Cliff Gardner

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spare some change. No, I insist.

One of the most entertaining and quirky things about Ukraine is how change is given whenever something is payed for. It's been my experience that the Ukrainian service industry really hates to give change and honestly would prefer it if everything was rounded to the nearest Griven (UA currency). Back home, the store was responsible for providing exact change and no one really seemed to care about this fact. Here, though, the change-giving burden is often switched--like, if something costs $1.05 and the lowest bill I have is a $2, I would be expected to pay $2.05 so they can just give me a Griven bill back. If something costs $1.05 I the lowest change I have is $1.10, or if I don't happen to have any change in the first example, the person working will do one of the following:

1) glare at me and possibly make some snide comment under their breath while going through the tiresome process of counting to 95.

2) give me something small, like a little candy that costs 5 Kopecs (cents), to avoid having to wade into the murky change drawer.

The candy example happens to me a few times a week and the first time it happened I was really, really entertained by it. When I was buying some floss last weekend at an Apteka (pharmacy), the woman working there gave me a vitamin instead of my 10 Kopec change. Awesome. :-)


  • How odd -- culturally you are expected to carry around small amounts of change to avoid inconveniencing the store clerk... hmmmm.

    By Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory, at 6:59 AM  

  • I love it. "Here, dude - have a vitamin. Not only does it make my job easier, but you look like you need it."

    By Blogger magic, and with love from Sam,, at 1:14 PM  

  • Wow.

    My naturally stubborn self would not be okay with that. I think I would argue (in my best broken Russian) with that...

    By Anonymous shea, at 2:56 PM  

  • Awesome! I wish we could have done that when I worked at McDonalds in high school.'s a fry in with it.

    By Blogger Natascha Nugget, at 12:13 AM  

  • In China we just gave change to beggers. You should do that. Or take their change, whatever you need more.

    By Blogger Paved In Gold, at 1:12 AM  

  • please tell me you are messing with people are not bringing any change with you and are making sure that your total always comes to be that you would need at least .80 back in change :)

    By Blogger Kourtney, at 8:52 AM  

  • I thought about you on Thursday in Chicago. We got Middleastern food at a tiny place. We only had 20.00 bills and our total was 20.46. Finally, she accepted the 20.16 or so we had, rather than give us change out of 40.00.

    By Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory, at 3:15 PM  

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