Thursday, July 9, 2015

Greek Drachma Makes Mysterious Appearance In Hotel Bill

In the wake of Sunday’s dramatic referendum, there’s been no shortage of redenomination chatter and drachma dreaming.
Indeed, speculation has run rampant since deposed Greek FinMin Yanis Varoufakis opened the floodgates by telling a UK newspaper that the government was ready to go the “California” route with IOUs. Just yesterday Kathimerini reported that Athens was preparing to launch a parallel scrip in order to meet its obligations to pensioners and public sector employees and anecdotally, there’s some evidence to suggest that Greek businesses are in the midst of reverting to the drachma as we speak.
As a reminder, the image below was sent in by a tourist who went to a cafe in Greece where the menu prices appear to be back in Drachma:
On Thursday, Bloomberg is out with what it calls "the first sighting of the new Greek drachma," and although we'd like to think that the menu shown above (which we posted some 24 hours ago) actually qualifies as the "first" sighting, we were still very interested to see that the "NGD" has shown up on a receipt from the Hilton.
Between June 28 and July 4 at a Hilton hotel in Athens, transactions on a Bloomberg reporter's Visa credit card issued by Citigroup Inc.were posted as being carried out in "Drachma EQ."

The inexplicable notation -- bear in mind, the euro remains Greece's official currency -- flummoxed two very polite customer service representatives and spokesmen for the companies involved. It depicts a currency changeover that the Greek government and European officials have been working for over six months to avoid.

Citigroup and Visa Inc. declined to comment. A Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. spokeswoman said that the Athens hotel had billed the customer in euros, not drachmas.