Saving KSA shoppers from a sticky problem

The Ministry of Commerce, in cooperation with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), is launching a campaign to enforce a rule stipulating that retailers, including supermarkets and groceries, keep small denomination coins and to give them to shoppers as leftover change.
“The campaign will be launched on Aug. 17,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce.
All business entities, especially retail shops, all over the country will be supplied with “enough coins” to enable them to pay back customers when needed, said that statement.
In fact, it has been a common malpractice in Saudi Arabia that after one finishes shopping and the shopkeeper is required to pay back small change, invariably the grocery man replies “sorry no change”.
Hence, the theme of the campaign will be: “Take back the remaining amount in cash following any transaction.” The ministry has also warned the retailers to comply with the rules of the campaign in order to avoid punishment. The coins currently in circulation in Saudi Arabia are in the denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 halalas.
The ministry has also planned to conduct rounds all over the Kingdom and monitor shops to ensure that they have had enough coins in reserve to pay to the customers.
The move by the ministry is mainly to ensure the customers’ right to take back the remaining amount in cash, instead of other unwanted cheap items such as chewing gum, chocolates, bottled water or a candy.
“The campaign will help customers like me save money, who would like to take back 50 halalas instead of chewing gum from a shop,” said Hussein Al-Saleh, a financial analyst, while referring to the malpractice of groceries and supermarkets. Although the amount you stand to lose is small, why should anyone throw it away for no good reason, he quipped.
The shortage of halala coins can either genuine or artificial, said Arif K. Siddiqui, a customer who refuses to accept taking chewing gum for coins.
A few shopkeepers ask the customers to buy something of equivalent value instead.
The SAMA always ensures that enough coins of various denominations remain in circulation in the country.
But, the erring shops don’t want to keep coins.

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