Friday, January 04, 2008

U.S. Dollars

Yahoo News has a small article today to the effect that the Taj Mahal, in India, no longer accepts entrance fees in U.S. dollars. You have to pay 290 rupees; you can't just give them a five dollar bill any more. This is presented as a "troubling sign for the U.S. dollar," although in fact the dollar has dropped so far against the rupee that it's cheaper to pay in rupees.

Well, tadda-wadda. Tough bananas, guys. I'm not the world's great foreign traveler; but when I travel overseas, I carry and use the local currency. That, or credit cards. It is the height of arrogance for Americans to travel to another country and expect local merchants and tourist sites to accept American currency, in practice forcing the merchant to bear the expense of currency conversion. Grow up and learn to be world citizens, folks; it isn't that hard.

1 comment:

  1. I remember when I lived in Japan, the dollar was very strong--something like 238 yen to the dollar if I recall correctly. The Japanese 1 yen coins were made out of aluminum alloy, and were so light they'd blow away if you tossed them up in a stiff wind.

    The big problem with currency conversion is that they charge everyone so much for the "convenience" these days. Thomas Cook used to sell you foreign money for about 4%. Nowadays, watch out, they'll hit you for 12% PLUS a flat fee. Ouch.

    I trade a certain amount in pounds and euros. Banks really treat people like sh*t. They'll charge you 15-30 pounds to "convert" dollars to pounds and back again. In this day and age of computerized transactions, that's absolute highway robbery. It's as outmoded as demanding a 7-10 day float for check deposits. The fact is: The bank teller is LOOKING at the balance of the account from which my creditor is paying via the check I've just handed her as I'm standing at the window.

    Banks are cleaning up on "floats" and conversions these days. Our Federal Government facilitates this through lax regulation and corporate friendly legislation. We all pay for their greed.