Most Subways don’t take cash late at night

Daniel MacEachern
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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.”

Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Statistics Canada, Butler Group, Downtown Development Commission Bank of Canada

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, George Street, Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • dj
    April 28, 2013 - 08:32

    If they were truly concerned about employee safety they would not have them working alone at night. By implementing this policy they are acknowledging the problem, but are only protecting their profits and not their employees.

  • wavy
    April 25, 2013 - 22:56

    Can you blame them? With the things that have been going on in St. John's the past several years? The number of thefts, B&Es, sexual assaults, MURDERS, etc. The city is not safe anymore. The people I really pitty are the hot dog guys on George St. Can you imagine doing that job? We all know the only solution that will work at this point, the only option, is to increase police presence and foot patrols. And that costs money- lots of it (do you know what cops are getting paid these days?!?) and that's the problem. There's where you spend your $1,000,000 gift from govt., not some two-bit taskforce.

    • Jack
      April 26, 2013 - 06:30

      That's still not a good excuse. As you're aware, many cities across Canada have Subway locations at high risk areas, but you don't see them complaining and implementing debit/credit only policies during late night/early morning periods. Let's use Halifax as an example. Throughout the Greater Halifax Area, many Subway locations are situated at high risk areas such as Fairview, Clayton Park, Spryfield, North End Dartmouth (particularly Highfield Park), but you don't see them having a cash ban during the late night. St. John's Subways need to start showing some self-discipline like other major Canadian cities, and get rid of this foolish policy.

  • CW
    April 25, 2013 - 22:12

    Subway (especially Butler Group), has no regard for the safety of their employees! Mount Pearl Gibson Subway has one kid working overnight alone and their safety protocol is to have the other Subway call once during the shift if they are lucky! Meanwhile the employee deals with groups of drunk people all night on their own! They could be dead on the floor for hours before anyone would know something happened. So don't give Subway any credit for thinking about their staff, far from the truth!

  • Kent
    April 25, 2013 - 16:44

    I don't have to pay 50 cents every time I use my debit card. You need to go to a better bank, or change the type of account you have with your current bank. If this discourages armed robberies I'm all for it.

  • david
    April 25, 2013 - 13:26

    What a tribute to the state of lawlessness in St. John's. Having to change the way we live and interact just to counter the petty criminals that infested and have now overrun the place. What a anutter, shameful disgrace. "Newfoundland isn't like the mainland",'s a completely different kind of awful.

  • Adam
    April 25, 2013 - 13:12

    @ Jackie: "To add insult to injury, he was smiling and laughing at me, which amounted to discrimination due to my disability" I may be wrong but that doesn't seem like discrimination to me, it seems like poor customer service and an immature attitude on the part of the server.

  • BC
    April 25, 2013 - 11:40

    The whole lot of you are not even seeing the point of this article. It is not about the Special Olympics, it is about the safety of employees. If you see an issue with that, you need to take a good look in the mirror. God forbid you would have to use an interac machine. I am sure you do not shop anywhere where this happens. If it is that bad for you, load some money on a Subway card. Good for you, Subway, for thinking about the well being of your employees. Kudos.

  • Gordon Gekko
    April 25, 2013 - 10:10

    The only thing they are protecting is the cash register, they don't care one iota about the safety of their employees. The drug addicts who hold up late-night businesses don't read the Telegram, they don't know the store's policy, all they know is that they need money. When they are holding a knife to a Subway employee they do not want to hear about store policy. When you are the employee in an armed robbery you just want to hand over some cash and get the guy out of the store, and if you claim there is no cash on hand it is likely to get you stabbed.

  • Former Special Olympian
    April 25, 2013 - 09:44

    I was involved with Special Olympics for nearly 2 decades. I retired 4 years ago (due to personal issues), but I am planning on returning to Special Olympics after a long hiatus. I must say, the fact that Subway dropped Special Olympics Day gives me even more reason for me to not do business with Subway any longer. I'd rather Quizno's for my sub fix, even if it does cost more. But the main reason why I no longer deal with Subway is because of the way I want the bread cut (in a similar fashion to Mr. Sub). My request tends to turn a task that takes 10 seconds into a task that takes TEN MINUTES! Folks, it's not rocket science to cut bread the way I wanted it, isn't it? As a result of such unexpectedly long task, plus now their lack of caring for Special Olympics, I have not set foot into a Subway location as a means of retaliation.

    • Jackie Barrett
      April 25, 2013 - 10:14

      That's exactly the point. Once again, in the mid 2000's, Subway had their Special Olympics Days every May where a portion of revenue raised from sub sales went to Special Olympics Canada as part of their "Support and Share" campaign. During that time, the poster boy for Subway, Jared Fogle, was featured alongside Special Olympics Canada athletes promoting this campaign on their television advertisements. However, in 2009, Subway terminated their agreement with Special Olympics Canada as well as stopped their Special Olympics Day campaigns. Since Special Olympics Canada as well as their provincial territorial chapters operate or razor thin revenues in compared to other major non-profit organizations across Canada, losing just one major sponsor can have a negative impact on their programs and services. However, terminating sponsorship with Special Olympics Canada was not the only reason why I stopped going to Subway, especially in Corner Brook. Their substandard service and now forcing customers to pay extra with debit/credit card only purchases, keep in mind it costs a consumer 50 cents each time you use it, customers will be paying a greater price for their "Air Canada" style policies. Another thing, when I was living in Halifax, some Subway locations were at high risk areas like Spryfield, but you didn't see them reject cash purchases after a different time, so why should St. John's be any different?

    • Mary
      April 25, 2013 - 10:33

      It's a sub! I love it when I'm in line behind someone like you. Cut my bread this way, 6 pickles not 7, not those tomatoes they look too fresh, 8 lines of mayo not 2... when they leave I usually get to have a good laugh with the one who is working. Gotta love people with demands and no patience. Back to the article: Excellent job SUBWAY. Finally a business who is thinking about their employees and no just the bottom line.

    • Ryan
      April 25, 2013 - 10:52

      Really... Complaining about the way the bread is cut. If you want your bread cut similar to mr. Sub, then go to mr sub. And complaining that subway doesn't have special oylmpics day anymore. But I bet when they did, all you special oylmpics didn't complain about the way the bread was cut, or the quality. Because you were getting it for free. Seems to me you people want everything for free.

  • Pram
    April 25, 2013 - 09:28

    I dont think this article covers everything . I eat at subway frequently especially in the night .They do accept exact cash overnight all the time ,in case u don't have exact tender they transfer the remaining tender to the subway gift card which one can use anytime ..I think u need to personally visit one of the stores overnight ,may be have a sub and get ur facts right rather than providing incomplete information in the article .

  • Pram
    April 25, 2013 - 09:27

    I dont think this article covers everything . I eat at subway frequently especially in the night .They do accept exact cash overnight all the time ,in case u don't have exact tender they transfer the remaining tender to the subway gift card which one can use anytime ..I think u need to personally visit one of the stores overnight ,may be have a sub and get ur facts right rather than providing incomplete information in the article .

  • Jane
    April 25, 2013 - 09:20

    So reassuring to hear how concerned subway is about the safety of their employees. Awesome job!

  • JJT
    April 25, 2013 - 08:04

    Wow! I just want a sandwich not a crusade. Makes sense not to have cash around overnight. Things are getting more and more dangerous all the time around here.

  • Jackie Barrett
    April 25, 2013 - 07:15

    Because Subway are well known for treating customers and non-profit organizations with contempt, especially Special Olympics Canada, I stopped going to Subway as an act of protest. In the case of Special Olympics Canada, during the mid 2000's, Subway was an active supporter of this great organization. They even had Special Olympics Days every May at their locations. However, in 2007 or 2008, they stopped support Special Olympics Canada as well as related "Support and Share" campaigns. As a result of Subway's snub towards Special Olympics Canada, poor sandwich quality, poor service, and gouging people with debit and credit card purchases only which they don't realize cost at least 50 cents per customer use as well as slow service down, I no longer go to any Subway anymore. In the meantime, if anyone has a complaint against Subway or its parent company, Doctor's Associates, I encourage you to go to their websites and file a complaint as this company has to work more on their customer and community service, especially after their mistreatment towards Special Olympics Canada in cutting support from this organization.

    • Susanne
      April 25, 2013 - 08:10

      Jackie are you kidding me? Subway is a great business. I'm not, nor have I ever been an employee of the company but you are clearly with the Special Olympics crew. I'm sure when Subway was supporting your cause, the sandwiches were awesome and they had great customer service. Protest all you want! Hope you enjoy whatever floats your boat, but this story was about late night store safety that EVERYONE has been wanting. I think it's an excellent idea not to have cash in stores on the overnight shifts. Who would rob a store that doesn't have money in it? Thank you Subway for starting what will hopefully be a common business practice. Your staff and their families will thank you. Jackie ... grow up.

    • Jackie Barrett
      April 25, 2013 - 10:05

      Susanne, after reading your comment, you should be the one who grows up. I visited Subway restaurants many times in the Corner Brook area, and their service levels are terrible. In fact, at one time, when I ordered a Meatball Sub and wanted it toasted, but the server didn't do it. To add insult to injury, he was smiling and laughing at me, which amounted to discrimination due to my disability. After this incident, I stopped going to Subway restaurants, especially in the Corner Brook area. As for accepting only debit and credit cards, not only do they cost consumers extra money as they have to pay an additional 50 cents in bank service charges each time they are used, it also slows service levels down as it takes up to two minutes to process debit and credit card transactions. Secondly, as a Special Olympian myself, I'm more than appalled at you for insulting Special Olympics. In case you never watched a Special Olympics event or even compete or volunteer in it, when you meet them or see their athletic prowess, you'll be so inspired from their performances and ability to break perceived barriers that you'll think twice before saying anything negative about them. Susanne, at the end of the day, whether you like it or not, I'm proud to be a Special Olympian.