What is a Groat?Edit
A "Groat" is a Gopher Reward Token (GRT) and is given to volunteers who help out at the convention.
Usually worth one pound, the rate of distribution is up to Ops or the Gopher Mom and can be, for example, one groat for each one hour worked. For a particularly hard job (e.g. half an hour moving books into the dealers room) then the Gopher Mom may decide to award extra groats.
Where can they be spent?Edit
Usually they can be spent in any bar or restaurant in the hotel.
Can I spend them on T-shirts?Edit
Sometimes there is an agreement that they can also be used in the Dealers Room or towards convention merchandise and membership in future conventions. In this case the current Eastercon has agreed to exchange groats received by dealers/other conventions for cash. Note: if such a deal is done, then the Eastercon may require all such groats to be redeemed on or before the Monday of the convention so that accounts can be balanced.
Can I keep my groats?Edit
Yes. They are usually made to a pretty design and many people decide to keep one or more as a souvenir.
What if I don't use all my groats during the convention?Edit
Then it's a pretty piece of paper you can keep as a souvenir. It has no monetary value, can not be used at the next convention and won't be exchanged for cash.
Can I get change for my groats?Edit
The usual agreement with the hotel is that they don't give change. So if you're buying a drink for £1.50 and give them two groats, you won't get 50p back. So either give them one groat and 50p cash, or buy two drinks and use three groats! The point of the groat is to give you food/drink/other benefit for helping out, not to give you cash (there are probably all sorts of tax and employment laws that we'd have to follow if we paid you!) so by not giving change we hope we're avoiding that issue ... and hotels often insist on it anyway (don't know why!)
Ok, but still, why Groat?Edit
See this Wikipedia article for the original Groat coins, issued in England and in Scotland, made of silver and worth fourpence/four pennies. And, as it says at the top of this page, A "Groat" is a Gopher Reward Token (GRT)