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What value the Jamaican 25-cent coin?

Published:Saturday | August 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM


On August 3, 2014, my daughter ordered food at Scotchie's in St Ann and her bill was $640. She gave them a combination of paper and coinage, including four 25-cent coins, totalling $640 exactly. She was told that they do not take 'red money'.

In the interest of good customer service, one would have thought that they would either accept the 25-cent coins or give her the original order for $639, but instead she was told to "take off a bread". So as not to cause a disturbance, she simply paid with a thousand-dollar bill.

When I heard the story, I was incensed, as to my knowledge, the 25-cent coin is legal tender in Jamaica. The following day I called and spoke to the manager of Scotchie's, who told me that they do not accept US coins. I explained that I was speaking about Jamaican currency and she said, "Well, we do not take coins." I explained that if that were indeed the policy of her company, it should post this so that patrons need not be embarrassed.

I then called the Bank of Jamaica, whose representative agreed that the coins were indeed legal tender and should be accepted.

During the next week, my daughter and I tested the policy of other businesses. At Burger King, she tendered four 25-cent coins and was told by the attendant to keep them because she "don't understand dat", and even though short by a dollar, she was given her meal. At a jewellery store, my bill was $900.25. I tendered a thousand-dollar bill along with a 25-cent piece and was given $100 change. At the Simplicity store, my bill was $300.30. In this case, I used a $500 bill and three 10-cent coins and was given $200 in change.

We recognise that there is little value to sub-dollar denominations. However, as it is legal tender, why are some companies allowed to discriminate and not accept them? Can someone please enlighten me?

Carrol Chin Lenn