IRAN: Iran's funny money

Iran's currency is called Iranian Rial. Most of the banknotes have the photo of Imam Khomeini in various forms as well as some famous landmark on the back. Due to Iran's economy and the sanctions gripping the Iranian economy, there is hyper inflation and the rial continues to have added zeros on each note on what seems to be "monopoly money" from the game Monopoly. To make things ever more confusing, people say prices in TOMAN rather than rials. Toman is an informal money system in which 1 toman is equal to 10 rials. I was baffled by this and was at the mercy of everyone throughout my journey. I still don't completely comprehend prices (I failed maths when I was in school) and counting all the zeros on the millions I had was challenging enough for me, I was a poor little rich guy!

If you think that the rials and toman are confusing, let me add another curve ball. Since there is a shortage of very small denominations and the coins are not exact for certain things purchased, instead of giving a coin, a small packet or packets of chewing gum, I suppose the exact amount is at the discretion and honesty of the shop keeper and cashier as to how many small packets of chewing gum, toffee or hard candy and the quantity of it is placed in your hand. Imagine having this practice in London or Los Angeles?


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