Thursday, May 08, 2014


It's another holiday here in gorgeous France and I needed some cash for my day's shopping,  lunch and the long weekend. Some stores and Restaurants are open today, but banks are closed. The ATM is fine and faster any time of the day. I never take out a lot and today's 100.00 withdrawal is plenty. I like cash, but don't really need all that much. Sadly that machine did not give me an option what notes I'd like, as some of the newer models do nowadays.  I received one 100.00 Euro bill. I knew I'd be screwed.  Yes, now you say why did I not take out an extra 20.00? I did not want to, I have it, I spend it. That large bill is a legal tender. 

No worries, I start with lunch, a glass of wine with tip and that bill runs short of 20.00 and they'll be able to break a hundred no sweat.  It's not my first time there, the manager/owner knows me from sight and the Pasta was as always, fantastic.  When I walked up to the cash register to pay, not so easy. Sorry, we don't have change for a hundred. 
That's not a mom & pop joint I am going to, they have 130 seats and plenty of them were taken. And I am certain at 1.15 pm mine was not the first ticket being run through the till. Did all of them pay with cards? Is it possible that they do not have four lousy 20,00 bills in their till? Lunch was great and I'd like to go back without them spitting in my food, so I just caved quickly and did what I loathe to do, pay with my card. 

I can always go around the corner to NOZ, a national chain of discount stores and buy some things I don't need and break my bill.  Making it short, I gave back my purchases of less than ten bucks, nothing really that important. The cashier steadfastly refused to accept my bill. Not enough business by early afternoon to have so much change. I really really doubted her. her demeanor was one of " I am not paid enough to take responsibility for a fake bill".
You know I could make this whole thing into a rant about France and it's small minded folks, but to be fair, you all have similar stories I guess.

But I really did not like the feeling of having only one bill in my pocket. It felt the same as running around without cash. 
LIDL to the rescue. Big, busy grocery store on my way home, I needed some salad and things anyway. I'll do it there. In the past, many times even when I just paid with a 20.00 Euro bill, the cashier would double check the validity of my money with a counterfeit pen. Never gave them a fake one yet. 
Ehm,  you know where this is going........I went shopping with a full belly and only bought stuff for 8,56 Euros. And yes, she refused my 100.00 bill!!! LIDL? Why? By now it's two bloody thirty in the afternoon, they have to have cash on hand. Thousands and thousands. For whatever reason, maybe they have to put their till money in a safe or something, I needed to pay with my card again. No way was she going to use her pen and check my money.

I know it's a trivial post and yet my mind cannot compute the challenge large denominations are posing to people.  Cash is not evil. 
For sure there is fraud out there and retail managers drill their staff to be extra vigilant with large bills. But 100.00 is really not all that much money these days. FYI, there is a 500.00 Euro bill available, can you imagine the fun paying with it?
 Heck, half of Italy's economy is based on cash transactions and the country is still functioning fairly well. Let's not mention South America.
I have no idea where it all started and how we became such a cashless society, but venture to guess it may have to do with America's failed war on drugs and all it's oh so evil side effects, such as money laundering.  How sad is that thought, knowing Colorado is cashing it in to the tune of 100 million on tax revenue alone. Suck on this, Nancy.
Or could it be that bank cards and credit cards are the single largest profit makers in banking? 
I am going to the bank tomorrow and change that bill into smaller denominations. No sweat. I hope.






Emm said...

Maybe if you went to the service desk, if there is such a thing? It's possible the stores have instructed cashiers not to take such large bills. In the US, it's sometimes hard to use a large bill.

Nadege said...

I NEVER have cash with me. I got cash stolen so many times at work that I got tired of it (now makeup disappear from my kit -which really makes you wonder about people working in "Hollywood"). With "le pont" I think banks will be close on saturday.

H.Peter said...

well you know Emmm, I never had trouble getting 99 singles back from a Stripper in Vegas......

H.Peter said...

Not good Nadege, If theft is below one million, why do it? I never understood petty crime.

keenast said...

I feel your pain - though that could happen also in LA! A $20.00 bill would be the biggest on I carry ;)

H.Peter said...

Most likely possible.
Maybe I am spoiled from living in cash rich Vegas?