I recently spent a few days in jolly old London. I must admit, even this native New Yorker had to adjust to London’s speed. I wouldn’t say it’s New York on steroids. More like New York on creatine and protein shakes.
What is on steroids is the pound compared to the dollar. The prices are deceiving because they make sense in dollars but when you do the math you realize that your decision to super-size your cheeseburger meal at McDonald’s is really going to cost you 9 US dollars. That’s like airport in Beverly Hills prices. And Beverly Hills doesn’t have an airport.
The main reason an American and his money are soon departed in the UK is the usage of pound coins. They have a 1 pound, two pound and 5 pound coin. Coin I tell ya! My US mentality of being willy nilly with coins really wreaked havoc on my bottom line.
Sure we have dollar coins but they’re more of a novelty. When we get them our minds begin to race. The first thing we think is this dollar coin may be worth something. But the fact that it was dispensed as change from a ticket machine forces you to rethink your trip to the Antiques Road show. Our second thought is one of mild horror. Will this “dollar” get lost amongst my other change. What if I lose it or pass it on thinking it’s a quarter?! We have to rid ourselves of the shiny anomaly burning a hole in our pocket. It’s currency cooties and we’re looking to pass it on as soon as possible. You might even buy something you don’t want or need just to end it. And as you pay you have to repeatedly announce to the clerk that you’re handing him a dollar.
I will even give my dollar coins to a lucky transient. And as I drop in into his cup, I proudly declare that I’m giving him a dollar and he should be careful not to mix it up with the other “small” change others have given him. Maybe he could put my gracious gift in another pocket. Perhaps he should have another cup for dollar coins.
Usually though, my homeless beneficiary looks as annoyed by the coin as I was. Time to trade in my London coinage for some greenbacks.