Why you should fill in the blanks on Barter scrip

Many barter exchanges issue scrip that can be used at restaurants that are in the exchange.  Often they come in 10 dollar increments and they have a spot on each to enter your name and the name of the restaurant where you are spending the scrip.  Filling out 10 of these for a $100 tab is a pain and in the past I never could see a good reason why I should bother.   Well let me tell you….I do now.

Recently I got a call from my broker.  She was asking about some script that had been dumped on a local restaurant that doesn’t accept regular barter scrip.  Apparently the customer dropped the scrip on the table and hit the door before the owner realized what happened.  Here’s the kicker though…the scrip has a tracking number on it and it was scrip that I purchased from my exchange.  What’s even more amazing is that the scrip was used at the bar and I haven’t tasted alcohol in over 10 years!  After a bunch of calls and emails my broker and I are pretty sure we figured out what happened.  What we suspect is  that I spent the scrip in a legitimate transaction with a local restaurant that accepts the the scrip, but I didn’t fill out the form on the scrip.  I left it blank.  Then the owner of the restaurant probably gave it to a friend or staff member who then, not knowing how the scrip is supposed to be used, dumped it on an unsuspecting restaurant that doesn’t even accept that type of scrip as payment.  Lucky for me, my broker knows and trusts me and she believes me that it wasn’t me who did the “dining and dashing.”

By at least putting the restaurant’s name on the scrip when you spend it, you can ensure this will not happen to you.  Once that restaurant’s name is on the scrip, only they can turn it into the  exchange for credit.  That is important because it protects you from being blamed when/if someone else abuses the scrip by spending it the wrong place or by not paying the tip/tax in cash as they should.  Also by filling out the scrip you insure that your exchange will get their appropriate transaction fee.

So the take-away here is to fill out those blanks on your scrip.  I know it’s a pain, but it’s worth it!  I learned the hard way.