I was at Menard's a couple weeks ago buying a bag of mulch for putting my roses to bed (we need winter protection for roses here in the great, white north). The bill came to $4.01 with tax and, as usual, I didn't have any change with me. I gave the guy a $5 bill and expected him to give me $0.99 back. Instead, he said, "No need to give you all that change back" (or something like this) and handed me a $1 bill.
This was the sort of treatment that used to be commonplace among retailers. I can remember as a kid that it seemed like a "rule" in my small town -- if the customer was lacking a penny or two, the retailer simply paid that part of the transaction so the customer didn't get a ton of change back (which very few people like to carry.) This practice then morphed into the "penny jars" at various establishments where you could pick up a penny if you needed it or leave one (or more) for someone else if you had extra. It was a system where customers worked together to eliminate the dreaded handful of change issue.
But this too seemed to go by the wayside. Sure, some retailers still have a penny jar (I see it mostly at rural gas stations), but most don't. I guess with the combination of people paying more by credit card as well as retailers working to squeeze every penny of profit they can, the options of the retailer picking up the cost of a penny and the penny jar are not really viable today.
That's why I was shocked when the guy at Menard's spotted me a penny -- and I thought it was worth a mention. I guess there are still some retailers out there who do that little extra to make their customers happy. Well done, Menard's.