Location : The Supermarket
I buy some grocery items and cosmetics. I stand in queue at the billing counter and when my turn arrives, the person at the counter scans the items and tells me the amount. It is 439 INR. I give him a 500 INR note and he hands me back 60 INR and one eclairs toffee instead of Re 1.
WTH!! Many of you must have faced a similar situation. Why am I unhappy with one of the most popular chocolates? Because
# It is not a fair exchange
# In reality I am being forced to buy something instead of getting money due.
# You know how a pot of water fills by drops of water. Similarly losing change at grocery stores and other such places regularly is actually creating a big difference.
# Chocolates and candies are bad for teeth so there can be an increase in dental bills
# Chocolates and candies are high in saturated fat, and a large part of the calories in this food come from sugars. This food also has Trans Fat.
# Most importantly I want my change and I DO NOT want an eclairs!
A survey conducted in 2012 by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in response to complaints from the public, found that 44% of people in 12 Indian cities had the same experience; candies instead of coins for change.
According to The Hindu dated 4 April 2013, 18 bank branches have been identified to distribute coins daily and tide over the shortage
1. There is a dearth of Rs. 2, Rs. 5 coins in many cities across India
2. Banks say they distribute 10-30 bags, each containing 2,500 coins, every month
3. RBI has pumped in coins worth nearly Rs. 16 crore over the past year
After RBI’s decision, coin counters in banks have closed down and the shortage of small-denomination notes and coins has hit the roof. Small-time traders and merchants depend heavily upon these coin counters at banks. There is a huge bottleneck in the circulation of coins in the market. For my research for this post, I came to know that shopkeepers and retailers are forced to pay 8% premium to get 100 Re1 coins in the black market. This means they pay Rs8 to Rs10 extra to get 100 coins in Re1, Rs2 and Rs5 denominations. But why do they do that? Because of customers who want their change back and they are not wrong in doing that. But due to insufficient coin circulation, customers are not able to give change but want their due change. Moreover, customers are choosy about which coins they want; the 50-paise coin being the least popular. Though RBI has not discontinued 50 paise coins, people refuse to accept them including beggars. But there are some places where they are still in use.
Some shopkeepers blame the ATMs that churn out only notes of large denominations, some shopkeepers allege that the coins are all taken to Tamil Nadu, melted and made into razor blades. Confused? ’The one rupee coin after melting can yield six to seven blades, making its total worth over Rs 50. The shopkeepers are turning to beggars and eunuchs for help! But even the beggars are refusing to part with the precious change and if they do, they charge extra for it. Shopkeepers also procure coins from temples and churches, who also don’t give it for free.
Some of the coin counters still functioning are predated by agents who are actually into this very business..they have an understanding with bank officials at the counters and get coins easily instead of shopkeepers standing in queue. Later they sell these coins at a profit to desperate retailers.
A possible solution to this problem, the note to coin change machine made by UK-based Thomas Automatics has been acquired by the government and 150 of those have been installed in banks, railway stations and temples across India since 2003 as of 2007. But it has its own set of issues like equipment failure, low public acceptance etc.
That day is not far when we, the consumers, have to start giving eclairs toffee to toll booths, shopkeepers etc. Toll booths have not started giving eclairs toffee yet but I think they are the ones who should. Maybe the toffee will have some calming effect on drivers and help prevent accidents. 🙂
or maybe RBI can just declare the eclairs toffee as the new Re 1 coin.
P.S. Chillar means change in Hindi. Candies as change can kill us with diabetes hence the name “Killer Chillar” 😀
Appeal to the Public from RBI Website
The Bank, with active co-operation from various agencies, has endeavoured to distribute the coins in an equitable manner to all parts of the country. The mission cannot be successful without unstinting support from the people at large and the various voluntary agencies. Members of public are requested to avoid holding on to coins and instead, use them freely for transactions to make sure that there is a smooth circulation of coins. Voluntary agencies are requested to educate the public about the various facilities available in their areas for distribution of coins, exchange of soiled notes and proper handling of notes.
P.P.S I missed again on Day 17. I was physically and exhausted due to a tiring day at work.
These days, I don’t get eclairs – Shop keepers give me the actual change. But it used to happen a few years earlier. BTW, I too stock a few 1/2/5 rupee coins in my house for using while I don’t have change 🙂
I had no clue about this razor blade business using the 1 re coins!
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