Since when have the 20-cent coins and the 10-cent coins gone out of fashion? Since when can shopkeepers and bus drivers refuse to accept loose change as payment for goods or services? Are these two coins not legal tender anymore? I must have missed the press release.
Incident 1: A few months back, I was at the market last month and bought something. The total cost was HK$18. I usually try to give exact change if I have it. I handed over a $10 bill, one $5 coin, one $1 coin and then I had to dig around in my coin purse for an additional $2 and I came up with eight 20¢ coins and four 10¢ coins. The shopkeeper stopped me before I could hand over the small change and told me, “I’m sorry, but we do not accept 20¢ and 10¢ coins.” I then had to hand over a $100 bill instead, to which she gave had to give me change.
Incident 2: A high school student boarded the bus and instead of using his Octopus card to pay the fare, he counted out the total fare (HK$6.20) in small change and dropped the coins into the box. The driver called him back and admonished him for using all small change to pay his fare, mumbling something about how they could only accept small change for up to a certain amount. I was already seated when this whole exchange took place and I remember wondering if the bus driver woke up on the wrong side of the bed. This incident happened about a couple of months ago.
Incident 3: Just the other day. There is this new bubble tea place that opened right in our backyard. If you’ve been my bloggy friend for a while now, you’d know how sad I was that our favorite bubble tea place closed down. Anyway… I was immediately at the new bubble tea shop for my bubble tea fix. My favorite drink (honey green tea + pearl sago) came out to HK$13. I handed over a $10 coin, a $2 coin, and five 20¢ coins. Again, I got the I’m sorry, but we do not accept 20¢ coins line from the cashier. She explained that many customers do not like getting small coins as change. It’s not like I paid the entire amount in 65x 20¢ coins; it was only five 20¢ coins, because I did not have a $1 coin. Besides, last I checked, 20¢ coins are still legal tender. When I pointed this out to her, she took my money and rang up the sale.