Thursday, July 12, 2007

Canadian money

I understand you got to pay your rent. However, I am not amused when you dig around in your jeans pocket and give me a wad of crumpled ones, fives in no particular order and say "That should be enough."

Before I can even count it, I have to straighten this mess out. Then I have to see if it does indeed come out to $900. Yes. A $900 money order in fives and tens with a side of singles.

You're short a couple dollars, plus the obligatory forty-six cent fee. Must be that pack of Kools Menthols. PS: Your breath stink and your teeth are rotten.

Cue frantic scratching around, first in your cigarette holder, then your pockets, then in your purse in an effort to make up the difference in change.

You're throwing out coins and I'm counting. It is like the last few seconds of a horse race - except the only race you ever ran was to the buffet counter at Golden Dynasty. Or to the half-off sale at Forever 21 - even though that stuff sure don't fit you!

I've got the commentary going "Alright, that's $1.90, that's two dollars. You need forty-six more cents."

"OK, that's a dime. There's a other dime. You need a quarter and a penny. Do you have that in your purse? What about in your pocket?"

Throws something out. It's metal, shiny, and it looks like money.

"Ma'am, I can't take that. That's Canadian money."

The Canadian quarter is the same general size and shape as the American quarter, and right now is worth about 24 cents; a few years ago it was worth just 12 cents. Foreign currency pops up in our rolled coins all the time. Most of the time, the foreign money goes off to the side and then right back to the Accounting Office.

*sniffs and tosses hair*
"Well why can't you take it?" Really? You're asking me this?

Well, the United States Coinage Act of 1965 states:
United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues. Foreign gold or silver coins are not legal tender for debts.
She eventually scratched up another three nickels, a dime, and a penny. And got a money order. Good for her!


M said...

Come to Michigan sometime. Up to half of our coins circulating here can be Canadian, and yes in small quantities we take it at face value, American. Our store does accept Canadian currency, at the current exchange rate since we are close enough to the border, but our bank will only convert bills, not coins. The register will convert the total from "$ 20.00" to CAN 22.90" on the display and give the change back in American dollars.

luckycanucky said...

We'll exchange American bills for their worth up here if people shop with them but I don't know if people pay much attention to the change they give and get. I found a 20p coin in the nickel drawer once when I was tilling. It's a similar size so I just exchanged one of mine for it. Whoever took it as currency wasn't watching in the first place, apparently.

Ben said...

I have the same problem on the other side of the border (just in reverse). Here in Thunder Bay, which is close to the border, American tourists come and try to spend their money. At my work we usually take it as Canadian money, just because it's easier for us, unless it's a large purchase. When it comes to coinage, we don't pay attention whether they are American or Canadian. I'm sure I've a few American pennies in this loose change thing on my desk.

Anonymous said...

Another Canadian here! I work at a gas station, and we do take US money. It's not really uncommon to have a US coin pop up from change from any store, though. I do feel kind of perplexed when Americans ask whether the prices are Canadian or American...we're not that close to the border! Of course it's Canadian prices!

Anonymous said...

Up here in Upstate NY we accept Canadian coins everywhere (as far as I know/have shopped). I always forget that not all statees do :p

Layne said...

In Maine we take Canadian coins too, it's really not a big deal for us. It wouldn't surprise me if they even worked in our vending machines.

Other foreign coins I buy from my till..I have a little collection going.

Anonymous said...

Random Tip for any fellow Canadians. A 2 pence coin from England is almost the exact same size as a loonie, works in most pinball/Golden Tee/Arcade machines. Never tried a vending machine.....

Anonymous said...

Here's a random tip for Canadians who do not want to travel all the way to England (or get their money exchanged):
Canadian 50-cent coins (they do exist) are also nearly the same size as a loonie, and some vending machines will accept them as loonies.

Anonymous said...

In Virginia we do not take Canadian currency. We just make fun of them.

lonerhino said...

Pretty brillant down therE in Virgin i a.

You make fun of coins. Must be a blast.


Chimera said...

"Foreign gold or silver coins are not legal tender for debts."

Since there is not a scintilla of gold or silver in Canadian coins, does this mean that they are legal tender?

Anonymous said...

To the commenter Layne - I live in Maine as well, and I can tell you that vending machines absolutely do take Canadian coins here. I know this because I just bought a Coke with three Canadian quarters.

To be honest, I never knew this was an issue anywhere in the U.S. I see Canadian and British coins all the time. I've lived here my whole life and I have never once seen a cashier refuse foreign coins for a purchase (or try to figure out an exchange rate, etc.) Frankly, I think it's ridiculous to quibble over coins. I can take a roll of quarters that's half American and half Canadian to my bank and get a $10 bill in 30 seconds flat. Bills, on the other hand, I can understand.

Layne said...

Thanks anon from Maine! I didn't know if they'd work in machines because I don't really pay attention to the Canadian coins. I just use them all normally. I did have one customer REFUSE to take a Canadian coin though, it was kind of silly.

thordora said...

I live in Canada and every single bloody time I go through nashville, I get shit when I try to use a canadian nickel or dime, which kills me since I have never worked in any province that didn't take american coinage at face value.

Kasia said...

My boyfriend's Canadian, and I live in Detroit. NO ONE here exchanges money once you get past the currency exchange at the border. Even the banks put up a fuss, and they haven't taken coins in at least ten years.

Generally you can pass off a Canadian penny, nickel or dime in payment, but quarters get sticky. Most stores won't take 'em. And fuggeddabout using anything a looney or larger - not even for exchange, nopers.

I actually had a homeless guy ask my boyfriend to trade him American money for the Canadian cash he had panhandled (which, to his credit, my boyfriend happily did). Apparently Canadians going to dinner in Mexicantown are more generous than the stores that won't take the Canadian cash from the homeless guy...

But while I think it's great that Canadian stores will take my American money, they're not obligated to do so. Let's remember that this is FOREIGN CURRENCY, people! :-)