Change for Us

April 14, 2008

Philippine Peso Bills. Image taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_peso

“That would be P135,” the teller said as he checked my voucher.
I hurriedly took a P500 bill from my wallet and presented it to him.
“I’m sorry,” he continued, “we don’t have change.”

Now there’s nothing more frustrating than having money, but having no means to spend it. It’s as worse as having no money at all! It gets more frustrating if someone is under cheap-skate/saving mode. Usually, only the more high end shops and restaurants will have change. The cheaper establishments have no choice but to refuse their services. He is then forced to spend more as he moves to the more expensive establishments thus defeating his intent to save. Some services, however, such as jeepney rides can be had for free provided the passenger has no change, but has very thick skin.
I remember having change problems all the way to my elementary days. I sometimes get a bulk P50 bill for my allowance, but would not have any spare change for the P3 ride. Usually, the other jeepneys can afford to give me change. One type of jeepney, however, usually can’t give me exact change. Most of the time, the driver lets me off free. Sometimes, the other passengers bail me out. This, btw, in no way made me want to take advantage of them. In fact, the experience made me somewhat guilty. The other passengers in that route were usually poor people, market vendors who must earn their daily bread selling stuff. I had more money than some of them, but ironically they paid for me.
Obnoxious tellers, btw, are way different from jeepney drivers. Students of UP Diliman who happen to have unfortunately been inside the RCPI center in the SC would attest to this fact. I don’t know if those women have changed, but I remember during my time there how much of a pain they can be. Students and richer folks can get away lightly scathed, but it sill came to a point that I and some of my friends no longer bought tickets from them. The poor, however, are at their mercy. They are treated like trash by those power tripping hags. Those hags have very harsh tongues, which they continually lash at everyone they feel are lower than them, young, old, men, women, and children.
I remember the last time I bought a ticket from them. They couldn’t spare to give me about P5 change. They had the nerve to tell me to have it changed elsewhere because they wouldn’t accept it. I could never forget that moment. It felt as if the hopes, prayers, and dreams of the oppressed of RCPI converged on me. For one moment, I became a Champion, a Hero. I looked at the teller directly, and in clear tones told her, “Keep the change.”
The look I got from her was worth more than a hundred times the amount that she should have given me. She hurriedly gave me my ticket and its corresponding receipt.

“That’s o.k.,” I told the teller as he told me they didn’t have change. “I can wait.”
I then moved to the side of the window, took out my cellphone, selected a game, and pointed the screen slightly towards his angle. I was telling him loudly, but without words, that I was willing to wait a long time. I don’t want to have to look for change. I was in saving mode. I was not about to buy some useless gadget or expensive food to get some change. By playing the game, I just wanted him to feel the full awkwardness of the situation while he was seeing that I was enjoying myself with the game. Fortunately, the period didn’t last long. Some girls paid with the exact amount.
“Sir,” he said. “Let me have your money.”
Then I gave him the P500 bill. He pulled a drawer and revealed bills and coins of all denominations. He took out the exact change and gave it to me. I hurriedly said a, “thank you,” as I received it.
Then it hit me. The reason why there doesn’t seem to be any change around is that some people and establishments just hoard the much needed change that should have been released to the public; then they lie saying they don’t have change.

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