petite anglaise

September 21, 2004

for what it’s worth

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 1:37 pm

I have a problem with the euro. I’m not against the concept of it, in fact I think the UK should adopt it – if only to make it easier for me to pay off my student loan without having to make lots of expensive bank transfers. My problem is with getting my head ’round how much the things are actually worth.

The euro became legal tender in France on 1st Jan 2002, so you’d think I’d have had chance adjust to the ‘new’ currency by now. However, until recently, prices were shown both in French francs and euros. So it was possible to pay in euros, without actually thinking in euros. Yours truly carried on thinking in francs, and probably lopping off a zero for good measure and converting francs to British pounds… This strategy was fatally flawed as I left the UK a decade ago and my notion of what things cost there is approximate to say the least. Do you mean to say a Twix doesn’t cost 13p any more?

These days without the guidance of francs on the price tags I must confess I don’t have much idea how much cash I’m handing over. I tip waiters either far too much or far too little, and the total of my weekly supermarket shop is always a painful surprise. The latter is partly due to the fact that most shops saw the euro as a golden opportunity to hike up their prices and indulge in a wholesale rounding-up exercise, knowing full well that your average customer was going to take a long time to realise that euro cents are worth rather more than the old franc centimes (50c. = 34p).

This admission, coming from a mathematically-challenged person who freely admits to still counting on her fingers, probably doesn’t shock anyone. But I’d quite like to know whether I’m alone on this? Am I?


  1. I love the Euro, it’s like monopoly money. If you don’t know what it’s worth, you can’t feel guilty spending it. Tip: go to Ireland. It seems to be the only country that has ever benefited from the EU. Last time I was home visiting the folks, I bought armfuls of clothes, for like, uh, minus pence. (Worse than you, I kind of half everything to get pounds…)

    Comment by claypot — September 23, 2004 @ 10:39 am

  2. I agree, the euro is great. Luckily I arrived here after the change so I don’t have to worry about all those francs unless my colleagues start talking about house prices in ‘balles’. Then I get seriously confused :-/

    For student loans, I just ring them up and give them my CB number. Works a treat. Never bother with real cash transfers.

    Comment by Dan — September 23, 2004 @ 10:40 am

  3. The problem in the UK is the fact that most of the population wont be able to do the maths, this seems to be the biggest anti-Euro argument.

    People dont care whether it would be financially better for them, they just want to be safe in the knowledge that no-one is ripping them off for a can of beans.

    Comment by Watski — September 23, 2004 @ 10:42 am

  4. mm so I’m not alone then.

    multiplying by 6.599517 or whatever it is is not the easiest thing either. I had to revise my six and seven times tables.

    Comment by petite anglaise — September 23, 2004 @ 10:42 am

  5. I (obviously) arrived after the change, and I’m quite lucky since the euro isnt that far off from the dollar (1 euro = $1.20 or thereabouts). My hubby is handling the change pretty well, but the other day confessed there are still items he still thinks about in francs (that day it was car prices). Seeing as he’s a math teacher, he still calculates it very quickly, much to my frustration!

    Comment by ViVi — September 23, 2004 @ 10:43 am

  6. I just try not to think about it, for fear that my head might explode. I do miss the colorful Dutch money though…

    Comment by Nigel — September 23, 2004 @ 10:44 am

  7. Twix? Surely you mean Raider? :-)

    Comment by céline — September 23, 2004 @ 10:45 am

  8. Raider? When were they called Raiders?

    Comment by petite anglaise — September 23, 2004 @ 10:45 am

  9. Until 1991 – just like you haven’t got used to the Euro, I still view Twixes with suspicion and think of my good ol’ Raiders when buying and munching them. I’m a creature of habbit, me.

    Comment by céline — September 23, 2004 @ 10:54 am

  10. I still have to convert things from euros into escudos (luckily 200 became 1 euro) then into pounds (300ish to a pound)to know what something’s worth. I give up usually… “what’s that? €40 per kilo of cherries…erm yeah, that’s reasonable!”

    Comment by vit — September 23, 2004 @ 3:08 pm

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