Monday, February 11, 2008

India revelation #2 -- candy can be currency

I was just in Pune visiting my friend, Cyrille, and one day we decided to go out for western food. you are supposed to look at all the food stalls and then go back to a central cash register where you pay in advance for your food and take the ticket to the stall, and only then do you get your meal. I had a bill of 165R, but when I gave the cashier 200R, she gave me back 30R and said she didn't have the extra 5R, and the look on her face seemed to imply that I should come back later for my change. Cyrille was just finishing up his transaction, and at the end, we both received mini Kit Kat bars, which we thought was just a nice gift from the management.

As I was finishing my meal, I decided I wanted to take the leftovers home with me. it turned out that takeaway boxes are 5R, so I thought, PERFECT, I'll just get my change from the cashier and use that to pay for the box. and this is where things go awry.

Me: Hi, I was wondering if you had the 5R you still owe me.
Cashier: I don't owe you 5R.
Me: yes you do, remember, I gave you 200R and you only gave me 30 back? my bill was 165R
Cashier: ahh. (head wobble) I gave you a Kit Kat.
Me: yeah I know. it was good. but you still owe me 5R.
Cashier: we don't give 5R change here. if someone needs 5R back, we give them kit kat.
Me: but you gave my friend a kit kat too, why did he get his for free?
Cashier: we owed him 5R too.
Me: oh. (pause) well here's my problem. I want a takeaway box for my pasta but they cost 5R, but I don't have any change left. can you just give me a ticket for a takeaway box?
Cashier: then give me back the kit kat.
Me: I can't, I already ate it.
Cashier: then you have to pay me 5R.
Me: but if I give you 10R, you're just going to give me another kit kat.
Cashier: yes.


Meghan Nelson said...


corazon icasiano-francisco said...

Unbelievable!!You could not even call it Bartering for goods, because there was no prior consent from you.