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What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

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What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

Post by glendalais » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:00 pm

I just returned from a lovely Disney Cruise Line cruise. It was nice to get away for a bit and recharge (and the Duty Free Shopping didn't hurt - I think I've sastisfied my liquor needs for the better part of the next decade).

Anyway, as with any Disney holiday, I have SGTs to report!

We were in port at Nassau in The Bahamas. It's a nice little town, much nicer than what some reports on the internet led me to believe. Anyway, The Bahamas uses the Bahamian Dollar as their currency, which is pegged at an exchange rate of B$1 to US$1, which results in stores accepting US currency on par with their own. However, because they accept both, they sometimes don't have enough to give change all in one currency.

I was shopping in a store looking at a shirt or something, when out of nowhere, I hear a loud yell of...

"What the h*** is this?! Monopoly money?!"

Given what I could tell from the ensuing conversation, the SG had paid in US Dollars, but the cashier only had enough US currency to give her half her change in it, giving the rest in Bahamian. The poor clerk tried to explain that they were equivalent, but the SG was having none of it, demanded her money back and then stormed out of the store in a loud and quite abnoxious manner.

Given that she could have exchanged her change on the ship for US Dollars, or even at the Burger King across the street (with a better exchange rate to boot more than likely), I found the whole situation hillarious.



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Re: What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

Post by BRWombat » Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:26 am

I've enjoyed Nassau. It's beautiful, lots of interesting history, and most of the people are extremely friendly -- which stands to reason, since their main source of revenue is tourism. Some of the street vendors can be a bit pushy by our standards, but a firm "no" is usually enough.

Love the story. People who don't travel much can be a bit provincial about currency... if it's not what they're used to, they're not sure of its value. I still laugh about an incident some many years ago, I was traveling with a singing group and we'd been in New Brunswick for a day or two. One of the guys I was with dropped a bill on the floor and said without thinking, "Is that a Canadian five or a real five?" :rolleyes: :)


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Re: What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

Post by Zazu » Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:39 pm

BRWombat wrote:I've enjoyed Nassau. It's beautiful, lots of interesting history, and most of the people are extremely friendly -- which stands to reason, since their main source of revenue is tourism. Some of the street vendors can be a bit pushy by our standards, but a firm "no" is usually enough.
I think "no" probably means more when said from your altitude.


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Re: What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

Post by Ms. Matterhorn » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:13 am

A true SG. Now, if you were traveling ANYWHERE, wouldn't you at least do a little research about where you're going? And if you're going shopping, figure out the money. Come to think of it, if she weren't an SG she would've used her Debit card for everything. Asshat.


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Re: What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

Post by delsdad » Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:15 am

Ms. Matterhorn wrote:A true SG. Now, if you were traveling ANYWHERE, wouldn't you at least do a little research about where you're going? And if you're going shopping, figure out the money. Come to think of it, if she weren't an SG she would've used her Debit card for everything. Asshat.
Debit cards are not accepted universally. A lot of carribean islands are not equipped to deal with them. I can't even use my Canadian debit cards in the US!



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Re: What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

Post by ktulu » Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:20 pm

A debit card can be usually be used if it has that Visa logo, but given banks also charge an extra fee, I would just use another credit card and then pay it off. Not everyone is a Rockefeller, so those fee's could end up hurting them.

I would imagine most of the shops in the Caribbean are setup to take cash only!


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Re: What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

Post by delsdad » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:09 pm

ktulu wrote:A debit card can be usually be used if it has that Visa logo, but given banks also charge an extra fee, I would just use another credit card and then pay it off. Not everyone is a Rockefeller, so those fee's could end up hurting them.

I would imagine most of the shops in the Caribbean are setup to take cash only!
Many Canadian bank debit cards don't have visa logos. None of mine or my wifes do. The bank issues separate Visa cards.

Its easy to use visa in much of the Caribbean, and also US cash, just like in Canada. Most businesses will accept the US$ here, but they will not give you the best rate of exchange.

When I worked in a tourist retail place while in high school, we had all kinds of tourists demand their change in US$. Once we explained how the spread in exchange rates worked, and that we would be ripping them off if we converted the change back to US, most were satisfied with their handful of Canadian "funny money" to take home, or use to buy souvenirs elsewhere.
The banks maintain a 5-6% spread between what they pay for US cash, and what they sell US cash for. In the 80s, it was even higher, about 10%. The only place in Cnanda that you will get your change in US$ is at the duty free shops at border crossings, where they do a sufficient business to allow them to process your entire transaction in foreign currency. But the price will always be converted at a rate that favors the business, not the traveler!



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Re: What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

Post by glendalais » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:32 pm

delsdad wrote:Debit cards are not accepted universally. A lot of carribean islands are not equipped to deal with them. I can't even use my Canadian debit cards in the US!
Actually, I wouldn't have minded having my Interac Card with me. There was a Scotiabank ABM at the Nassau port terminal building, and RBC and Scotiabank branches in town. It seems Canada has thoroughly dominated the Bahamian banking industry, lol.



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Re: What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

Post by YANXWIN » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:13 am

I have to agree with the whole, learn the exchange rates before you go, idea. I lived in Brasil for a couple of years. My parents came to visit just before I came home. Everything was really cheap there and we wanted to bring back a bunch of stuff, but I knew what money was doing there at the time. We only exchanged what we needed for the day, as inflation rates were between 400-700% per year. A lot of the shops took dollar because they could save it and make more money. The shop owners used to pay kids to re-price things on the shelf daily. I never understood inflation until I lived there. Know before you go.



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Re: What do you mean the whole world doesn't use US Dollars?!

Post by hobie16 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:13 am

When I was traveling the world providing training I found that good old greenbacks talked a lot louder than local currencies. In many places merchants would refuse to deal with the local money.

I went to Brazil three years in a row. On the second trip I brought money that was left over from the first. The clerk laughed at me the first time I tried to use it. Turned out the inflation had been so bad the government had come up with new bills. My money was literally not worth the paper it was printed on.


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