Thursday, October 24, 2013

The wonders of useful coins

Coins are useful in China. This is pretty amazing for me as an american, used to paying by credit card for everything possible, just because coins are so useless. In this blog post I'm going to rant a little about the reasons.

  • Prices are prices. When you buy something for 2 Yuan, it costs to Yuan. When you buy something in the US for $2, it costs $2.13 or some other random amount that is impossible to calculate in your head and changes for different items and across states.
    This has two advantages
    • Round number prices, stay at round numbers reducing the need to use tiny change all the time. The fact that the smallest currency is 0.1 Yuan means you don't has as many ridiculous prices like *.99 cents for every little thing. 
    • You know the price ahead of time, so if you want to pay in coins, you can count them while you wait in line, not while people wait behind you.
  • Their smallest coin is worth about twice as much as a US penny. This is even though Chinese currency is worth way less than US. It is equal to 1/10th of a Yuan, sort of like a dime.
  • Coins have more buying power here. The truth is that this reason doesn't have as much of an impact as the previous two. Very few things can be bought for just 1 Yuan, but you can buy lots of stuff for 2-3 Yuan which is easily counted up to with 1.0, 0.5 and 0.1 value coins.

In case you aren't interested in my rant. Here are some more photos!

1 comment:

  1. Just a historical note here: It's possible that the 99 cent pricing culture in the US may have its origins in old mechanical registers, back when cents were valuable. By pricing merch so that it required a penny change, a store owner could ensure that the till was opened in nearly every transaction, ringing a bell and recording the transaction. It may live on as part of our marketing culture now but it had reasonable roots - the inconvenience you mentioned was desirable.

    Great kite reel, but where's a picture of the kite?