Something happened to me yesterday that would never happen in the USA. (Wow, you’d think I was, y’know, in another country or something!) I was shopping at the pharmacy. Well, actually it was a “generic” pharmacy (they only sell the cheaper, generic drugs) and it is called a botica. This one has friendly staff and we frequent it often. More and more often, to be honest, as we get more middle-aged and require more of its products to live, and to move without symptoms or complaints.
This botica is about 8 feet wide, basically one small room open to the street. I stood on the sidewalk, doing my transactions over the wooden counter. An employee, who recognizes us by now, waited on me. Behind her on the shelves sat an impressive array of all kinds of pills, out of the box but still in their original foil sheets, all organized in small, neatly-labelled plastic bins. Not quite Tupperware, but you get the idea.
I only bought one item yesterday, a tube of ointment. The price was 84 pesos ($2). I gave her P100, so my change would have been P16. But they only had 5-peso coins.
So she said, “I don’t have one peso, so can I just give you a Tylenol?”
This is not that unusual. When our kids were small, stores that didn’t have 5-centavo coins (which at the time could actually buy something) would offer us a piece of hard candy as change. The girls liked that system.
So, I went home with my purchase, plus three 5-peso coins and one tablet of Tylenol as my change.