Life in the Euro zone means handling a lot of change. You got your 1 and 2 euro coins. And then there's the small change: 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 centimes. On September 1st, a new 5 euro coin came out. There must not be that many in circulation, because I never saw one until today when I received one after a transaction at the post office. As you can see, it's shiny and silver and looks a little bit like a carnival token.
Who knew though that trying to get rid of that sucker would nearly cause an international incident? The cashier at our corner market took one look at it and asked me what it was. I tried to reassure her that it was real French money and even got the backing of the fellow behind me in the line. But she was spooked and went off to consult the manager. And of course, the line at the register started growing and the grumbling from the other customers started. After what seemed like ages, she came back smiling and rang up my one purchase, a two-liter bottle of milk. And of course, she made absolutely sure I knew that it wasn't her fault. (Trust me, that's a classic.) For the amount of trouble it caused, I'll stick with the 5 euro bills.