26 June 2012

George's Wallet

This is the current look of my wallet:

My wallet is just one step from becoming George's wallet, from the Seinfeld series, a wallet so thick that prevented George himself from sitting straight when he put it in the back pocket of his pants.

It is worth saying, however, that my problem is not exactly like George's. He had the wallet in that state because he collected all kinds of small papers, receipts, business cards, phone numbers written in napkins, because you never knew when one of these papers would be needed. As for me, although I have the same habit of collecting every little paper, I clear my wallet of those papers from time to time, leaving only the two or three that are really important. No, my wallet's problem is another one: too many coins.

These are all the coins that I found in my wallet today. Notice the exorbitant amount of the so called "small" coins, of 5, 2 and 1 cents, especially the latter. There's an explanation for that. In fact, there are two explanations. The first is that I don't just throw money away (like some of my german colleagues do). The second is that I cannot seem to give them as change.

I wouldn't have problems with that in my home country. Aside from the trouble of finding the coins inside the wallet (especially the smaller ones, which are the most difficult to grab), it's not hard for me to do it in order to give the exact change. In Germany it's different, however. They tell me that the total bill is dreizehn, drei und fünfzig and I get totally confused, even knowing that the literal translation of that is thirteen, three and fifty. Result: one 20 euro bill to pay 13,53. Which results in: even more coins. Repeat that for each transaction that I make and you'll easily understand why my wallet is in this state.

It's not that I don't already know how to count in German. It's that, with the way they spell the numbers (switching the units with the tens, leaving the hundreds and thousands), each time they say sieben und neunzig I have to ask them to repeat and think thrice to understand if they mean 79 or 97. Even worse is when they add the hundreds, hundert neun und vierzig (149) and then the euro cents, hundert neun und vierzig, neun und neunzig (149,99). It's a mess!

And to add more to the confusion, I was told not too long ago that the Germans are so used to switch the tens with the units that sometimes they even switch them while translating to English! So be aware and don't be surprised if at some time you expect to pay 25 euros for your lunch and they demand you fifty two euros instead of twenty five. Because the Germans could get it wrong while trying to translate fünf und zwanzig to five and twenty.

Bonus. The number 6 is spelled sechs in German but read zex and not sex. I realized that just a bit too late; the consequence was that I wanted to ask for the menu 6 in the restaurant and instead of saying ich will sechs (I want the six) I ended up telling the waitress ich will sex (I want sex). Don't know why, but even today my german colleagues make a point of reminding me of that story and laughing out loud at my expenses...

1 comment:

Andre Nunes said...

Muito bom! lol