BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 31 December, 2001, 12:12 GMT
Children fail to spread euro message
Mrs Vassallo
Mrs Vassallo has filled two purses with euro coins
UK-based Italian journalist Paola Buonadonna returns to her home country to witness the birth of the euro, and to gauge the public reaction.

Day 2, Genoa: 31 December

The psychology of the euro-changeover has been ripe with myths and legends, I now realise.

All sorts of experts said that children would be the key, old people the spanner in the works.

Edoardo
Edoardo: Knows exchange rate, but little else
Children - bright, open-minded little angels that they are - would learn about the euro at school and educate their parents.

When I put this to my nephew Edoardo, 11, who had come to see my mother for his weekly English lesson, he shrugged.

He duly showed me the little bag of euro coins which people have been queuing to buy like a novelty item in a joke shop.

He spread them on the table and recited the lira conversion rate (1 euro = 1936,27 lire).

But when I asked how much it would cost to buy a paper or a carton of milk he stared at me blankly.

"Didn't they talk about it at school?" mother asked.

Edoardo muttered something about "a guy from the bank" who showed up last week.

The visit didn't leave a big impression and all Edoardo could say about it was that at least they'd missed a boring history lesson.

Shopkeepers on trial

It was with some trepidation therefore that I paid a visit to Mrs Vassallo, our upstairs neighbour.


Mrs Vassallo is planning to go shopping as soon as possible

An elegant and articulate lady of a certain age, she doesn't go out much after a fall last year and I though she might be terrified of the mysterious new money.

Not a bit. Mrs Vassallo produced not one but two bags of euro coins.

One was still intact; she had opened the other and divided the coins into two equal piles.

Each, she explained was the rough equivalent of what she spends on a visit to the greengrocer's.

She had put the two amounts in two separate purses and was planning to go shopping as soon as possible to check that they'd give her the right change (those evil shopkeepers again!).

No panic

British experts are also fond of predicting panic-buying in the eurozone. But in reality panic-buying turns out not to be an Italian reflex.

Mrs Vassallo and her olive oil reserves
Mrs Vassallo: Enough oil to float a tanker
I would have loved to show you pictures of pillaged supermakets, of people running down the street clutching boxes of toilet paper, but it simply isn't happening.

However, Mrs Vassallo has stocked up on some essential items, to tide her over until she feels confident with the new money (and to deprive those shopkeepers of the field day they might like to have at her expense).

Italy being Italy, she now has enough virgin olive oil to float a tanker.

Tomorrow my sister, my brother-in-law and I fly to Palermo, where we'll spend the New year and witness the actual birth of the new currency. Will it appear with a bang or a whimper?


Key stories

Background

AUDIO VIDEO

FORUM

FACT FILES

INTERACTIVE QUIZ

SPECIAL REPORT

TALKING POINT
See also:

30 Dec 01 | Europe
Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes