Getting Some Cash Back Flack

, , , , | Legal | April 2, 2019

(I work at a local Chinese restaurant in my town. It’s still summertime, so kids are out all day and, depending on the age, at night, too. Two kids, fifteen or so years old, come in and order two dinner combos, a bag of four chicken wings, and two drinks all for themselves. I tell them their total and they hand me a card. I slide the card through our machine and hand them a pen, and the receipt to sign. The kid with the card looks at me confused.)

Me: “You have to sign it.”

Kid #1: “Oh, okay.” *signs it on the line, then tries to take it*

Me: “I need that back, sorry.”

(He hands it back to me and then talks with his friend. I look at the name on the receipt and begin getting suspicious. Is it their card or a relative of theirs? After settling the order, he asks me if I would know how much was left on the card, like a gift card.)

Me: “No, I wouldn’t have that information because it’s not a gift card, and even if it was, my machine doesn’t tell us how much was left on it.”

Kid #1: “Oh, okay.” *pauses* “Can I get cash back?”

Me: “No, sorry, we don’t offer that.”

(I know that the business next to mine has an ATM they could use, but I don’t say anything. I walk to the kitchen where my boss is packing food for deliveries and takeouts, and I tell her I think the kids stole the card and fill her in on the questions they had asked. My boss goes to the front.)

Boss: “Hi. You guys wanted to know if you can get cash back right?”

Kid #1: “Yes, we did.”

Boss: “Okay, can I see the card for a second?”

(My boss pretends to be searching for an option in our machine for cash back but is actually looking at the name on the card.)

Boss: “Is this your dad’s card?”

Kid #2: “Yeah, it’s his dad’s card. He let us come and get food.”

Boss: “Okay, it looks like we can’t give you cash back. Sorry.”

Kid #1: “It’s okay. Thank you.”

(My boss opens up our cash drawer and writes on the receipt that it was the son that bought food, just in case. Her husband brings up their food and I ask them if they want sauces and forks. I give them what they want and they leave.)

Me: “I just wasn’t sure, and I know that you know the people around here better than I do so I figured I’d tell you. [Cardholder] didn’t seem like it would be them or anyone related to them.”

Boss: “It’s okay. I understand.”

(The next day, when I got to work, my boss told me that about a half an hour before I got there, the cardholder came in informing them that his card had, in fact, been stolen and the two kids had bought about $1100 worth of stuff on two separate websites other than our store. The police knew who the kids were after looking at our video cameras and ended up arresting them.)

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