Stubbing Out That Idea

, , , , , , | Working | October 11, 2019

(I process payroll for a chain restaurant for a living. Part of my job is answering employee inquiries, ranging from “Can you help me set up my direct deposit?” to “I’m missing hours on my payroll.” I have a decent amount of experience, so it takes a bit to surprise me, but this is a gem that I’ve never received before. This is a call I get one Friday afternoon.) 

Me: “[Company] payroll, how can I help?”

Employee: “Yes, hello? Is this payroll for [Restaurant]?”

Me: “Yes, it is. How can I help?”

Employee: “I need to cash my check but I don’t have the time to go to [Restaurant] to pick it up and then to the bank to cash it, so I was wondering, can I just go online and print the thing from there and take it to the bank?”

(I start internally troubleshooting. Is this a direct deposit? Maybe he got the information wrong in the system and wants to take his pay stub to the bank so they can see if they can find it?) 

Me: “I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand. What’s your name?”

Employee: “[Employee].”

Me: *logs into the system and pulls up the employee’s pay information* “I’m seeing that this was a live check, which means it would be at the store.”

(Then, it dawns on me.)

Me: “I’m sorry, are you asking if you can print out your pay stub and take it to the bank to try to cash it?”

Employee: “Yeah!”

Me: “Sorry, [Employee], that isn’t possible.”

Employee: “Why not?”

Me: “That just isn’t how it works. Our checks have special features on them that the bank needs in order to cash it.”

Employee: “Like what? What does it have that the pay stub doesn’t?”

Me: “Well, for one, it has the account number so they know which account to pull the funds. All payroll checks also have magnetic ink, which would be a big indicator of the pay stub not being valid. Also, the pay stub is just to show you how your check was calculated. It isn’t a check.”

Employee: *smacks teeth* “Man, how am I supposed to have money for the weekend?”

Me: “I don’t suppose you have mobile banking?”

Employee: “What is that?”

Me: “It’s basically an app for your bank that’ll allow you to deposit your check into your account from anywhere, so you could go pick up the check and mobile deposit it.”

Employee: “Can I do that with the pay stub?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no. It’s not a check, remember? What if you pick up the check and go to a check-cashing facility or a money center?”

Employee: “I can do that? I thought I could only do it with my bank?”

Me: “You sure can! I used to cash my checks at [Large Retail Chain]. There will be a fee, but it’s usually less than $10. Do you have a store or money center near you?”

Employee: “I do! That should work. Thank you for your help!”

Me: “No problem! I’m glad I could help. Have a great day!”

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