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Money moans: the best reader responses

From queue evacuations to routine minor short-changing . . . here are your best answers to last week’s article on money moans

Photograph: Thinkstock

Last week we ran an article about cash-related irritations such as pubs that don’t do cash-back and taxi drivers who don’t keep change. Here are the best reader contributions:


  • The person ahead of you with a large amount of shopping suddenly, at checkout stage, remembers one item they forgot to get, announces this, smiles apologetically at everyone and dashes off among the shelves, leaving you, the goods and the checkout girl in limbo until they arrive back. Or the person ahead of you claims, at checkout stage, that an item they have is listed on shelf at special reduced price. Dispute between customer and checkout girl who is finally forced to go into the maze of shelves to check the position. You and the queue are stuck until she returns. Invariably checkout girl is right. Paddy Armitage


  • I have just returned from a holiday in Capestang, France. The town is the proud possessor of a single ATM. I used this facility several times, withdrawing amounts from €50 to €300. Every time I received two €20 notes and one €10 note in the amount required. Irish banks: please take note. I have heard from a reliable source that businesses are charged a fee to exchange €50 notes for lesser denominations. The banks’ reluctance to keep small notes in circulation obviously pays dividends for them. Liam Clarke


  • I think many of your peeves are tongue-in-cheek. That said, after living in various countries – some of which place a higher value on efficiency (eg the Netherlands), others a lower value (eg Cyprus) than Ireland – I have noticed a co-relationship between efficiency and what I like to call humanity. Less efficient countries tend to be friendlier and more helpful. As a generalisation, efficiency and humanity just don’t seem to go together. A personal experience: a woman sees another whose husband had very recently died in the street. She said, “I couldn’t stop to offer my condolences because I had to get my shopping done”. This has cured me of impatience when the person in front of me dithers and fumbles. We like to think time is lost in waiting, but that is a choice. Jean Swift


  • One of my penny peeves is where an item is reduced but no one has told the cash register or the weighing scales. Sheelagh Coyle


  • A poem:

Clicking money machines spewing out cash

With reckless abandon

From holes in the wall and over new delivery lines,

Feeding the frenzied consumption of nervous souls

Looking for safety and passion in this tired commodity


Blue collared bankers choked by their ties

Unable to meet the challenge of today,

Confused looks of maximizing profits

Indifferent to its chaos,

Fuelling consumption and creating needs and misery

When the cash flow dries up

During the term of the contrived recession


Exploiting the resources in once distant scenic places

Where fond stories were relayed by the quill

And now the dilemma of the sacred balance

Is overshadowed by the search for eternal youth

Fuelled by the cashless zealots of the soul.

Brendan O’Leary


  • Here’s another one that’s extremely annoying. It follows on from the famous “99” scenario in shops. You buy two products for say 99 cent each: total €1.98. You get to the till and – shock, horror – the shop assistant says, “Sorry, don’t have any coins”. It’s only two cent but if you didn’t have the two cent at the till in the first place, would you be let off? I don’t think so. If several hundred shoppers (possibly even thousands) a day are having the same experience, then some shops are making a tidy little sum – aren’t they? Angie Davis


  • I wish to dispute your assertion in today’s Pricewatch that there is little worse than being a cashier who has to count out a mound of copper coins. When I worked as a cashier, the best customers were those who paid the exact amount in small coins, as this meant I had more change to give out to customers who paid for something costing €2.37 using a €50 note. That second type of customer is another reason to hate ATMs that don’t give out smaller denominations. Chris McCrohan