Cha-ching!

500euro

Ever seen one of these before?

No?

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten my grubby paws on one. Honestly, I thought €500 notes were as mythical as Nessie herself. But apparently not. And no, they’re not just for special occasions it seems.

My dad was shopping last week in the discount supermarket, Lidl. Standing ahead of him at the checkout was a man, gaggle of screaming chizlers in tow, doing what could only be described as his weekly shop! When it came to the … eh … ahem … unfortunate moment of having to pay he handed the young sales assistant a note. The assistant looked at it, then at him and was like ‘Is that real?’. Of course, he replied and stood firm. The assistant, new as he was, politely informed him that unfortunately they didn’t accept tender that large. The customer didn’t miss a beat and quickly retorted that his local Spar always accepted his €500 notes. I swear, I nearly spat out my juice when I heard this. Who in the world goes into Spar [which is a very overpriced newsagents] with a €500 note? What could you possibly buy in any of these stores that would warrant a bill that large? Anyway, with a huff and a puff he eventually paid with his credit card. No debit for this man and went on his merry way!

I was so surprised by this encounter. Has Ireland really gone full cycle from boom to bust to stinking boom again that people are flashing 500 quid around like it’s small change? I was only reading the other day how bank links [cash dispensers for those not local] predominantly distributed €50 notes these days. Rare is it you’ll find one that gives you the collection of two twenties and a ten. God forbid three tens and a twenty. During the boom, it became clear that the fifty was the new twenty. Taken out with good intentions on a Monday. Spent in a flash by Tuesday, if you were lucky!

But times have changed. Haven’t they? Did he not get the memo? We’re broke, buddy. The banks may be playing the game and pretending they have pots of mula. But the rest of us, the joe soaps shopping in Lidl and Aldi are two pennies away from gloom. And beside, what notions does he have carrying a figure that large? I hate to say it [and I really do] but he’s just asking to be mugged.

No, what this is, is a reminder that there are some people out there who were a little hurt by the banking collapse. But they brushed themselves off, maybe tightened their belts a notch, and lay in wait for that storm to pass. Now they’re back on track.

Well… almost.

He was canny enough to be doing his weekly shop in Lidl.

Image is curtesy of the glories of the tinter-web. Many thanks.

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