Foreign currency conversion
When abroad you will use foreign currency in strange denominations, and just to confuse you a little more they sometimes even write the prices down differently as well. The result is that it is too easy to spend a lot more than we realised. Conversion rates and decimal places can make on-the-spot comparisons and calculations difficult.
When prices in some currencies are measured in millions, and there is confusion about the use of commas and decimal places, you can easily find you have spent a week’s wages on a pair of cheap plastic sunglasses.
Before I go away, I research the currency and exchange rates. I make up a short comparison list that I carry and soon memorise to help me calculate what I am spending in ‘real money’. For example, when you go to the market and see a nice beach towel it may sound like a bargain at the listed price of 91,500 Zorks. After all, in my imaginary country of Zorkland you get thousands of these Zorks for a pound, don’t you? To check, I would use my comparison table to help me make a decision as to the cost and value.
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Using my invented country of Zorkland as an example, where there are 1,395 Zorks to the pound, my currency comparison list would look like this.
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This gives me a ‘feel’ for the currency.
I know that £10 is about 14,000 Zorks!
I know that something priced at 42.230 Zorks will cost me the UK equivalent of about £30.
1 know that a cup of tea should be about 900 Zorks, so by common sense comparison to UK prices, if somebody asks me for 18,000 Zorks for a glass of orange juice I can do a mental comparison without any mathematics and without my exchange ready reckoner. At 18,000 Zorks it seems to me that I am being asked to pay about twenty times the cost of a cup of tea for just one glass ot orange juice. I wouldn’t pay that in the UK and I won’t pay that in Zorkland cither.
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Now we can go back to look at the beach towel, offered to us at 91,500 Zorks. Time to use our table and a little gentle mental arithmetic, which is even easier w4ien looking at the table.
£50 is about 70,000 Zorks, and the towel costs more than that so we already know it costs more than £50.
£100 is about 140.000 Zorks, but the towel is less than that so we know it is less than £100.
Without pulling out a calculator, or scribbling on the back ot my hand with a ballpoint pen, the towel costs between £50 and £100. It is considerably closer to £50 than £100. So 1 guess it is about £65 – and at that price it is too expensive and I don’t want it!
Now just to confirm that decision, double check by working it backwards.
It it is £65. that is £50 which is about 70,000 Zorks plus another £10 which is about 14,000 Zorks plus another £5 which is 7,000 Zorks which is a total of 91,000 Zorks
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