Pocket money

I think I’ve figured out why Europe’s economy is in strife. Everyone’s having trouble finding their small change. I now realise why the Australian government took away my carefully saved copper coins in the early 90s. One and two cent coins are the most troublesome things on earth. Every few weeks, I gather up the shrapnel collecting in our dish, our wallets and pockets, and discover that I have several kilograms worth. I then lug this down to one of Botnang’s three supermarkets to diligently use it up. Of course, counting out any amount in copper coins is an agonising process. My clumsiness with the coinage coincides with the German style of grocery shopping, whereby one must unpack their groceries, move through the checkout saying “hallo” to the checkout person, produce bags and repack their groceries, pay and take change and (crucially) move away from the checkout to make room for the next shopper, in the space of around thirty seconds. When it comes time for me to pay, I feel the eyes of every person in the room boring into me as I fumble with handfuls of change. The seconds tick by. I panic, drop coins and eventually thrust a note into the waiting hand. I then head home with my original coin collection, plus the handful I just received in change. Being clearly foreign and looking a little pathetic, I’m usually favoured with patient smiles and piteous glances by my German counterparts as all this unfolds. Nevertheless, it’s enough to leave me feeling about the size of a one cent coin.

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3 Responses to “Pocket money”


  1. 1 Jo June 13, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Oh Ally. I understand, at least in part. I was quite overwhelmed the first few times, probably the first FIVE times, I went to ALDI. My poor veggies ended up with tins on top of them in the trolley in my uncoordinated rush. However, I was at least dealing in the same currency. Is there a bank anywhere near? Can you just exchange all your shrapnel for real money every now and then to make life a little easier for now? I’m sure you’ve already thought of that option, it’s just what came into my head.

    It’s still such a treat every time I get a MavisandFrank notification in my inbox!! I missed you at church tonight…as I usually do. It’s not the same walking in without you there too. Much love to you. xoxo

  2. 2 ashley @ Chasing Heartbeats June 22, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Shopping at ALDI was a total shock the first few times I checked out there. The check out woman literally throws your food into the cart if you are not fast enough doing it your self…. One time I was using my purse as a grocery bag and the woman grabbed my bag and started loading it up herself as I was too slow. I have definitely learned to pay with bills or cards at the supermarket but save my change for the bakery when you dont always have a line tapping their impatient feet behind you. But i still do not understand the need for both 1 and 2 cent coins!!! I totally understand having a collection of them around.
    xo ashley

    • 3 mavisandfrank June 27, 2010 at 7:41 am

      Thanks ashley, I’m glad someone feels my pain. My local backerei staff are extremely patient with me! They even make me work it out in German before they tell me in English.


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