Saturday, July 16, 2011

Money Matters

I'm not a saver; I'm a spender. But London is an expensive city. In a restaurant tonight, a bottle of Coke was listed at £2.95. At today's exchange rate, that's $4.75. (I mentioned that this was a good time to kick a Coke habit, and got some concerned looks.) It gets even worse when you realize that:
  1. there are never free refills,
  2. bread on the table will be charged to your bill unless you ask them to take it away, and
  3. unless you specify "tap" water, you'll get bottled--and yes, there's a charge for that.
It's sometimes difficult to remember that the play money you're spending (look, the Queen!) is, in fact, directly connected to what is--or rather, what WAS--in your bank account back home.

Today I tried to stiff a street vendor out of 5p. That's 5 pence, and if you don't know, there are 100 pence to a pound (£). But a 5p coin looks remarkably like a dime. So I was just confused, not dishonest.

The British currency system was decimalized in 1971, making 100 pence to the pound. This is when they did away with the shilling. It used to be that twelve pence equaled a shilling, and there were twenty shillings to a pound. So, each pound had 240 pence (pennies). Confusing? Sure, but we Americans are still measuring things with twelve inches to a foot and 5280 feet to a mile!

Considering that so many of the European Union countries have adopted a single currency, the Euro (€), it makes me wonder why Britain hasn't made the switch. An article from July 14 in the Daily Mail, claims that "workers are £20 worse off than they would be if Britain joined the single currency, according to a European pay report out today." I think it's just a matter of time before Britain adopts the Euro and a person can travel all over Europe using the same currency.

Now, does anyone remember how many knuts to a galleon?

1 comment:

  1. I want to say 26, but I'm probably wrong...