I was listening to the discussion about the rupee crunch and how it had affected the people in our locality with some colleagues when the topic diverted into getting toffees and gums in place of loose change from our Bhutanese shopkeepers. I thought I was the only one facing that problem and didn’t join the discussion earlier but as I listened to more people sharing their frustrations I could help wondering how complacent I had been in that matter earlier.
Every time I visited the shops, I always found the Bhutanese shopkeepers without loose change and offering me some chocolates and bubblegum instead of change. I didn’t have choice but to accept those in place of change initially but later I started asking myself. “How long am I going to accept the toffees and gums?” I could find those loose changes (toffees and gums) everywhere…in my handbags, shopping bags and drawers. When I did some calculation, I found that I brought home Nu.50-100 worth toffees and gums every week. By that rate, I was wasting some hundreds of ngultrum every month for the toffees and gums that I never buy intentionally and I had been doing that for more than 5 years. Then I realized that I could stop accepting those toffees and gums by carrying some loose change while visiting shops. I got one ngultrum notes from bank and started using those change. I even carried some coins and my friends found it quite weird initially but now they are used to seeing me carrying some coins and loose change and they have started following my examples.
Sometimes when I find myself in some situation where the shopkeepers offer me toffees and gums for change I simply tell them that my children are too big for toffees and gums and I prefer my change in coins and papers rather than sweets (smiling).