The exchange of the new $100 bills for the old one has been turned into a marketing gimmick for some savvy local businesses.
George Tannous, owner, Island Hobbies, has said that up until Friday evening, almost no customer has come in with the new $100 bill.
“I have not seen one yet. I had a customer that came in here two days ago and said she was in a line for seven hours and she almost fainted and left. It is too difficult for them so far. This is our time to sell and we have a cut off time until December 20 to accept the old $100 bill,” Tannous said.
“We are not taking it after that time. I have thousands of customers. That’s the decision made by the group for that date as we don’t have the time. My staff would not have the time to leave here to change money. It is causing a bad trickle-down effect,” he told the Sunday Business Guardian.
Island Hobbies has come up with a creative marketing strategy that incorporates customers bringing the old bills.
According to Island Hobbies’ Facebook Page: “Dear Customers, if you don’t want to change your old cash, why not spend it here. We are taking the old notes until December 20. Shop till you drop! We will take the hassle away for you!”
Tannous said that not everything is set in stone and, based on what happens over the next few days, they may be changing the deadline to stop accepting the old $100 bill.
He also said his staff does not want the old bills and he has to pay them with the new bills.
Tannous said given the rush to change the old bills, this has caused some pressure on his business and it has been an up-and-down season so far.
“This cash problem has hampered all businesses. Not just mine. I believe this 1000 per cent. It is a hassle for people. They are scared and don’t know what to do. They are confused. Nothing is clear.”
Rituals Coffee House has also used a creative marketing campaign that incorporates the $100 bill.
According to their Facebook page, their ad informs customers about their “$100 conversion deal—4 for $100.”
“Rituals Conversion Deal is real, no need to worry about polymer cuz we’ve got you covered 100 per cent. Get 4 chillers for ONLY $100—offer ends December 25.”
Starbucks T&T also had a witty ad on their Facebook Page.
“Put those old $100 bills to good use! Load a Starbucks gift card with up to $500. No source of funds required. Use as cash, does not expire.”
“Please note that we will be accepting the old $100 bills up until midnight on December 23, 2019.”
Prestige Holdings—franchise holder for KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, Starbuck’s and TGI Fridays—will only be accepting the old, paper-based $100 notes up until midnight December 23.
They issued the notice via their social media pages.
Despite the December 31, deadline given by the Central Bank to have the old $100 notes changed to the new polymer bill, some businesses have already stopped accepting the old bill.
Two weeks ago the Minister of National Security Stuart Young announced that the old $100 bill will be phased out and replaced by a new polymer $100 bill.
Young had said the replacement $100 note will he harder to counterfeit and will also undermine the use of stored cash to fund criminal activity.