Two dollar bills

I collect them occasionally because I like to think they’re lucky.  So this article in the Utne Reader gave me a lot to chuckle about especially since I run a small business that might be able to use this same strategy.  It’s about how the lap dance community (I know, who knew there even was one?) has developed a strategy whereby they only give change in $2 bills.  Which means that their tip income suddenly doubles.  Meanwhile, T. added to my pleasure by telling me her discovery about one of the side benefits to getting a Borders gift card.  Since she no longer has to use cash, she also no longer finds herself dropping a handful of change or worse a dollar bill into the tip jar.  I bet they didn’t think about that when set it up.  As a matter of fact, the whole tip jar thing has become a botherment to me.  The person at the counter isn’t a waiter, doesn’t serve me anything beyond what the job entails and yet here I am giving them a reward as though they did something special.  This seems to me like the company that is employing them is ripping us both off.  The company pays the employee minimum wage and charges the customer full price for its services.  If there were tip jars at every cash register I could maybe understand it, but they are only at the food counter where the store can count on us having the tipping habit.  Actually when you think about it this really means that the food counter people are earning a bonus.



  1. […] Original post by Finance is Fun […]

  2. Minimum Wage said

    As a frugal poor person who sells to customers spending frivolously every day, it doesn’t surprise me that there is a lap dance community. There seems to be no end to the stupid ways people spend money.

  3. rhbee said

    If you think that’s weird, another point made in the article was that since it has become a well-known characteristic to the cities in which it occurs, the patron usually tries to spend them all before they leave the joint so as not to gain a rep as a person who frequents such places.

    But you bring up another point, MW, what does a frugal and moral person do when the customer wants to buy something frivalously? Sell, after all that’s why the store is in business, or help the customer shop better, or ?

  4. I got a good chuckle out of this story too – Thanks for pointing it out!

  5. Minimum Wage said

    When I’m not rushed (due to, say, a long line of customers) I often try to make helpful and economical suggestions, although there aren’t many to be found in a typical convenience store. (My goal is to best approximate “real food” in the most cost-effective way – where I work, that is mighty difficult.)

    We often run several promotions at the same time (e.g. one for candy, one for bottled water, one for beer, etc). Some of these promotions amount almost to a buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) and I love to upsell these to customers buying only one of such an item. For example, we’ve had several $1.69 items promoted at 2 for $2 – if you’re already buying one, that’s only 31 cents for the second one. We’ve had 3-for-$5 promotions of $2.59 energy drinks. Hmm, buy two and we’ll GIVE you 18 cents to take a third one! If you’re on your way home – we get a lot of commuters stopping in on the way home – you can put the extras in the fridge, that’s hard to turn down.

    My favorite story involves two young women (20-ish) who came in together. One put a bottled water and something small (like a pack of gum) on the counter; her friend was just hanging with her and not buying anything. As I rang up her items, she said to her friend, “I can’t believe I’m spending my dope money on water.”

  6. Minimum Wage said

    I find it depressing when people come in and spend a lot of money on lottery tickets, because that’s almost invariably a losing proposition. So I never suggest buying lottery tickets to anyone.

  7. rhbee said

    MW, There is a lot to be said about the nature of being young and sort of aimless in your story about the two girls shopping. We’ve all been there. Meanwhile, you comment about the lottery points to a different aim. Our world seems to be loaded down with carrots to keep us using our money to gain short term satisfaction at the expense of learning how to live by making a long term commitment to ourselves. But that being said that lotto wish is hard to ignore. I’ve tried it myself a few times.

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