What happens when cash is worth so little that you can’t even count it? Venezuelans now have to weigh out stacks of money with a scale to make even the most basic household purchases.
— Abdulrahman Aljamouss, Ph.D (@Aljamouss) August 21, 2018
Jittery Venezuelans on Friday rushed to shops and formed long lines in preparation for a monetary overhaul that will remove five zeros from prices in response to hyperinflation that has made cash increasingly worthless.
Shoppers sought to ensure their homes were stocked with food before the measure decreed by President Nicolas Maduro takes effect on Monday, on concerns that confusion among merchants and overtaxed banking systems could make commerce impossible.
Inflation hit 82,700 percent in July as the country’s socialist economic model continues to unravel, meaning purchases of basic items such as a bar of soap or a kilo of tomatoes require piles of cash that is often difficult to obtain.
“I came to buy vegetables, but I’m leaving because I’m not going to wait in this line,” said Alicia Ramirez, 38, a business administrator, leaving a supermarket in the western city of Maracaibo. “People are going crazy.”
Only time will tell how much time–or regime change–it will take to stabilize the Venezuelan economy.