Rounding Up and Rounding Down Posted by heather on Jul 5, 2011 in Culture
Last Friday I had to make a trip to Flevoland. From where I live in Rotterdam to where I was going in Flevoland was, according to Google Maps, going to take me about an hour and fifteen minutes and would be just over 100kms each way. That meant I needed to stop and get some petrol. Not planning to fill the tank completely, I thought I would stick €20 worth of petrol in. As I unscrewed the tank cap and stuck the nozzle in, I changed my mind. I’d put €25 in, no..no..I’d put in €27, since I knew I had a two Euro coin.
In the Netherlands, they do not use one or two Euro cent coins. They just aren’t given out, so the smallest cent value coin you will receive is five cents. This can take a little getting used to, especially if you have recently been in one of the countries that does give them out and extra especially if you forgot to clear out your wallet after that trip. I also imagine there are a fair few number of tourists who wander around the Netherlands wondering why they were skimped on their change. But in general it is no issue and the space it frees up in the change part of the wallet can be handy.
So, there I stood watching the numbers go up and trying to time it just right so that I wouldn’t go over the amount I wanted. Despite my efforts, the dial stopped at €27.01. Blast!
So, what happens if you are over or under a five cent amount? The practice is that the amount is rounded up or rounded down accordingly. Had it been in the afternoon and had I not been functioning (or attempting to function) in the early morning, something I don’t do well since I am not a morning person, I would have realized that the original €27.01 would have gone to my advantage. Might as well get 4 more cents worth of petrol, I figured as I squeezed the handle just a small amount but enough to make the numbers flip to €27.06. Double blast!
Now not only was I tired but I was also convinced that the machines were rigged. I decided to admit defeat and began to walk towards the cashier when I woke up a bit and realized that in fact, I had been fine on both occasions and the amount would be rounded down in my favour. I laughed at my foolishness, paid the bill and went on my way.
Are you in favour of the rounding system or would you rather have the smaller coins?