Last week I paid electricity bill at one of e-Samparks, the counter boy did not return balance of one rupee. When I demanded, he returned one rupee but he was not happy.
And, I gave a twenty-rupee note to buy two samosas worth INR 18.00. The shopkeeper gave me two toffees instead of returning two rupees. On my refusal to accept the toffees, he gave me two rupees. So, he had change.
“Will the shopkeeper sell me a samosa for nine toffees?” I would like to know.
Some shopkeepers even do not compensate with a toffee (s), forget about returning one or two rupee coins. It happened many times in the past as well.
Once the shopkeeper refused to return balance of one rupee and insisted on toffee. He canceled the sale and I had to return the items bought. Both he and I were losers in the entire episode: He did not do business. I did not get what I needed.
Some people tell me that I am a skinflint. It is just a one rupee. Some of you may also think the same way.
But I tell them it is not just one rupee. I would like to quote the saying, “Each drop makes an ocean” to elaborate my point of view. If a shopkeeper does not return one rupee to say 50 customers per day, he is making extra fifty rupees. The extra money is not earned by him; it is “extracted” from the customers. Thus it is illegal money. If he gives fifty toffees in place of the fifty coins, he is still making money because the toffees bought in bulk do not cost one rupee per piece. Many times shopkeepers may get the toffees free-of-charge because distributing free samples of the new products is a common practice. It is forced sale of toffees which may not be doing well. Bigger shopkeepers who serve large number of customers, so, make more money this way. My advice is that everyone should insist on loose change and shouldn’t accept toffees.
This has another implication: “Killing” the one and two rupee coins is adding to inflation.
Five years ago it was fifty paisa coin: Public Call Office (PCO) attendants, for example, would never return a fifty paisa coin. I used to have argument with them in vain. They used to mock at me: “Stingy.”
My question is: “Is small change a problem?”
Reliable sources say there is no shortage of coins in the market.
Then, why people do not return change?
Will a shopkeeper pay extra money while he is shopping?
Will a shopkeeper accept less money for the product sold to customer?
Insist on loose change and help to reduce illegal money circulation in the system.