Have you noticed how you're getting short-changed at the shops nowadays?
Every time I go to a provision store or a supermarket, I'm handed a bill which totals up to an amount that has been rounded off... almost always to the next highest 50 paisa denomination.
I get bills for xy Rupees twenty-eight paise or sixty-nine paise. I mean , come on! Is a proper change for such amounts even existent in our currency? Have you even seen a 1 paise or 2 paise coin in use nowadays ?
Apparently the 5, 10 and 25-pase coins are still legal tender. Officially, at least, but I've yet to see anyone who carries those coins. Or even someone who'll accept them.
Incidentally, I've even had stores offering me toffees in lieu of small change! Hmmm ... I wonder whether they would accept them in lieu of payment?
One cashier was almost apologetic and vaguely embarassed about it. "It's all because of the VAT amounts," she said. "It usually adds up to odd figures and we don't have the small change for them. No one has! "
So the amounts are conveniently rolled over into the next biggest 50-paise denomination and no one's the wiser. Or bothers to speak up even if they notice it. It's such a measly little amount, after all. Hardly worth talking about.
Well, that may be petty change for one shopper, but hey, do the maths.... that's a nice bit of extra profit for a store which sees hundreds, if not thousands, of shoppers every day!
No, wait ... actually, it does add up to quite a significant amount even for the individual shopper who is spending more than necessary every single day, albeit at the rate of a few paise each time. It may not exactly pinch or throw the budget off-kilter, but what it does is make me feel slightly cheated and a little indignant about it.
Hmmm ... so who does get the balance, I wonder. If it's the store, that's money collected unfairly, isn't it? If it's the Revenue department, then they're collecting more tax than they're entitled to.
For my part, I'd say "you're welcome to it " if they could just prove they've put that money to some good use rather than to line their pockets.
Employment opportunities for the underprivileged, or maybe better education in the rural areas, and what about better medical facilities in tribal areas , and ... oh, the potential "good uses " are too many to count, aren't they?
Imagine! if our small change could create a big change...