I thought this might be funny in retrospect, but I am still bitter.
I arrived at my hostel in Bali and, of course, needed cash in order to pay for it. So my friend and I are directed down the street. Once we got to the fork in the road (literally) there’s the option between a gas station and a singular stall. A very friendly man by the stall came to the sidewalk to greet us and asked if we needed to exchange money. I was a little hesitant, but more tired and hungry, so agreed to follow him to his stand. That’s when his friend popped up out of no where to initiate the exchange. I told him how much I needed, he calculated the exchange rate on his calculator, to which I agreed and he began to count out the money for me.
He did everything very slowly and was giving me very small bills.
The thing with IDR is everything is in the hundreds of thousands. 100,000 IDR is maybe 7 USD.
I am owed 800,000 IDR, which he’s giving me in 20,000 bills… shady? Absolutely. But I watched him like a hawk as he counted it out in front of me, and when he handed me the stack I counted it separately off to the side while it was my friend’s turn. After the first attempt I was coming up 300,000 IDR short. It wasn’t exactly possible to know for sure when you have tiny hands and a million bills in your hand. I got the chance I tell the teller that I thought I was short and began to count the money in front of him. He quickly grabbed all the bills from me and counted them himself, again slowly, with my friend watching as well. Everything was there, so he handed the stack back to me.
We left, not exactly feeling one hundred percent comfortable with the situation. Yeah, maybe he had tried to rip me off, but I caught him.
Once back at the hostel I counted my bills and, no joke, 200,0000 IDR was missing. Un-believe-able! This guy had somehow magicianed two very large stacks of cash away in front of my eyes AND my friend’s. Without us noticing. Twice! And not only that, but his calculator was rigged to show the wrong amount. The worst part was there was literally nothing I could do to get that money back.
I felt like committing some slight arson, but I decided to go dancing instead. At least, that’s the story I am sticking to ;)