This is about pocket change. But it is also about change. Looking at change through lessons on pocket change. Hence named – 7 rules of pocket change.
Me – How much?
Fruit seller (FS) – 25
Me – 20
FS – 25
We locked eyes. like stubborn lovers, neither budged.
Me – last 22.
FS (sighs)- 23 & it’s yours.
I won. I extracted my wallet to give him 22 bucks which I knew he would accept despite his protests. I searched in my wallet – came up with a 50. SHIT.
I hand over the money. He looked at it, said –
FS – change nahi hai.
Now he had the upper hand. He took my 50 & handed back 27. He won. And that is the first rule –
Rule no 1: CHANGE always – or someone else will have the upper hand.
Buying small stuff for home early morning is always a pain. Just as I would be getting out of the house the requests would fly –
Apples for dad
Early morning, vendors like brisk business, no room for negotiations. So, I would round off the amount to the nearest ten digit. Example –
Me – How much for the eggs?
Eggs guy – 67 for 6
Me –(in best no-nonsense voice) 12 for 120. I don’t have change.
Take it or leave it. I would put my carry bag forward. Nine times out of 10 he would give in.
Rule No 2: Say NO CHANGE to make others see your way.
She – Use G-pay.
She – my regular veggie vendor was at least 70 years old. I was shopping for tomatoes. It came to 18 rupees for half a kg. Of course at 7.30 am she didn’t have change. But what surprised me more would be evident when i said –
Me – You have G-pay?
She showed me her QR code, hidden behind the pumpkins. Phrases like data protection, privacy violation, support local- pay cash flew around in my head. Reality – she had google pay. I did not.
ME – All these app companies are not good.
She – It’s great! They solve this CHANGE problem once & for all.
I bent lower to get closer, intimidatingly so & lowered my voice;
ME – Today they have your change. Tomorrow they sell your veggies.
I heard the gears turn in her brain- stop -CLICK. Her eyes shine.
ME – Will come back later, saying that I begin to leave.
Wait, she stopped me. Retrieved a small purse from within her blouse. Threw me a dirty look & gave me change. PHEW!
NO 3: Beware of applications that can change you.
As a child, mom would often send me out to run errands at the local grocery store owned by a Marwari guy. She would give me a 100 with strict instructions to get the exact change back.
But if bought goods worth 48 and gave him a 50 rupee, I would expect 2 rupees back. The thrifty shopkeeper instead of handing me change we would give me candy worth 2 bucks. Now which kid in his right mind would refuse candy?
I’d go back home & show mom the candy. She isn’t so thrilled, but what can she do? Later after lunch she would give me the candy. Shopkeeper happy, me happy. Which brings us to –
No 4 – When people expect CHANGE it’s an opportunity.
Auto-rickshaw guy – Don’t have change for his.
ME – Your fare is 300. I am giving you 500. That’s more than half your bill.
I stood my ground. He sighs, mutters stuff – finally reaches for his wallet & extracts change. So again –
No 5 – You get CHANGE only if you bring value to the table. ‘
As a kid I was never given pocket money. I would end up stealing change. I had turned pinching change from my mom’s till or Dad wallet into an art form. I would leave the big notes only pocket the change. This went on for some time. In a while I had enough change & got greedy. Now I wanted it converted to a 10 rupee note.
I asked another known crime master – my elder brother. Without exchanging a word, he knew this was a secret deal, no parents involved. On the house terrace, I handed over 10 rupees worth of change. He handed over cash – one 5 rupee, & two 2-rupee notes – added up to 9.
Me – Where’s one rupee?
Bro – Commission.
5 Slaps 3 blows 1 continuous wail & 1 irate dad later – change gone; money gone in exchange for a sound thrashing plus being branded a thief. Hard lesson but has to be said
No6 – CHANGE has to come the right way
I was at a sandwich guy near the bank. A little girl with her mother were about to enter it when the mother stopped & turned to the daughter. As mother & daughter were wearing masks, I could only see the eyes & hear the angry voice of the mother. I only caught the end portion which sounded like –
Mother – Grhgo!!! ## Go! @#$#& !!! WHY you brought it !!@@##% GET IT %@&#!!!
Mother entered bank leaving the little girl outside. Then in noticed the transparent plastic bag in her hand. She looked around before heading towards the same sandwich guy where I was standing. The man was busy on the phone. I saw the contents of the bag – Change – loads of it. All 5- & 10-rupee coins. \
In all probability her mother had asked her to change the coins outside the bank. She twiddles her feet – looks at me, I pretend to not notice. She peered at the sandwich fellow still busy on the phone. She felt conscious – clutched her coin, & ran back into the bank. At that minute the sandwich fellow (SF)turns –
Me – That small girl was waiting for you.
Sandwich fellow (SF) see the girl disappear into the bank.
Sf – What? Did she need a sandwich?
Me – She had change in her hands, wanted it exchanged.
SF smiled, shrugged.
Me – How much?
SF – 90.
I extract my wallet. I have 1 hundred & then all five hundred. I know if I give him 500, he will give me change. I’m good for that. I hand it over
SF – Don’t have change?
All I had to say was a simple NO. Instead, I said –
Me – I have. But if I give you, I don’t have any left. Don’t you have any change.
SF (lies easy)- Sorry sir, what to do? No change.
And that was that. that’s when it hit me –
No 7: Sometimes it’s better to wait for change.
Blog Post – Soni Anthony.
Photo credit – Pexels.com, CanvaPro, Soni Anthony.