Monday, May 21, 2012
A lot of the stuff mentioned on this blog has been about my positive experiences here in Bangalore. But I know when we were trying to decide whether an Indian adventure was the right choice for us, I tried to find information on all of the "deal-breakers" as well, so I wouldn't be surprised by something I just couldn't handle. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I thought I'd try to sum up some of the not-so-exciting things we had to get used to (or at least try). Like Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart, these issues seem small on the surface, but might drive you mad in the long run! I'm calling these posts "Be Sure You Can Handle" and adding a separate tag (BSYCH).

Back in the United States, I almost never carry cash. I use my debit card for everything. Really - everything.

Here in India, that plan doesn't work out so well. Yes, many stores do take credit cards. But even those who come equipped with credit card scanners will at some point or another paste a note to their front door that says "Cash Only". Sometimes they will even add "Sorry."

Internet service here is terribly spotty. In our flat, we have three different internet lines, just to make sure that I can get connected during my work hours. It seems that businesses are the same. And when internet goes down, credit card scanners do too.

When I worked at Applebee's during college, we were required to use the old fashioned manual scanners if our machines were ever down. You know, the carbon paper and arm-powered device to rub over the raised card numbers. Annoying, but effective.

Here, not so much. They want cash.

So, we started carrying cash.

But here's the next fun factoid. No one carries change in this country. When you ride in an auto, it's best that you have the exact amount due, otherwise you'll spend time driving around looking for someone who can break a 500-rupee bill ($10 USD give or take). When we first moved here, I assumed I just had bad luck picking the auto drivers who had just given all of their change the the last passenger. Now I'm thinking that's probably not the case.

Because stores don't have change. I don't know how many times I've gone to the big "foreign" grocery store to buy pancake mix and had them ask me whether I had change because they can't break my bill without getting a manager. It's the same everywhere. So a very simple and fast transaction turns into a ten minute search for change.

Again, not a huge thing, but repeated exposure breeds annoyance. 


Anonymous said...

Perhaps they have change, but they are trying to get you to give what you have and leave. anything over the exact price they count as a "tip". I know that is how some in other countries operate. It's 10 minutes finding change or 10 minutes convincing them to give up the change.

Anonymous said...

This is small money game which is played in i am indian me also faced this problem lot of times, but one better solution is to tell them about ride and ask like do you have change for 500 INR? before taking auto ride which can save you most of times. one more case in shopping mall is they can't give change for small buying. someone will give change if you are regular customer and sometimes luck will work.

Lorenda said...

Yes - I don't think we're tortured here just because we're foreign. I think the cash game is normal for everyone here. I just have a hard time getting used to it because I barely remember to carry cash at all, much less correct change! We have the same few auto drivers that sit outside our flat complex, so they at least have learned that we "tip" more when the service is good, and not because we don't want to make change. It helps that a convenience store is two steps away... :) Thanks for commenting.

AfterBlood said...

You keep talking about this 'foreign store'. Most of the larger supermarkets here carry all kinds of international food stuffs, and though I've lived here for three years, I've never had to go to a 'foreign store'.

Where is this 'foreign store' anyways?

Lorenda said...

AfterBlood - that's what's funny about it - the store I'm usually talking about is SPAR, which isn't really a foreign store, it's just what my cook referred to it as when I mentioned where I shopped, so now I call everywhere I shop "the foreign store" as a tongue in cheek reference. Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

In Serbia, I really hate people who carry on credit card. When someone want to pay by card it always mean it would hold on line for at least 10 min because card reader usually can not read card from fist time, then sometimes it want accept pin and so on...

When I started to earn money on line I done everything to get it in my hands as soon as I can, because I wasn't comfortable with money staying somewhere on line virtually.

Even now I hate wasting time in bank waiting in line to get money. I could take it on machine but bank has low usd course. I like more to exchange my money for dinar under better course in exchange-office.

I miss regular job only because I got all my money in cash as we use to say - on hands -.

Here before 10 years it was also normal that small amount of money are not available, so people used to give you bubble gum instead staying at cashier table.

Later on on fb in our circles one meme become popular angry face saying - I dont want bubble gum I want my change! -

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