This was one for the record books. The other day, I stopped at the ATM to get some money and dang it, if it didn't give me 50 euro bills. As I've probably noted before, it's not hard to spend 50 euros in Paris but there's no way you can use a 50 to buy a baguette, a newspaper, or any other purchase under 20 euros. So I went on into the bank and asked the teller if she could give me smaller bills. Her response? We don't have change. I hope I didn't roll my eyes but that's what I felt like doing. Instead I just said thanks and left.
A little while later, I passed by another branch of my bank and thought I'd give it another go. This time the teller didn't give me an automatic no. Instead, he said he'd have to ask his colleague who happened to be busy with another client. Okay fair enough. So we waited and waited. Finally the colleague wrapped up the business with the other client and she told the teller who was "serving" me, yes fine. He made me fill out a form and took a photocopy of my ID. Then he opened up his drawer. Guess what? No change. He rooted around in another drawer for an additional set of keys and told me that he'd have to go downstairs to the safe. His colleague came along. After a bit, she came back up, searching for more keys, saying there was a problem with the safe. Finally, some 15 minutes after this whole ordeal started, my own teller re-emerged and handed over the three bills in change: 2 twenties and a ten.
I'd heard that banks were tight with credit these days but change?