When the bimetallic Canadian $2 coin came out in 1996, most of us thought it was unique. There were tales at first about how the centre sometimes fell out, but you never hear such things today. Basically we just feel it’s a pretty cool coin, and a small handful of those add up really quickly.
About a month ago, I bought some windshield fluid at an Esso in Rosemont, around the corner from where Cleopatrick now lives. It came to just over $5 and I paid with a $10 bill, so I got back two toonies and some change. But when I got back home, I noticed that one of them had the number 10 on it, so I examined it more closely. Was there a special issue one year that I hadn’t seen before?
No, not at all. The clerk at the Esso handed me back an Uruguayan 10-peso coin. And although it is slightly thicker than a toonie, one wouldn’t notice because it is otherwise identical. Except it’s only worth about 50 cents Canadian. In other words, I unintentionally got short-changed $1.50.
I held on to the Uruguyan coin for a while, reflecting on how it’s more likely for something like this to happen in a larger city. Another time, I got (and only noticed when I got home) and Jamaican dollar piece instead of a 5- or 10-cent piece. Either way you slice it, I got jipped again, as a Jamaican dollar is worth a hair over one cent Canadian.
Yesterday I had enough time between client calls to step out to the bagel shop a block away from my place. I guess you could say I bought four fresh, warm bagels for only $1.30 instead of the usual $2.80. That’s quite a deal even by Montréal standards, where good bagels are relatively cheap.
I no longer have my Uruguyan 10-peso piece, however.