Zimbabwe is more than a year into dollarization and hyperinflation has receded in our memories to a distant nightmare. However, we are now faced with the daily displeasure of having to handle US$ notes that pass through thousands of unwashed hands, their designated value testing even those with 20/20 vision as it is so faded and their erstwhile crisp allure long gone.
Sadly, although he would love to do so, Gono cannot print the US$ needed so Zimbabweans face major health risks when dealing in the grubby, infested cash.
The toll-takers on Zimbabwe's roads seem to have adopted a new policy for dealing with the cash health risks: no filthy, grimy, or faded dollar bills will be accepted!
I certainly sympathize with them. Confronted with a wad of disgusting notes, I'm feeling tempted to carry rubber gloves in my purse, or at least disinfectant wipes.
But what we really need is a proper cleaning service, a true money laundering service, that will clean up the muck that is the currency. After all, U.S. dollars are not made out of paper; they're recycled cotton and linen. So washing them really isn't such a mission: I tried it and it works!
So I'm planning on setting up a chain of shops - African Money Launders Ltd. - Cleaning Up Zimbabwe, One Note at a Time. For 5 percent of the value of the cash to be cleaned, we'd remove the worst of the grunge, on the spot.
The least hygienic notes - the ones that have become redolent of the sweaty cleavage of an unwashed cross-border trader - will command double the fee.
For the mafikozolos who need starched cash to match their crisp Mercedes, or the Sugar Daddy groupies who prefer their lucre soft, I'm planning to offer starch or fabric softener for a 1 percent surcharge.
Business will boom at my shops in urban areas, but I expect to make a killing with drive-up mini-branches by the nation's toll booths, offering emergency service for thwarted travellers, 24 hours at day.
Rather than run all the branches myself, I'm considering offering franchise possibilities. Who wants to open?
Only $5,000 - also payable in pula, rand, euro or pounds, but only crisp, new notes accepted, of course.
This entry was posted by Still Here on Tuesday, May 18th, 2010 at 6:03 pm
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