Airing of Grievances: Confounding Coinage

Tyler Mead, Senior Staff Reporter

Dear Confounding Coinage,

I will undoubtedly look back at my semester abroad as some of the best months of my life so far. If, by chance, you haven’t or aren’t spending a semester abroad to become more cultured by constantly surrounding yourself with other not-actually-cultured Americans in Europe let me first say: I’m better than you.

Europe’s not without its faults however, and it’s part of my culture to complain about them. The racism, xenophobia and eurocentrism are undoubtedly prevalent, but I’m a white guy, so let’s talk about something that affects me. What bothers me is the weight in all of my pockets. I carry this jangling weight with me everywhere I go as an actual necessity to purchase things essential to my survival. Without this terrible weight I’d be without food, water or (far more importantly) coffee. I’m talking, of course, about coins.

For all the boasting about their exquisite art, food and lovers, I assure you this is a backwards wasteland of a continent almost entirely because of their barbaric reliance on coins. For us living in the modern age, coins are given to children for candy, service industry workers for pity or the homeless for a false sense of charitability. They hold no real value, nor should they.

The “euro,” as these people call it, utilizes these ridiculous monetary abominations as not only a full euro, but a whole 2 euro. Where I’ve travelled in Europe, 3 euros can buy a meal or transportation access, so you can see the torture I’m being put through. My options are to carry 1 and 2 euro coins, in hopes that I can exchange them immediately for goods and services, or stick to my guns and only carry a 5 euro bill, their paper currency worth the least. These cretins have me trapped in their system. If I use up my euro coins, I can no longer pay exactly for my daily needs. If I only use bills, I’m handed my change in the form of more god-forsaken coins. There’s truly no escape. People don’t even tip here so I can’t unload this burden on some sub-par waiter.

Maybe I could endure such hardships if they were my day-to-day currency, but God had other plans. Instead, I ended up in Denmark, a country that reluctantly joined the European Union on the grounds that they could keep their ridiculous monopoly-esque money that is the kroner. Not only do Danes have the audacity to use coins ranging anywhere between a half kroner to a 20 kroner, but also make the currency essentially useless. The cheapest cup of drinkable coffee I’ve found so far costs 25 kroner with a discount. Starbucks charges between 40 and 45 kroner, to get an idea of what’s normal here.

The smallest Danish bill is a 50 kroner, meaning anything I buy with that will be met with a figurative hailstorm of coins. They vary wildly in size and whether or not they have a hole in the center, and when fumbling through my pockets for the right two or seven coins needed to make a small purchase all feel the same. This is not how the civilized world functions. There’s a reason the Sacagawea dollar is almost as neglected as the plight of Sacagawea’s people (looking at you, public schools.) Let me give you a piece of paper with a dead white man on them in exchange for a dollar menu item. I don’t jingle.


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