Shopping in the USA is much fun! So much to see and so much to buy. But the fun stops at the cashier. Now I know why so many Americans pay with a credit/ATM card! It’s because of the small change. My wallet is full with it, especially with pennies (1 cents).
In stores, the prices often end with 99 cents, because you rather buy a product for 2.99 then 3 dollars. This means that I would get one penny (one cent) back from the cashier. When the cashier rings up my purchase, the 2.99 changes into 3.24, due to taxes added. So, I should give the cashier 24 cents in small change, but then it will take me longer to do my payment and I don’t want the people behind me waiting for too long. I therefore pay 4 dollars and end up getting lots of small change in return. It happens to me every time and of course I constantly forget that I already have so much change.
In Europe, the taxes are always included in the price, so 1.99 is really 1.99 when you get to the cashier. Secondly, pennies are no longer used in the Netherlands. In Europe we officially have 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins, and 1 and 2 Euro coins. Before the Euro was introduced, the Netherlands had already phased out the 1 cent coin. The smallest coin was a 5 cent coin (a nickel). When the Euro came, everybody was annoyed. Very quickly after the introduction, it became a marketing stunt for stores not to use any cents anymore. The prices were still in cents, but at the cashier it would be changed in a 5 or 0 digit. So 1.99 would become 2 Euros and 1.97 would become 1.95. But I could be wrong and the reason that stores don’t use pennies anymore is because they had to buy a different register for the new coins when the Euro arrived.
Another reason why American change makes me crazy, is the size of the coins. There is no logic to it. The dime (10 cents) is smaller than the nickel (5 cent coin). I wonder why, it’s not logical. The Euro coins are going from small to big and their edges are different, so blind people can easily recognize them. But of course, the Euro is a relatively new currency and the dollar is very old. I wonder if it is an issue in the US or with the banking system to get the coins changed. Soon I will be visiting Washington and hopefully visit the Bureau of Engraving & Printing, where they design and print the dollars. Maybe they can answer my questions.