49. Coins

Now, if you have 2 coins, and I give you another 2 coins, how many coins will you have? “I don’t know, cauz, I’m totally like, an idiot, you know”

Some things in life just don’t make sense, do they?  I mean have you ever seen The Only Way is Essex or Jersey Shore?  What about Keeping up with the Kardashians?  It’s all nonsensical crap that has no relevance.  I honestly struggle to see their appeal, why would you willingly want to watch a family full of hollow, soulless, materialistic buffoons with a combined IQ of 12 doing Miami or whatever other city they have picked out of a hat?  It is beyond me.  I would genuinely love to know what watchers of the show find interesting about it, because I simply cannot work it out.

I also get confused with what a hedge fund is.  Time and time again I read articles on hedge fund managers doing the nasty and so on, but still, I have no idea what a hedge fund actually is, so how do I know if the man accused is breaking the law?  According to Investopedia the definition of a hedge fund is “An aggressively managed portfolio of investments that uses advanced investment strategies such as leveraged, long, short and derivative positions in both domestic and international markets with the goal of generating high returns (either in an absolute sense or over a specified market benchmark). Legally, hedge funds are most often set up as private investment partnerships that are open to a limited number of investors and require a very large initial minimum investment. Investments in hedge funds are illiquid as they often require investors keep their money in the fund for at least one year”.  Complete gibberish.  In fact, there are a couple of words in there that I don’t believe really exist.

So what is it about the UAE that I don’t understand?  There must be something otherwise today’s missive is pointless…well it’s the Dirham.   Dirham coins to be precise.  In the good old days when I lived in Surbiton in the southern-western most corner of London, I would go to the shop with a pound, buy something for 99 pence and wait eagerly for 1 penny change.  This penny coin would then spend the rest of its life underneath my car seat.

The Dirham though has gone for a slightly different flavour, as there are 100 pence to the Pound there are 100 fils to the Dirham.  There are however only 3 coins, the 25 fil, the 50 fil and the 1 Dirham.  When receiving ones change you are often short changed.  My first experience of this was in my first week, I made a purchase and was 12 fils short on the return.  Do I really care about a denomination so small?  No, but a poor man earning only AED 600 a month might.

I seriously don’t get it, why is there no denomination of coin less than 25 fils?  What is the point in the first place?  Most places generally stick to round figures, and that’s great.  But when you go to the supermarket and buy your tin of beans for AED 3.19 a pop, you end up paying AED 3.25, or in most cases AED 4 and losing out on at least 6 fils.  Over the course of the day how much extra money does that amount too?  Over the course of your time in the UAE how much have you lost?

I had the pleasure of standing behind a miserable westerner in the supermarket the other day.  The grilling she gave the poor Filipina girl behind the check-out was extraordinary.  She had been short changed 43 fils and for some reason decided that it was the check-out girls fault.  43 fils equates to 11 US cents.  In the grand scheme of things she was right to be annoyed, but was foolishly directing her grievances at the wrong person.  I can only assume that the reason for her bad mood was that she too had no idea what a hedge fund was, nor could she keep up with the Kardashians.

I did some dot-com digging to see if I could find the answer as to why there is no coin smaller than the 25 fil piece.  My findings were most interesting.  According to the banks higher echelons there are indeed 1, 5 and 10 fil coins in circulation, although when a Gulf News reporter went on an investigative mission he was told by the tellers in several banks that they are no longer available.  Some banks even said that they had never heard of them…  Apparently there is even a hotline you can ring if you are short changed so you can lodge a complaint to the Ministry of Economy… 6005 2225, if you’re interested.  It seems weird though to lodge a complaint with the government and not the business that short changed you…

These bankers that don’t know their own currency are the same bankers that believe they are safe from the Euro crisis (Ref. Blog 48).  You can bet your life that they don’t know what a hedge fund is, they’re probably too busy trying to keep up with Kim Karsdashian.  What hope do we have?

I think we can all agree, that after 2008, we can never trust the banks…         

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