Imagine you're in a bar and order a pint of beer, which is £3.20. You only have a £10 note but want to tip the barkeeper. As you can't use 'keep the change' for obvious reasons, what do you say to tip the barkeeper 80 pence, making the total price £4?
closed as primarily opinion-based by tchrist♦, FumbleFingers, phenry, Matt Gutting, Chenmunka Dec 4 '14 at 18:45
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I am occasionally in the same situation when I want to tip a taxi driver.
Converting to your problem, I would say:
Make it 4 pounds.
or if that is not clear:
Make it 4 pounds and keep the difference.
This is in my country (Australia) where tipping is uncommon, however.
Thinking about it even more, sometimes I add the word "Just" to the front of the sentence. Not sure why.
An equivalent would be: "Just 6£ back is fine."
Sometimes it takes the driver/bartender a moment to realize what you're saying and that you're not trying to cheat them, though.
I agree with the given answers, but for completeness I'd like to add the obvious option which avoids the possible awkwardness, risk of miscommunication, and (admittedly slight) inconvenience to your server all caused by telling them to do the math for their tip themselves: don't.
Pay your bill, get all of your change back, then give them their tip. If you're expecting a large amount for change, make sure to ask for it to be broken up into small enough denominations to pay the tip for.
I just noticed JamesRyan's comment, which seems to share this sentiment. He also adds that some tills don't allow employees to "round the price off", so telling a server who uses such a till to get their own tip would certainly be inconvenient (perhaps even dangerous) for them, or else awkward when they tell you they can't.
Just call it four
To complement geometrikal's answer, I use this. It is a very relaxed and informal way to say 'keep the change' without having to explicitly explain the amount you wish to tip, but still conveying the exact amount.
There is little confusion if you pass over the money as you say it and it sounds much less awkward than trying to explain the amount you wish to tip or the amount you wish in return.
Whenever I'm in the bar and order a drink which I pay for one drink at a time with cash I (and lots of others that I see) leave the change on the bar while I drink. In the event that I have a second drink I will take the price out of what's sitting on the bar. When I'm ready to leave I take what I want and leave the rest. Also, push the money forward when you leave.
Of course this might not be a good solution for crowded bars where your money might get stolen. You can still just take the change you want and leave the rest on the bar.
If the bill is 3.20 (doesn't matter pounds, usd, cnd), I'll just say "take 4". This is for a bartender, cabbie, delivery driver, whatever. It's succinct and they get it.
If the bill is 16.50 and I say take 18, he knows the over is his and since I told him to take 18 and 18 > 16.50 he knows exactly where he stands. Even if he sucks at math (common problem with delivery drivers around me.) Saying something like 'gimme 2 back' always makes them stop and think ime and if it's not the most straightforward addition/subtraction I see the gears turning and it takes longer to get my change.
In those sensible countries whose worker economy does not rely predominantly upon the random generosity of strangers (which never made any sense to me at all, but there we go), the cost of item X is C(X) and C(X) is what the till comes up with when you hit the button for X. It's insanely awkward to be given D but instructed to charge E, then to try to get the till to accept E as payment for X instead of C(X) whilst rendering D-E in change. And then all you're going to do is put D-C(X) in a little jar anyway.
At best it takes a moment to figure out; at worst it ruins the end-of-day take calculations when a take of T is no longer equal to C(X)*N(X) across all items X. It could even throw off a stock check if executed sufficiently poorly by front-line staff. Even worse, bosses could start to suspect misconduct from staff fiddling the money they've been given by customers, and it would be difficult to prove your innocence from video-only surveillance.
Just make your transaction like a normal person, paying D for X and getting D-C(X) as change in return … then say "here, keep this; I have enough shrapnel as it is!", make an audible awkward chuckle, smile, and walk away.