Change – this is something that Goans do in style.
I refer of course to money in this instance (although other things also never do seem to change in Goa)
It was brought to my attention yesterday, as to exactly how precious small change (coins in particular) is in this Indian state.
I had to pay Rs.172/- and actually offered the 2 rupees to the cashier in Big G – this being the main department store in Margao which seems to be the only shop in the area to stock the Tulsi teabags of Pomegranate and Methi (liquorice) that I love.
The lovely lady cashier expressed great delight and a big smile when I offered her the change saying “Wow – you have change!”
To a non-Goan visitor this may seem unusual. However, when you have lived here for a short time and been in a few shops that all offer goods selling at odd prices such as Rs.38/- Rs. 172/- Rs. 297/-, etc you will understand why there are so many little jars of sweets by the check outs in so many stores (particularly the supermarkets).
When shopkeepers have no small change in Goa (most of the time it seems!) they give you one of a variety of little sweets most of the time. Rarely will they wave the odd coins of change in your favour.
We called these little sweets penny-chews in England as they used to cost that in the sweet-shop. Thus you could with only a few pence always get a sweet treat without breaking the pocket-money bank. This was obviously important when two shillings was all you got for a week’s pocket money.
Two shillings (also known as 2 bob) consisted of twenty four OLD pennies and YES, I am going back to the 60’s now but I CAN still recall the joy of being able to go to the Saturday morning pictures and still have change for a comic and a few penny chews.
However, I digress. Let’s get back to Goa and the penny (rupee) sweets – not long after I had been congratulated on having change by the cashier in Big G I went to a supermarket in Benaulim to buy my favourite Mud face pack.
There I was greeted at the counter with a penny chew in change! In this case I had spent Rs. 199/- and the supermarket purported to have no change!
I have noticed that a lot of supermarkets here seem to price their goods at 199/- 299/- 395/- and other odd amounts instead of rounding them up or down to the nearest 10 rupees. You can no doubt see where I am heading with this!
They never have small change but always have lots of sweet jars (which are cheap to buy as a whole jar) from which they offer you a selection of different flavoured chews. This can become very annoying after a few times of shopping and only getting sweets which I don’t even want, never mind eat!
In fact it can be so annoying that I have been known on one occasion to save my sweets from a supermarket (who repeatedly did this to me even though I shop there regularly) and offer them back to them next time I had to buy something there. And yes, they DID take them – Hahahaha!
So you may be thinking – “Wow, this woman is mean. Why bother for a few pennies?” Well, I was brought up on the old adage “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.”
This saying means that if you take care not to waste small amounts of money you can accumulate capital.
So – if you are thinking I am a tight-fisted cow you could be right but in this case I also would say these shops are being clever businessmen and increasing their takings by making money out of money – or lack of it! “In for a penny in for a pound” seems to be their attitude.
NO change there then!