Common Cents

Intrepid Readers;

We went to Machu Picchu. We saw the Sacred Valley. This post is not about that. This post is about something much more important that has been bugging me for a long time.

Peru, much like the United States or really any other country, has currency in the form of both coins and bills.

Coin denominations, called céntimos, are 0.05, 0.10, 0.20, 0.50, 1.00, 2.00 and 5.00.

Bill denominations, Soles, are 10.00, 20.00, 50.00, 100.00, and 200.00.

There is no 0.01 denomination, which I think is fantastic, and America should join in on the fun and get rid of the penny. I know, that calls into some issues with tax rates in certain states and blah blah blah. It’s useless. Equivalently, in Peru, the 5 centimo piece is equally useless. It’s made out of some plastic metal compound, most people don’t even bother to take it. It’s about as useful as a wet fart.

You can imagine then, without a 1 céntimo denomination and a useless 5 centimo denomination, my low key rage when I go to the store and buy food and then my total bill amounts to something like S/. 28.97….

So, what happens when the bill comes to S./ 28.97? I pay them S/.29 and then…


YES! The amount is rounded DOWN and I get stuck with a bullshit 5 céntimo coin that I can’t use anywhere. And yes, the amount gets rounded all the time, there’s a place on the receipt that acknowledges it.

The question that needs to be asked though is why are products being priced so that they come to an amount that is LITERALLY UNPAYABLE!? There are no 1 céntimo coins, so just price everything in 5 céntimo increments. Taxes are included in the price, so producers, adjust your prices so when the national tax gets included, it’s not a bullshit number that people can’t actually pay without rounding.

Furthermore, while we’re at it, just price things so that everything is in 10 céntimo increments so that we can ditch the useless 5 céntimo and get change with coins people actually use and accept. I swear to whichever deity that you, Intrepid Reader hold most dear, that whenever I get 5 céntimo coin in change, the cashiers give me some sly smile that says “Buena suerte con esa pieza de mierda, Gringo. Es usted problema ahorra. Usted desarrollara, tratara y combitara el cáncer antes de deshacerse esa mierda. Tiene diviertas!” which means “Good luck with that piece of shit, Gringo. Its your problem now. You’ll develop, treat, and beat cancer before you get rid of that shit. Have fun!”

You might think “Well, Adam, just use those 5 céntimo pieces at the grocery store to get rid of them.” Well, here’s the rub; they won’t take them, I’ve tried. If something comes out to be xx.95 or xx.45 or whatever that ends in 5, and I try to give them the 5 céntimo, they won’t take it. They’ll gladly accept the next amount and then give me a 5 céntimo in return, but they won’t take them. Those assholes are only in the business of getting rid of 5 céntimo pieces. There’s some sort of national joke with those things, and I’m not in on the joke. Nobody takes them, and yet, somehow, they still circulate.

Okay, that ends my rant on the inefficiencies of  Peruvian currency. I hope you’ve enjoyed my misery

Next post will be about Machu Picchu. I promise.

Until next time,



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