Two New Yorkers spend six months 18 months!?! in Bangalore and other places in India.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Money Wants to Be Spent

Rupee Notes
Originally uploaded by jrambow.
Obviously, with our American dollars, we have a lot of relative wealth here. One unexpected complication, though, is that often the money that the ATMs spit out is too large to spend on everyday items. I'm talking about things like autorickshaws (most trips cost about 20 rupees), street food (around 10) and chai (5), and for small tips and such. Fifty rupee notes (about $1.10) are hard to use for things like these, 100 rupee notes very difficult, and 500 rupee notes just about impossible for many types of shopping. (There are 1000 rupee notes, but I haven't seen one yet. I don't know what I'd do with one if I had it, either.)

The ATMs usually deal in 100s and 500s, so you have to buy something immediately if you've let your hoard of 10s and 20s vanish by then. A friend of ours has taken to buying little 15- or 30- rupee items at the government-run crafts store specifically to turn his bigger bills into smaller ones. Obviously, the clerks there aren't happy about giving up their supplies of 10s and 20s, but so far they've had enough to hand out -- a lot of mom-and-pop places simply don't. The supply of smaller bills isn't large enough to match the need for them.

1 comment:

SeriouslyNoWay said...

Yeah, the Citibank ATM spit a whole slew of 1000 rupee notes at me. What the heck am I supposed to do with that? I ended up using them at fancier restaurants and anyplace where I was buying a lot of stuff (groceries, clothes, Mysore)