Monday, 06 April 2020
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Time for a change in Croatia…no time for less change

By  Mark Thomas Oct 22, 2017

“Do you have any small change?” What is it with shops in Dubrovnik and small change! It seems that unless you exactly the right amount of money you are left waiting whilst the shop assistant digs around in her handbag looking for her own change. Where do all these coins go? And why can’t shops seem to find any?

To be fair it isn’t only shops. Waiters in cafés and even restaurants have a heart attacks if you pull out a 200 Kuna note. IS someone collecting all these pieces of metal, like a magpie or a human magnet, and stuffing them under the bed. I had a strange situation the other day in a local bakery. I bought a French stick and a doughnut, a total of 18 Kunas. When I handed over a 20 Kuna note the young lady behind the counter said “Do you have anything smaller, any change?” – “I have a 10 Kuna,” I joked. The joke flew right over her head as she waited for my small change. I tried a more direct approach “Unless I give you 18 Kunas in coins how could I have anything smaller?” It worked and with a grump she passed my 2 Kuna change.

It would seem that this young lady isn’t that great at maths because the next day I asked her for “A jam croissant,” seeing there was only one left. She then replied “One croissant?” with a questioning voice. There was only one left! “What would you do if I said two croissants please?” I asked. “Hmmm, well we only have one so I can’t sell you what we don’t have,” she replied. I was lost for words.

Just the next day in a local supermarket the elderly lady in front of me handed over a 50 Kuna note for a loaf of bread. “I don’t have any change to give back to you,” replied the shop assistant with a tone like it was the problem of the customer. I almost jumped in with “And whose fault is that,” but held back as I released it wasn’t event her fault, but the fault of the shop owner. I did some quick sums in my head and said “I will pay for the bread as I have change.” It solved the wait.

Should the National Bank of Croatia produce more coins to make up the shortfall? Or maybe they are just waiting for the Euro to be introduced and to solve the problem. And on the flip side if you try and change your coins for notes in a bank or even the post office they frown at you as if you have trod in dog poo. The banks don’t want it and the shops don’t have it, which would suggest that all the coins are indeed being stored under mattresses. Maybe we could collect all these coins together and pay off the foreign debt, or even weld them together and make one of the columns for the Peljesac Bridge.

In fact we have a huge box and home where we throw all this small change, so we could certainly help build that first bridge column.

I have a feeling that some serious rethinking is needed. Do we really need to have 5, 10 and 20 lipa coins? Here’s a whacky idea, why not just produce 50 lipa coins and round everything up or down to the nearest Kuna. If something costs 10.20 then it would be 10.50…well you get the idea. And just think about all those tourists who fly home with pockets loaded with Croatian coins. Maybe that’s the problem. Could it be that all our small change is being exported!

I have another whacky idea. This change is completely unless to foreigners when they get home (unless they are coin collectors). So why not have a huge barrel at the airports to collect money for worthy humanitarian causes. Tourists could empty their pockets of coins and at the same time raise money for a good cause. In fact that isn’t such a dumb idea. In fact why hasn’t somebody though of this earlier? I am pretty sure that almost every tourist would be more than happy to a) help a good cause and b) get rid of those coins. The charity could be alternated on a weekly or monthly basis so the funds would be spread around…no it isn’t a bad idea at all. This is nothing new it happens all over the world so why doesn’t it happen here? “A good idea is about ten percent and implementation and hard work is 90 percent,” once said a successful American businessman – ah…that might be the reason why.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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