The first cross-cultural difference came when I was visiting my friend’s home town of Mohammedia, Morocco. We were walking around town just enjoying the day, and we decided to stop at a cafe to have some drinks.
I was learning Darija (Moroccan Arabic) and this was a good time to practice with my new friend. After ordering a drinks of Coca Cola, and having a really long and great talk in Arabic, it was time to go.
My friend wanted to pay the bill, because I was their city, and that is the tradition in Morocco to take care of your guests. They went to reach inside their pocket to pay the bill, and thats when they realized they had dropped the money (20 dirhams=about $2 dollars at the time) on the way, and they were not carrying any other money.
Moroccans typically don’t regularly use debit/credit cards to purchase or pay for things. It still is basically a cash society. So, Even though it was kinda of embarrassing for both of us, I paid for the sodas, and the parking space we had been using.
I know that did not sound like a large cultural difference, but I was carrying probably 600 dirhams for my hotel and food, taxis, and the train. They had thought 50 dirhams would be enough for a day out.
Americans tend to over estimate the cost of things, and Moroccan tend to underestimate, and only have just enough.
I always carrying extra cash with me at all time, because I don’t know if we will run across a $1 toll that is cash only (we’ve had to dig into the bottom of my purse, or look into every compartment in the car to gather enough change to get through the toll — true story “too many times”). You just never know if you are out eating at a restaurant and the ATM might be down. So, I try to always be prepared.
Dirhams are now about 8 dirhams to every US dollar, so it might seem cheaper to buy things in Morocco (8 cokes to every 1 coke in America), but it’s not the case, and it’ the same embarrassment if you are using dirhams or dollars and you can’t pay the bill. I really don’t know if you can wash the dishes in Morocco to make up the expense of your meal? I don’t even know what happens in the US if that happens. I DON’T want to find out.
So, what are your mishaps with money with your cross-cultural marriage or friendship. Leave your comments and start the funny discussions and embarrassing stories, and help others to laugh at themselves and all0w a difficult situation to change its effect and help others to see differently.