Monday, August 10, 2009

Things that irritate me about Romania

(part umpteen in an occasional, but almost certainly infinite, series)

If you try and change money here they only accept perfectly pristine mint-condition bank notes. Any rumpledness? Sorry, can't accept it. The slightest imperceptible tear in the side? Nope. Any indication that the note has in fact been used at all and has not just been issued by the European Central Bank? No can do.

Why? For the love of god, why? They're still legal tender, they're still banknotes. I'm not talking about something that's been torn into pieces and sellotaped back together, I'm talking about perfectly healthy banknotes that get rejected like they've been taken from a Monopoly set. Romania is not quite the only country that pursues this ridiculous policy, but in Europe, it only seems to be here and Bulgaria. I've asked bank employees why they refuse these notes and you either get a look that says "It's internationally normal for us to do this, you fool" (that's from people who've never travelled and don't realise that it really isn't), or "Sorry, that's just the rules. No idea why, but we've been told". It must be a national law, since it's across the board - every bank and change office follow the same ridiculously strict and unnecessary guidelines. It drives me bloody mental. (As may be obvious)

7 comments:

Gadjo Dilo said...

Andy, underneath the seemingly yokel attitude of the Romanians there is a strong undercurrent of pretentiousness - it's understandable that a population that's been treated like shite for so long now demands something better for itself - and banknotes are only one of the ways in which this is revealed. (I don't suppose that Romanian banks have formulated the directive in quite this way, though.)

Andy H said...

There's an element of cutting one's nose off to spite one's face though, no? As it stands I have 200 Euros sitting in my flat which I will not (indeed can not) invest in the Romanian economy, purely because of this bloody stupid snobbery/ignorance (delete as appropriate)

Gadjo Dilo said...

I was half-joking, Andy - I've no idea why they do that. It does seem a bit silly. What most people do here is simply swap their foreign currency for RON with somebody who's about to go on a trip to The Eurozone - that saves on paying the commission too.

Andy H said...

Sorry, GD, being a bit thick this morning. I should have spotted the jokey nature of your comment.

Maria Pakucs said...

We have two 50 pounds notes sitting in my wallet, waiting for Samuel's next trip to the UK. It is bl#@y irritating indeed. The reason: they can't resell torn banknotes, I asked.

dumneazu said...

I was once paid for a gig in in Canada with notes that had the usual North American wear and tear - especially writing - on them. I took the band (all from Hungary)to a bank and started to explain to a somewhat suspicious bank teller that we needed to exchange them for "clean" bills, when another teller approached and introduced herself, saying she was from Russia and she understood our problem. We got all new, clean bank notes.

I've got about 4000 FT in old tattered but viable banknotes stuck to my corkboard waiting for me to go downtown to the central bank of Hungary and spend an afternoon trying to redeem them.

Peter Fogarty said...

Ironically there is a really simple way to get around the problem of used bank notes - if you take your euros or dollars etc - you can exchange them in one of the auto exchange machines outside banks without a problem...

If you try to change them in a Bureax de Change - ha ha ha - they only give you half their value!