This Subway location on Water Street, near George Street, in St. John’s is the only one in the capital region still accepting cash after 10 p.m. — Photo By Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram
If you’re visiting Subway late at night, your money’s no good — at least not your cash.
Most of the sandwich chain’s locations in the St. John’s area don’t accept cash after 10 p.m. in an effort to prevent theft. Only debit cards and credit cards are accepted for payment until locations reopen in the morning.
Todd Petten, manager of the Water Street Subway near Clift’s-Baird’s Cove, said it was a directive from the local head office for security reasons.
“It’s for all of our Subway locations — not just for downtown, but in Paradise and Mount Pearl,” he said, adding that the policy was implemented at least a year and a half ago due to an increasing number of robberies.
In fact, Statistics Canada’s most recent crime statistics suggest robbery in St. John’s is declining, with a drop of 43 per cent in 2011 over the year before; however, 2011 also saw several high-profile robberies in the area, including a robbery of a Paradise Subway, in which the thief used a crowbar.
Petten added that the Subway he manages hasn’t been robbed, and so far the late-night cash-free policy hasn’t been a problem for customers.
“A lot of our customers are regular, and they know our policies.”
The other Water Street Subway, near George Street, is the exception to the late-night cash-free policy, according to that location’s manager, Florence Li.
“We still accept cash after 10 p.m. here,” she said.
“This one is a special one because we’re close to downtown, and we’re open 24 hours, and it’s for business reasons. A lot of people go downtown, (and) they don’t have a (debit) card with them; they just have cash.”
Li referred further inquiries to Susan Gallant, director of relations for the Butler Group, which operates the area’s Subways, but Gallant did not return messages requesting comment.
Gaylynne Lambert, marketing and events co-ordinator for the
St. John’s Downtown Development Commission, said she isn’t aware of any other businesses downtown turning away cash late at night.
“It’s the first I’ve heard of it,” she said. “It’s probably a smart move for them, since they have so many locations and they are open late, many of them.”
And for anyone wondering if stores are legally required to accept legal tender, the Bank of Canada’s Monique LeBlanc says they’re not; both parties have to agree on a method of payment in a transaction, so a store doesn’t have to accept cash if it decides not to for any reason.
“It’s a private agreement between the buyer and the seller. There’s no law that requires anyone to accept bank notes or any other form of payment,” said LeBlanc, the bank’s senior regional representative, currency, in Atlantic Canada. “Really, it comes down to a customer service issue. Retailers need to make the decisions and take the precautions that work best for them.”