists/Travel

    (The tourist shop where I work accepts US dollars; however, we can give change only in Canadian money. As we are in Quebec, my coworkers speak mostly French, but English is my first language.)

    Co-worker: *in French, to me* “Can you come explain to this guy why we can’t give him American change? He’s pretty upset, and my English isn’t good enough for me to understand him. He bought an ice cream sandwich and an ice cream cone, and his wife already walked off with the cone.”

    (The customer is an older gentleman, probably in his 60s or 70s, neatly dressed.)

    Me: “Okay.” *to customer, in English* “Sir, we can’t give out American change because we don’t maintain an American cash drawer. We only have whatever US money other people have already paid with, so we can’t guarantee exact change.”

    Customer: “Well, why do you take American money if you don’t give it back?”

    Me: “We accept American money as a service to our customers, so that you can still make purchases even if you haven’t changed your money yet.”

    Customer: “Service?! Yeah, right!”

    Me: “It is a service, sir. As we are in Canada, we are not obligated to accept American money. But if we hadn’t accepted your money, you wouldn’t have been able to purchase the ice cream you wanted. We’re doing something we don’t have to do, in order to help you out. That’s a service.”

    Customer: “Well, just take back the stuff I bought and give me my $10 bill back, then!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I cannot give you a refund for a product that has already been consumed.”

    Customer: “The ‘product’ has not been ‘consumed’!”

    (The customer points to the ice cream sandwich still on the counter, but the ice cream cone he bought is nowhere to be seen.)

    Me: “Your receipt shows you also purchased an ice cream cone, which I don’t see here. I’m told your wife left with it; I assume she’s eaten it by now?”

    Customer: “You know, you should have warned me before you took my money that I wouldn’t get American change back!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. But when you travel in a foreign country, it’s assumed that you will not be able to use the money of the country you came from, but will have to, at some point, use the money of the country that you’re in. I don’t see how your being given Canadian change while you are in Canada is something you should be warned about.”

    Customer: “Just give me my money back!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I can’t give you your money back, and I can’t give you American change. There’s nothing more I can do for you.”

    Customer: “There’s nothing you can do?! Well, I tell you what!” *shoves his Canadian change across the counter at me* “You just take that and you stick it wherever it fits best!”

    Me: “Okay, sir!”

    (I drop his change in the tip jar.)