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Ay ay ay

Another post about getting laundry done in Mexico City? Sure, why not?

As I was getting ready to go pick up my laundry this afternoon, I grabbed my claim ticket and double-checked my wallet. I had plenty of cash to cover the 93-peso charge. The problem was that it was all in 500-peso notes.

Neatly folded laundry.

Neatly folded laundry.

At the current exchange rate, a 500-peso note is worth about $27 U.S., making it the closest thing Mexico has to a U.S. $20 bill. Still, small businesses here react to a 500-peso note like you’re asking them to make change for a $1,000. It seems they just don’t keep very much cash in their tills. And forget about credit cards at many small businesses.

So when I pulled out a 500-peso note, I was already prepared for the inevitable response:

“Ay ay ay!”

I told the woman I had nothing smaller, and then I waited several minutes for her to find enough change. She did ask me for three pesos, which I gave her, so at least I wasn’t cleaning her out of small coins too. In the end, my change consisted of four 100-peso notes, ten 20-peso notes, and two 5-peso coins. I guess I’m lucky it wasn’t eighty-two 5-peso coins.

The woman didn’t seem terribly upset, but I told her next time I’d arrive with smaller notes.

The clothes themselves came out just fine. They smelled nice and were neatly folded and repacked in the laundry bag I dropped them off in.