A few weeks ago, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported that certain busy Chipotle locations in the area were rounding -- up and down -- the total amount on receipts to avoid dealing with pesky, inefficient pennies. "The idea," a spokesman told the paper, "Is simply to limit the possible combinations of change on cash transactions to keep the lines moving quickly in high volume areas."
Following "consumer queries about rounding," the chain will now round down in the customer's favor and disclose on its receipts exactly how totals are rounded. Nonetheless, as time is money -- especially for lawyers -- a federal class action lawsuit was recently filed against Chipotle in Los Angeles over the chain's penny pinching policy.
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The lawsuit claims that rounding not only nickel and dimes customers, but also violates various contract, unfair competition and state consumer protection laws. On behalf of anyone in California who bought an gargantuan burrito or other item from any of the chain's state locations between Aug. 30, 2008 and the present, the suit seeks a court order to stop Chipotle from engaging in its allegedly "deceptive practices" and requests that damages to be paid to all affected class members.
The exact dollar amount of damages is not specified in the suit, but, if we've learned anything from Richard Pryor in Superman III, it's that all these extra pennies here and there can add up to quite a bit of change.
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