A European Capital Of Culture Without Euros

'Gold' coins 4919 (99x134).jpg Here in Liverpool we are about to start our 2008 Year as European Capital of Culture. But apparently the connection between this year-long Capital of Culture event and hard European cash has yet to dawn on some local businesses. This is serious. Who’s failed to get the message over? And will things improve?
A walk this morning took us through Liverpool’s Sefton Park to Lark Lane, where the Boho action is, to find some brunch.
The brunch was fine; but the bill which followed it left us at best bewildered.
Sterling only
The card machine – as usual these days, the ‘continental’ ‘take it to the table’ type – came up with a sensible sum, requested in either Sterling or Euros. As it happened, we had some Euros on us, so when we’d paid (in Sterling) we asked lightheartedly if we could have paid cash Euros. (The literal conversion rate was 1.645 if anyone wants to know….)
The waitress was aghast. Oh no, she assured us, clearly thinking we’d sought such reassurance, they wouldn’t even think of taking Euros. The cafe never dealt with Euros, the cost would be sky-high, it was quite out of the question…
Bafflement and business
We were unsure how to respond, having originally intended to congratulate the establishment on its forward-planing and preparations for Euro-billing.
Did our waitress know, we asked, what 2008 had in store for Liverpool? She confirmed that she knew 2008 is the Capital of Culture year.
But it’s Liverpool’s ‘European’ Capital of Culture Year, we protested……
The management decides
‘I don’t know about that’, came the reply. ‘Anyway, none of Liverpool’s restaurants are doing Euros. You’ll have to take that up with the management.’
On the contrary, we suggested, perhaps the management needs to take the Euro opportunity up with itself….
The ‘Liverpool experience’ missing link – Europe
So there we have it. At least some of our local businesses, just three months before 2008 begins, still fail utterly to understand that next year is an international, a European, event.
These local ‘enterprises’ haven’t even begun to consider whether a billing system with the potential to offer payment in Euros as well as Sterling might in fact be a business advantage or selling point…. especially in the Boho part of town.
No leadership with the big picture
Could this failure to get the overarching picture be because the city’s leadership has permitted developments (perhaps even decided?) not to move out of the Liverpool comfort zone?
Are city leaders neglecting to emphasise that next year’s celebrations are not ‘only’ an excuse for some (what look to be very promising) major arts events, and for neighbourhood street parties and general local merriment, important though all these are?
2008 opportunities squandered?
If the whole rationale for Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture 2008 Year is put aside, if the business opportunities are not seized, all that enormous amount of (our) money already spent will have been squandered.
I really hope someone will be getting things into gear pretty pronto.

Posted on September 27, 2007, in Liverpool And Merseyside, People And Places, Regeneration, Renewal And Resilience, The Journal, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have to say that, as a customer, I can think of cheaper ways of buying currency than from a waitress….!
    And as a business, the extra cost of handling, counting, reconciling and banking a second (non-mandatory) currency is a non-starter. Not even the cross channel ferries like dealing in small denomination anythings!
    The small matter of which currency to use isn’t going to affect significantly the Capital of Culture’s success – it’ll be the marketing (or lack of it). It hardly impinges on us just 40 miles away in Manchester, and we spend money (oodles of it!) in Sterling.

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