The Practice of Shortchanging in SM Stores

I am bothered by the fact that many stores do not give the exact change when their customers pay for their purchases. I’ve had consistent experience of this in SM stores, particularly with the supermarkets, the department stores and even Watson’s. Nothing is as irritating as the question, “Ok lang kahit kulang P0.25?” (“Is it ok if I lack P0.25 on your change?”)

Earlier tonight I passed by Watson’s to buy some medicine for my brother. Sidenote, there is no Mercury Drug inside Eastwood. You have to go out to the MDC building or cross C5 to get to one, making it very inconvenient to get to. For medicines, your choices are Watson’s or the pharmacy inside Robinson’s Grocery.

Back to my story. The medicine I got cost a total of P52.50. I paid P500, and got a change of P447. Obviously I was short P0.50, an occurrence that I had expected. The thing was, the girl at the counter didn’t even bother to ask me if it were ok that she was short fifty centavos. She just handed me my change and said thank you.

I quickly counted my money and looked at the receipt. Yep, my change was supposed to be P447.50. I asked her, “Don’t you have fifty cents?”

Given my numerous experience on similar situations, I half expected her to say that she didn’t have any. Instead, she asked me to wait and turned to the other cashier to ask if she had fifty cents.

I wanted to say, “O, meron naman pala eh,” (“Oh, you have change”) but I got the exact change back so I was slightly — only very slightly, mollified.

Is this the kind of practice SM pushes its personnel to do? It literally is shortchanging the customers. Think about it. If a thousand people shop at SM brand stores (not the ones that rent stalls in the malls, but places like the department store and supermarkets) and every one of them is shortchanged P0.25, that’s already a P250 “savings” for SM. The amount may not seem like much compared to what the malls earn in a day, but what if that shortchanging happens daily? For a year that equals to P91,250. Multiply that by the number of stores SM has all over the country.

In a way, it’s not about the money. It’s more of the principle. People go to SM (despite its many faults) because it’s accessible and it literally has it all for you. Products are fairly cheap, and it not only is a shopping place but also a place to hang out. But service is not the priority here, obviously, if management is allowing staff to shortchange their customers. I feel bad for the people who face the customers. I’m sure they don’t want to do this, afterall they’re the ones who get the brunt of a customer’s wrath.

I’m going ‘round in this argument, but I guess you get my drift. And I know for a fact that I am not the only one who has experienced this and is pissed off about it. Like I told a friend, “Mabuti pa yung FX sa Baguio. Nag susukli ng sakto.” (Taxi cabs in Baguio are better as they give the exact change to their customers.)

So before you leave the cashier, count your change and DEMAND that you get it to the last centavo. It is your right. After all, it is your money. I hope it resonates enough so SM management will take note and change their practice.


  1. Yep, they’ve been doing that for the longest time. I remember at one point i told the cashier to give my change to charity and they even gave me a receipt for that. Hope that’s legit too. lol

    1. Well at least you got a receipt. Hopefully it is legit.

      The problem is no one seems to be complaining much about it. I don’t know who will see this rant of mine, aside from you guys. It’s a bad practice and doesn’t speak well of the company’s motivations.

  2. I only notice this when the cashier asks me if its ok that I’m shortchanged. I really should pay more attention, this is kind of horrible.

    1. It’s definitely a bad practice! I understand if a cashier’s short on change once in a while, but nearly every time I get asked that. Kainis. Sometimes I use my BPI EPS or if I have the coins, I’d give them the exact change. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

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