Food by VICE

This Cafe Is Banning Customers From Paying with Cash Stored In Their Underpants

“We have had people search for things in their pockets and just put their money back in their mouth until they've found it,” says Robin Weeks, an Australian cafe owner no longer accepting cash from patrons’ underwear.

by Phoebe Hurst
Oct 21 2015, 10:28am

Photo via Flickr user Mark Belokopytov

There's a case to be made for hospitality being one of the least hygienic industries.

Sure, doctors and nurses deal with bodily fluids on the reg and sewer workers probably don't feel that fresh after an eight-hour shift, but your average eatery is hiding a whole other world of grossness. Rat infestations, greasy dishes, kitchens staffed by people forced to work despite being sick—and that's before you've even started interacting with the customers.

Because for many waiters, waitresses, cashiers, and bartenders; customers—with their questionable table manners and slobbery children—are one of the yuckiest things about working in a restaurant or cafe.

READ MORE: Presenting a Cookery Show in My Underwear Didn't Make Me a Better Cook

But it seems patrons of one establishment are intent on pushing the boundaries of what constitutes acceptable public sanitation levels. This week, reports emerged that customers at an Australian cafe are paying for their morning coffee with money stored in ickily close proximity to their nether regions.

Yup, we're talking about sweaty crotch cash.

In the small town Carnarvon, Western Australia, the problem is so bad that Fascine Coffee Lounge has been forced to ban customers from paying with money stored in bras and underpants.


Photo courtesy Fascine Coffee Lounge/Facebook.

Speaking to ABC North West, owner Robin Weeks explained: "A couple of people pulled out money from their undies, other people from their bras. We have had people that have searched for things in their pockets and just put their money back in their mouth until they've found it."

Fed up with having to handle the moist notes, Weeks and the cafe's staff decided to post a notice on the cash register, reading: "WE DO NOT ACCEPT $$$$ FROM BRAS OR UNDERPANTS."

Pretty clear, right? We don't want your dirty underpants money. Problem solved.

Not quite. Weeks also told ABC that he feared his sign didn't stop the problem but merely forced it underground.

"We did keep the sign up for about two months but then people just caught on that they could take their money out of their bras before they came in," he said.

While the thought of someone retrieving a crumpled tenner from their Y fronts and expecting an aghast server to take it as acceptable tender is full-on gross, Weeks seems to be more concerned with women hiding money in their bras.

He added to ABC: "I know it's basically women, we've had some men that've put it in their jocks and pulled it out from there, [but] I know most women don't have pockets. I really don't know what to say."

You're not the only one, Robin. (N.B. someone should really make sure this guy doesn't get wind of Japan's latest tea fad.)

READ MORE: A Restaurant That Banned Kids Just Did Its Best Ever Weekend Trade

Fascine Coffee Lounge isn't the first establishment forced to slap an unconventional ban on its patrons. Earlier this year, another Australian joint barred kids after a profanity-laden altercation with two parents. While the owners received some backlash on social media, the response to their kid-free stance was largely positive and the restaurant ended up posting its best week of service not long after imposing the ban. Can Weeks and his staff expect similar success?

Maybe not. The brain-frying heat of Western Australia seems to make some residents inexplicably opposed to carrying bags (Australia, you're a li'l weird sometimes, we get it) because some, including Christine, a caller to ABC radio, are already protesting the ban.

She said: "I think it should be allowed, basically, speaking as a woman who often wears clothing without pockets. I agree that money is dirty in terms of bacterial stuff but I don't think being in a sweaty hand or being in a sweaty bra, [it] doesn't make any difference."

Or we could just put our money in one of those things human beings invented so that we no longer have to store possessions on our perspiring bodies. Y'know, like a purse or wallet?

Western Australia
Fascine Coffee Lounge