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Restaurant Owner Called ‘Harsh’ For Firing Cashiers Who Accepted Counterfeit Money

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Part of being the boss/owner of any business is to make sure it’s run properly.

That employees are working by the book, and up to a reasonable standard.

Sadly, if some employees prove unable, or unwilling, to improve, then bosses often have no choice but to let them go.

Most bosses don’t enjoy doing this, and only have to when they have no other choice.

Redditor Alternative_Chest779 found themself in this unfortunate situation, when they fired multiple employees for making the same errors on a fairly regular basis.

But after being told that they were “too harsh”, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for firing 4 cashiers because they accepted counterfeit money?”

The OP first explained how they were dismayed that several of their employees were making a costly error at work not once, but over and over again.

“I own 6 restaurants and bakeries.”

“We have had an issue lately with the cashiers accepting counterfeit money.”

“The managers give each cashier training on how to detect counterfeit money.”

“Some of the counterfeit money is really good, it takes several minutes to notice something wrong so I’m not upset about that.”

“What I’m upset about is some really bad ones have been accepted.”

“We had a cashier accept Albanian money, several banknotes that say something like ‘fake money for movie production’, a 500 denar banknote that had a f*cking Van Gogh painting on it, and a 5000 denar banknote with Putin’s face.”

“It wasn’t even the right size and it had writing in Russian in it too.”

“5000 denar is like 80 Euros so that really pissed me off.”

“Issue is we couldn’t pinpoint which cashiers accepted which banknotes since all of these were discovered when we tried to cash the banknotes in at the bank, we didn’t know when it happened.”

“In total over the past 3 weeks we have had 25 fake bills costing us like 400 euros.”

“I had all my managers go through with all the cashiers on how to verify bills and I told them to check every single banknote over 100 denar.”

To see if their staff had learned their lesson, the OP set up a secret test, and was dismayed the results.

“I had my wife, sister, brother and 2 friends go into all of our locations and use the exact same fake bills as well as some really bad ones I made with my printer.”

“I didn’t use any of the good fakes.”

“There were 30 purchases and 4 cashiers accepted our fake notes 9 times.”

“This was over a span of 3 days.”

“They filmed it too.”

I” immediately fired all the cashiers who accepted the fake money.”

“I told them they’re f*cking incompetent jacka**es, especially the one who accepted the f*cking Putin money twice.”

“She got really upset saying that hurt and that she gets busy and can’t check.”

“I told her I don’t give a sh*t what her excuse is for that.”

“The employees who got fired said they made mistakes and they’ll improve.”

“I don’t give a sh*t, I gave them a chance and they f*cked up.

“Some people are saying I’m being too harsh.”

“The economy sucks a**, we have been struggling financially and this sh*t can be the final straw which pulls us under.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

While everyone agreed that the OP was well within their rights to fire those employees, not everyone approved in the manner in which they did it.

Some felt that the OP handled the situation correctly, agreeing that incompetent work shouldn’t be tolerated and they had no other choice but to fire them.

“So, you actually tested to see which cashiers were grossly incompetent, rather than just firing everyone, and fired the grossly incompetent people for being grossly incompetent?”

“Yeah, you are allowed to do that.”

“NTA.”- IanDOsmond


“Some of the examples you gave are indicative of gross incompetence or indifference on your employees’ part.”

“You also tested them with deliberately created counterfeit money that was easily identifiable where they failed again.”

“These employees are hurting your business performance and costing you money.”

“Firing them was the right solution.”- BeeYehWoo

“NTA They were a liability especially since you trained them on spotting counterfeit currency.”

“Most countries take counterfeit money very seriously.”

“Yes you could have toned down the aggression a bit but with your livelihood and business at stake, you can’t take any chances that the government won’t crack down and throw the book at you because of you just trying to take counterfeit currency to a bank.”- ReaperBashir


“He’s distinguished the fact that there were some realistic ones and those are not the ones he’s concerned about.”

“He’s referring to the ones that are egregiously fake.”

“Those cashiers did not care enough to even look at it.”

“They deserve to realize what a stupid mistake that was.”

“And hopefully they’ll learn from their mistake and improve for their next job.”- Relevant-Finance-847


“They were trained on how to recognize counterfeit currency.”

“Not only did they all-too-frequency accept fakes, they accepted foreign currency and play money.”-TMA1978

“I think you made the right call.”

“Based on how much fake bills you received, it looks like there is a modus or an inside job happening in there.”- dahlia_blooms


“Counterfeit money is NO JOKE!”

“When I worked in retail a few customers placed some fake bills into the Self-Checkout machine.”

“I don’t know all of the details, but the CIA and the Feds got involved, the store had to be closed during the ‘review’, and had to remove the machine with the bills still inside it!”

“There is a difference between not knowing the difference and accepting fake bills.”

“OP did the right thing.”-aquavenatus

However, while others agreed that the OP was justified in firing those employees, they felt that the way they did it was way out of line, with several questioning the OP’s suitability as a boss.

“You’re not the AH for firing them for not doing their jobs.”

“You are the AH for using that kind of language.”

“You could have been professional.”

“You’re in management so act like it.”- Professional_Grab513

“NTA for firing them, you tested them and they failed.”

“But YTA for how you talked to them.”

“Telling them they’re ‘f*cking incompetent jackasses’ and that you ‘don’t give a sh*t’ is very unprofessional, also comes across pretty hostile and aggressive.”- Tigerboop

“Former restaurant cashier here (US).”

“Firstly, you need a better system.”

“It’s ridiculous that you didn’t know who accepted the fake bills.”

“Here’s how the system should work:”

“Only the cashier should have access to the their drawer during their shift, and at the end of their shift a manager / supervisor should count the till together with the cashier, seal the bank deposit in a bag, and write the deposit amount and both the cashier’s and manager’s signatures on it.”

“The obvious fake bills would be detected at that point and there would be no question who accepted them.”

“Secondly, it’s really concerning that one cashier said she didn’t have time to check the bills.”

“Either you’re grossly overworking her in an absolutely chaotic environment that no one dealing with money should ever be subjected to, or she’s insanely careless and you / your staff might also be careless for hiring someone like that.”

“I’ll leave it to you to determine which one is the case.”

“As far as whether you’re TA, what concerns me is how you went about ‘testing” the cashiers’.”

“The way you did it feels like baiting to me.”

“Did you really expect them to accept the fake money the first time but not the second time when your family gave it to them?”

“A more professional way to handle this would have been to issue a warning to them, stating if it happens again they’ll be fired, and even giving them a heads up that you’ll be conducting random undercover tests.”

“Cashiers bear the stress of having responsibility over collecting the night’s profits, and everyone makes mistakes from time to time, and it just seems malicious to me to throw more opportunities at them to make mistakes.”

“I’m going to say ESH because the cashiers made some pretty stupid mistakes but your management practices made it easier for them to make those mistakes.”

“These are two separate actions being evaluated individually.”

“Businesses of that size don’t just accidentally end up with 4 cashiers who accept play money; something must be problematic with the way the business is being run.”

“We have to acknowledge the statistical extreme rarity of this scenario.”

“I have to believe the cashiers’ actions weren’t malicious, because they didn’t stand to gain anything by accepting the fake money, so they either hated their employer that bad, or some kind of environment had been created in which they believed it was ok to accept fake money, customer is always right culture maybe?”

“Without repercussions.”

“If you mismanage a business and some workers do stupid stuff as a result, you are absolutely responsible for improving your business practice.”

“I believe that had OP addressed the problem with the cashiers as I described above, instead of firing them outright, they would have stopped making the mistake.”

The mistake the OP’s employees made was a very serious one indeed, and the fact that they let it happen on multiple occasions made keeping their jobs untenable.

But owing to the vulgar manner in which the OP let them go, it’s possible that they might not  feel inclined to do better going forward.

Nor will anyone likely feel inclined to work for the OP going forward.

It was certainly a hard lesson for the OP’s employees to learn, but one only hopes the OP will soon learn in how to be a compassionate boss as well.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.