Lithuanian buyers starting to use new currency

Maxima pradeda prekybą eurais
DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

“It seems that everything costs cents, the figures are so low. I will have to remember math,” Kastytis Bačkis, 32, said after shopping on Thursday morning.

Modesta Kamarauskaitė, a 22-year-old employee of a bakery, said she expects many Lithuanians coming to spend the old currency in the first days of January.

“We are ready, we had a training and have all the necessary information. I may fail to recognize the notes, but we have devices for that. Of course, I am a bit worried about the new strange currency. But it will also be both interesting and complicated. People will probably still pay in litas to get rid of the old currency,” she told BNS.

Retailers say that client service will take longer because of the new currency, and cashiers are a little worried about the reaction of customers.

“We have one currency in one drawer and the other currency in another drawer. The coins look alike, we will have to be more careful. I am most worried about how clients will react to the change. Some may be irritated and unsatisfied,” Katerina, 24-year-old cashier at Maxima grocery chain, said on Thursday morning.

Nevertheless, pensioner Zigmas Šaltenis said the euro will cause him no trouble, as he has seen a number of currency changes in his life.

“All is well, I have seen different currencies,” said the customer, 86.

Staff of shops started replacing price tags on Thursday. The requirement to display prices in both currencies has been in effect for a few months now, however, the new tags must feature prices in the euros in larger fonts. Maxima’s spokeswoman Renata Saulytė said the change of price tags may take up to a month.

In her words, the population started using bank cards more frequently than cash in the run-up to the adoption of the euro, and the tendency should persist for some time.

On Thursday, Lithuania became the 19th member of the euro zone. The government hopes the new currency will ensure a higher degree of stability and cheaper borrowing.

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