Tuesday, February 20, 2007

£50 notes

What is the point of £50 notes. They're fine if a customer is purchasing £48.93 worth of books but invariably it's only £6.99 and you end up cleared out of fivers.

Who uses £50 notes?

Tourists who have no idea about the currency. I have seen and recognised that look of pained resignation as I hand over my 100 euro note in the small shop. Sorry mate.

Men of a Certain Age who go into the bank on thursday and take out a wad of 500 quid for the weekend. 'I'll have it in 50's'. (On discussing this earlier with Christine the rep she asked me if I knew why men of a Certain Age had chunks of cash in large denomination notes. 'Erm, no' I said rather innocently. 'Prostitutes, of course' she said. 'Oh' I said.)

CityBoys. I have nothing to say about cityboys.

Les Grandes Dames d'un Certain Age. 'Would you be a dear and change this. I've nothing smaller. So sorry'. This group are still living in a time whan paper money was the size of a tablecloth and had to be folded.

Romani Gypsies. This morning a woman and her elderly mother came in in full-on Romani regalia and rather handsome they looked too. They spent 30 seconds choosing a book and came to the till. '£6.99 please'. They hand me a fresh-off-the-press £50 note. 'Sorry, I'm afraid I can't change that' I say in extreme middle-class prejudicial fashion. She gave me a knowing grin and said 'Ok, I get change and be back'. She didn't. Fairplay.

And, scumbags. The ones who actually make some effort to steal from you. Like the scumbag in the flash coat on the mobile who was in a hurry and took us for £42.01 last january. Rot in hell.

So, five groups and two of those using fake 50's.

Time to dump the £50 note.

Let's start a petition.


  1. I just luv nifties, and I'm bloody sure that many other indie traders find them a very acceptable payment method.

    John Calder, and Marek (at Tlon, have recently faced somewhat more important problems affecting their Lambeth bookshops : such is life sarf of the river.

  2. Rents! Rents! Rents!
    Location! Location! Location!
    Developers! Developers! Developers!

    For the most part big chains don't put indies out of business, landlords do.

    Have you seen the Cut lately? A developers wet dream. No room for a serious but small bookshop with 3 bays of Beckett and 2 shelves of Artaud. Hopefully Calder will thrive through the net. He has one of the best Publisher websites I've seen. (http://www.calderpublications.com/index.shtml)

    And the Elephant always has that development sword of Damacles hovering menacingly overhead...

  3. Oops, Damocles.

    And Fifties are still a pain.

    You wouldn't be a man of a Certain Age would you Clive?

  4. Adam

    I'm in my early sixties : I come from a different world to this modern "plastic" (debt ridden) way of life.

    The last two customers in my shop to tender a £50 note were a late 30's showman (amongst his purchases was a copy of Nathaniel Lloyd "History of English Brickwork") and 60 + year old lawyer, purchasing poetry. I don't think that you can "pigeon hole" customer spending habits, and their preferred payment methods (except for old farts like myself, where "cash is king")

    Like I said, I just luv nifties.