Customers sour as shops give sweets for small change
DESPITE recent reports from the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) claiming that there is no coin shortage in the country, many supermarkets are still reporting difficulties in giving customers correct change, blaming it on a lack of coinage.
Representatives of a number of Qatar's leading supermarkets told Gulf Times that they simply could not get hold of enough coins to give to customers. One cashier at a supermarket said: "We normally have no coins at all, and so we offer sweets to our customers as a remedy to this problem."
However, not all customers are satisfied with receiving "unwanted" sweets as a substitute for their money, and have been complaining about the shops simply taking their change from them. Supermarket officials say they are "looking into possible solutions to the problem".
It would seem that the obvious solution is to mint more coins, and QCB officials have reported that there would be another coin mint this year.
However, there seems to be a large difference between reports from the supermarkets and QCB, as most shops say they never receive enough coins in the morning, and sometimes can be given no coins whatsoever at the start of a shift.
But the question remains as to who benefits from the extra money gained by ignoring customers' change.
"The cashier does not pocket the extra change," explained one representative, "instead the money goes directly to the company".
However, most supermarkets were keen to point out that if the customer insists, they will receive their change in coins.
"The sweets are only a substitute so that we don't give all our coins away, but if the customer asks for the exact change instead of the sweets, we will give it to them," said one cashier.
But rather than benefiting from loose change, cashiers in many major shopping centres end up losing out as they have to personally pay for any shortage in the till at the end of a shift.
"Shortages are not that common, perhaps once a week we have to make up for a loss, which is usually around QR10," explained one cashier.
She did, however, have to pay for a QR3,000 shortage last year, due to a mistake, which she explained was the most she has had to pay.
Another cashier explained that her company allowed its employees a QR10 shortage every day, but anything exceeding that came out of their pockets.
So the cashiers do not pocket the extra change, and if insisted upon, change in coins will usually be provided, but the problem remains that people often end up paying more than necessary.
Investigations reveal that all the supermarkets recognise the need for a solution and many are exploring ways of reimbursing customers so they can keep their money.
Source: Gulf Times