Donald MacInnes: How I came over all funny when I was confronted with money
Donald MacInnes writes Tales from the Water Cooler, which can be found every Saturday on page 2 of i. And, although a financial near-imbecile, he writes a weekly column in The Independent’s Money section, also on Saturdays. He writes regularly on a broad range of subjects in i’s Freeview section and occasionally fills in on Simon Kelner’s daily column when emotionally up to it. @DonaldAMacInnes
Friday 16 May 2014
Do you regard money as being real? Does it matter to you if you can't hold it in your hand? Would you rather have your savings inside a mattress, or do you just like to know how much you have, with someone else looking after it? Someone in a suit, perhaps? Like a banker? (Stop screaming at the back. There's almost nothing to be scared of).
Since time immemorial (which, according to Cave-apedia, refers to the period just after the wheel was invented, but just before anyone figured out what to do with it), cash has had a symbiotic relationship with society. Ever since Oswald the Sceptical bought a handful of mud from Edwin the Nervous for one of those nice shiny black pebbles, we have been delightedly swapping hard currency for goods. (And services, if you want the mud applied by hand).
And while the technological revolution would seem to be convincing us that cameras, telephones, video game consoles and televisions can safely exist within a box the size of a Ryvita, perhaps the biggest impact of all of this future-tech is that we finally do away with currency. Or start aiming for a smartphone the size of a Ritz cracker.
The other day, my wife and I were at the Tesco checkout. The lady swiped the last of our groceries and announced the total: just over £40. Given that my wife and I have yet to set up a joint account for things like food shopping, we usually split the bill on our debit cards. However, instead of inserting her card into the little machine, my wife did something which quite took me aback. She handed me a £20 note. For those of you under the age of 25, I should explain that a "£20 note" is a piece of paper that you can exchange for iTunes credits and KFC. How many Rihanna tunes you download and how many buckets of chicken you consume will determine how many "pounds" you get in return for your "£20 note".
Now, I may be an old, old man who once bought a Clash single in Woolworths, but even a Luddite such as I can see the benefit of not having to lug around handfuls of paper money and enough jangling change to use as ballast on a nuclear submarine. (By the way, if you don't know what the words "a Clash single in Woolworths" mean, please put this paper down or switch off your digital platform and go and watch TOWIE).
So there I stood in Tesco, gazing at my £20 note like it was an old friend. I was suddenly seized by the desire to spend it. And I could tell, by the way The Queen was looking at me from her picture on the note, that she wanted to be exchanged for something. So I swapped her for a couple of scratch cards, leaving £16. If I spend it between now and next week, I'll of course let you know.
- 1 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
iJobs Money & Business
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£250 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Finance Manager - Accountant - Bank...
£100000 - £120000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fi...
Day In a Page
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar