Traders knocking on temple doors for change

Traders knocking on temple doors for change

Short of coins, they pay commission of Rs 5 - 10 for changing Rs 100

A man goes to the neighbourhood grocery store and buys something worth Rs 17. He pays for it with a Rs 100 note.

The store owner objects to this and asks for change. But the customer says he has only Rs 100 and this leads to an argument between them.

While travelling from Chikkaballapur to Bangalore, a passenger pays the conductor Rs 500 for a ticket that costs Rs 42. The conductor asks him to tender the exact change or at least pay Rs 2.

The passenger says he has neither and suggests that the conductor mention the balance amount behind the ticket and pay it to him later. But this is not an isolated case, the next passenger too pays Rs 100 and it continues...

At a hotel, a customer pays Rs 100 to clear a bill of Rs 7 for a coffee. The hotel owner’s demand for change is met with the same response of “No change” from the customer.

The three instances mentioned above occur on a daily basis in shops, hotels, buses, as shop and hotel owners, conductors, roadside vendors struggle to procure change to give back to the public.

With banks also not coming to their rescue, the traders have found a unique solution –– they approach the Gods.

Well, not for divine intervention, but just for change from the temple coffers. Even this comes at a price, as the traders pay a commission of Rs 5 or Rs 10 for changing a Rs 100 note.

“It’s not just coins, but the exchange of Rs 10, Rs 20 and Rs 50 has also decreased as customers usually pay with Rs 100 or Rs 500 notes irrespective of the bill amount,” laments hotel owner Seetharam.

He adds that customers get irritated when they are asked to tender the exact change.

 “They do not realise how difficult it is for us to keep paying back change, if everyone pays their bills with Rs 100 and Rs 500 currency notes and expect us to give them change,” he says.

The traders have approached the local banks to help them, but the bank authorities point fingers at the Reserve Bank of India for not releasing enough currency notes of lower denominations.

But the officials in the Reserve Bank of India say that they have not received any request from banks for currency notes of lower denominations.

Given the situation, the traders are left with no choice but pay commission to the temples for change to ensure that their business runs smoothly with no standoffs with customers.

Mahesh, who owns pharmacy, agrees with the issues raised by Seetharam. “It will be convenient if the RBI releases coins and notes of lower denominations. It will prevent the frequent fights we have with customers over this.”

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