Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Job in Belgrade: Applications Due Today Though

Thanks to the reader who posted this job opening in PR and media monitoring in Serbia for a "young person who reads English." http://www.webbdowse.com/account%20executive%20ad.pdf

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Paying in Cash. As in Cash Cash.

Like most Serbs, my husband is not truly comfortable paying with plastic. How can you be careful with your spending if you don't have to feel the pain of parting with actual bills? How do you know how much money you have left if there's no thinning wad of bills to touch? Not to mention relying on those bank computers! Someday, due to sunspots, Ukrainian hackers, or cheating executives, your electronic account will get diddled for sure.

Which is why, when he went down today to pick up the new car that we purchased under America's Cash for Clunkers program, he brought along several bundles of hundreds which he'd saved up in his safety deposit box at the bank to pay for it.

He's planning to ship this car over to the Balkans soon. You can't ship a car internationally unless you own it 100%. So, he had told the car salesman he'd be paying cash up front, instead of financing the purchase.

Why then, was the salesman so surprised when my husband thunked down a wad of cash onto his desk? I think the guy's eyelids were going to peel back into his head.

The salesguy jumped up and ran to the corner office in the dealership to confer with his boss. Apparently there was some terrible concern. Nobody was sure if they could receive in their own hands actual cash for a new automobile. How were they supposed to handle the bills? What if it was drug money from an illegal deal? What if it bit them like a live rattlesnake?

My husband asked what the problem was. "Well, when you said 'cash', we really didn't think you meant cash cash," the salesguy explained. I understood completely. To most Americans, 'cash' means anything that's not a formal bank loan. It could be a debit card, a check, or even a credit card. My husband, on the other hand, looked at the guy like he was a complete idiot.

I started laughing. You can take the boy out of the Balkans, but not the Balkans out of the boy.