I was flipping through my notebook in class today looking for a blank page when I found this half-composed blog!
A year and a half ago, Damon and I visited my sister, who was living in Las Vegas at the time. We stayed at the casino/hotel where she worked. At some point we found ourselves in need of cash and found an ATM on the ground floor. To our surprise (and great annoyance) we discovered that it would only dispense amounts in multiples of 100, instead of multiples of 20 like a usual ATM. And not only that, the money came out in the form of oh-so-spendable $100 bills! Only in Vegas, we grumbled to ourselves. Little did we know . . .
A year later, I stood at a Heidelberg ATM and requested 60 EUR. (My standard withdrawal in the US was $40, but cash is used more often here.) I got used to requesting money only in multiples of 20 in the States and have yet to break the habit, though it seems most German ATMs have the nifty feature of allowing any amount to be withdrawn (perhaps multiples of 5). After requesting the 60 EUR, I expected 3 20s to pop out of the machine. Or maybe it would be something really cool like 2 20s, a 10, and 2 5s.
Out came a 50 - a giant bill that barely fit in my wallet - and a 10. The smallest number of bills, of course . . . and also the beginning of some minor psychological pain here in the land of exact change.
Think cashiers will hate you for large bills in the US? Just try it in Germany. First I stretched that 10 EUR bill out as long as I could, then I dug around for 1 and 2 EUR coins, trying to put off the inevitable breaking of the 50 and subsequent trauma. In the end, I lucked out, getting a drink with a fellow student in Mainz and offering to pay for theirs if they would just be the one to hand over the 50. I guess they are more used to it and the icy glare or the big put-out sigh don't hurt them anymore.
Of course I've also been dumb enough to forget about this and have it happen all over again. But I swear, next time I'm withdrawing no more than 40 at once, to avoid the 50s!