More Mysteries

Last year, I wrote about some of life’s little mysteries for an American living in Lithuania.  Here are a few more…

Why does the bank machine (ATM) disperse 200 litas notes when most cash expenses are under 20 litas?  That’s like carrying around $100 bills.

On the same theme, why do small retailers never have change for a 20 litas note (much less a 200 litas note)?  Has the concept of a “cash drawer” not reached Lithuania?  I can’t tell you the number of times that a sales clerk has gone into her own wallet to try to make change for me.

Why are there blue lights in the bathrooms in the mall?  I’ve been told that drug addicts can’t see their veins with blue lights so it keeps the them out of the mall bathrooms.  Is the drug problem really that severe in Lithuania?

Why do Americans use washcloths and Europeans do not?

How can an umbrella in Vilnius and a one-way fare from Kaunas to Paris on RyanAir both cost 70 litas?


About amanda

Creating academic and public environments for the humanities to flourish Researching Soviet and Eastern European history Engaging people and ideas as a writer and interviewer Traveling as much as possible View all posts by amanda

3 responses to “More Mysteries

  • Lauryna

    I can give you some answers:

    1. Sometimes you need to take out more cash, like I did when i had to pay for my camera. The store couldn’t accept cards so I had to take out more than 1000 litas.
    2. Most of retailers get their cash to a bank every day or at least once a week. I don’t know why they won’t get into their heads to keep small change at least for the start…
    3. Drugs are a big problem everywhere and the supermarkets don’t really want to have some addicts wandering around the stores. That’s why they have the blue lights in restrooms, guards keeping an eye out for such people ant etc.
    4. Too bad I don’t know what a washcloth is 😀
    5. Unfortunately, this shows our economic progress… The stranger it looks, the more unbalanced it is.

  • Litlocal

    1. 200 Litas is ideal, 500 Litas may be too much, but not bad. Would be worse to receive some 1000 Lt in 20 Lt or 10 Lt bank notes. The lesser banknotes you receive – the better for wallet and/or pocket.
    2. “why do small retailers never have change for a 20 litas note” – usually they have, if you had the bad luck “the number of times” – it’s only coincidence and/or bad luck, but not an indication at all. Though i don’t know what and where you were buying, maybe in your case it is a rule indeed. Mystery is mystery 😀
    3. Drug problem is a big problem. In Kirtimai district you can see it right under your feet (in many places). And another reason for these blue lights may be (i’m not quite sure) a solution of some interior design aspects. There are some.
    4. Agree with Lauryna.
    5. Like one retailer said: every price has its customer. And i would add: it’s a free country, you can buy or you can not buy, your choice :)))) . Much beter than empty shops like it used to be some 19 years ago and further back :))) .

  • amanda

    1) I agree that 200 ltl notes are convenient when I need to withdraw a lot of money (for example, to pay rent) but when I only need 200 ltl for daily expenses, it’s annoying to receive a 200 ltl note because some shops refuse to take it. But I’ve figured out the trick — I request 180 ltl so that I get a 100 ltl note and 4 20s.

    2) I should add that this is less of a problem than 2 years ago; big stores of course always have change but still sometimes in restaurants and small shops they can’t make change even for a 20 ltl note.

    3) I know there is a drug problem but I don’t think it is worse than in US cities. I worked for 10 years in downtown Seattle so I know what it’s like to step over drug addicts 🙂 but I’ve never seen blue lights used in the US. Either Lithuanians perceive it as a greater problem in public or this is a European strategy that we don’t use in the US. In any case, I just found it interesting. Initially I thought that the blue lights were a design element and one friend said she thinks they use blue lights so customers can’t see if the bathrooms are dirty.

    4) Point made 🙂

    5) I bought a 14 ltl umbrella and yes, it’s much better to have goods in the stores. This mystery isn’t so much about Lithuania; it’s really about capitalism. I expect that an umbrella is much cheaper to manufacture than a flight across Europe yet in this instance they were the same price. So either the umbrella was very overpriced or RyanAir is underpricing some of its tickets. It really stood out to me because I saw the two items on the same day.

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