Have you ever wished out loud for the central bank to come up with RMB500 or RMB1000 notes some day? We have, and were told by people supposedly in the know that that is unlikely to happen anytime soon because RMB500 could be the monthly salary of an entire family in rural China and the demand for counterfeit cash would swell many times overnight.
Well just the other day after waiting what seemed like forever for our number at our local bank, this woman turned up with a bag full of cash to deposit into her account (and mind you it wasn’t a handbag, it was more like a haversack). And you know how it is at banks here — it isn’t enough to just put the cash through them bill counting machines, everything has to be run through manually (again thanks to the wonderful counterfeit problem). People were just standing around looking at the poor bank employee counting the stacks and stacks of cash. Needless to say everyone else in the queue got pretty restless and upset and the scene wasn’t very pleasant. After 1 hour the girl was still NOT done with the counting and that’s when we decided we had better things to do that afternoon.
We wish our bank had employed this most kickass bill counter we have ever seen. Xu Xiaocong (徐晓聪) of the Agricultural Bank, has just been crowned champion of a competition that pit the bill-counting skills of representatives from various banks against each other. His winning technique involves minimising the contact between his fingers and the cash, and as odd as it may look, it helps him to count at a rate of 100 notes per 15 seconds and that is faster than the bill counter (according to the narrator, that is. We wonder where they got their bill counter from!). But at any rate, that is still pretty damn fast, and Xu was declared the winner by counting 2,500 notes under 10 minutes. (We can’t count as fast but have been known to spend the same amount of money in less time than that.)
While some encouraging steps have been taken to shorten the queue at local banks, we still fail to see how promoting the art of bill counting will actually improve banking efficiency. We shudder to think how many man-hours have been wasted here in bill-counting. Give us our RMB1000 notes anytime!