Fantastic plastic fiver just doesn't add up for me

You must spend money to make money '“ or so the saying goes.

Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:04 pm
Aasma Day

Both these adages sprung to my mind when reading all about the new plastic £5 note.

As any parent knows only too well, children are often obsessed with the latest gimmicks and gadgets and can become fixated with getting the newest must-have item with a certain street cred associated with being one of the first to obtain one.

It seems growing up doesn’t mean growing out of this craze... as people’s fascination with getting hold of a new fiver has shown.

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Plastic is apparently fantastic.

Some people are so bewitched at the thought of getting one of the new notes, they’re prepared to pay over the odds for one.

I was filled with disbelief when out of curiosity, I typed “New five pound note” into eBay and found pages of sellers trying to cash in on the money mania.

One seller was selling £100 of £5 notes for a “bargain” £150. Or if you’re a bit strapped and can only afford the one fiver, you can get one for about £20.

Now I know price is driven by demand and if something is sought after, the cost can rocket, but that’s plain ridiculous.

You can maybe understand a hefty price tag when something is in short supply or stocks are going to dwindle, but very soon, these new plastic fivers are going to be readily available.

Why on earth would someone pay daft money for something that’s only worth a fiver?

Mind you, I do remember as a youngster, when £1 notes were scrapped and the new £1 coins were brought in, clutching one of the shiny new coins thinking: “This is too nice to spend.”

There’s a fair few people I know who feel this sentiment towards £2 coins and instead of spending them, squirrel them away or use them as an excuse to save.

At the risk of making myself sound really old, I even remember the days of using half pennies to buy sweets before the tiny coins were scrapped.

It appears that the all-singing all-dancing new plastic fivers can do everything bar cook your tea and will “stand the test of time”.

The polymer notes are described as being “cleaner, safer and stronger” – which makes them sound a bit like a luxury brand of toilet paper.

The new £5 notes bear the image of former prime minister Winston Churchill and his quote: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

And it seems the new fivers are able to withstand all of these and more.

According to Bank of England governor Mark Carney, the new note is capable of surviving “a splash of claret, a flick of cigar ash, the nip of a bulldog and even a spin in the washing machine”.

And to demonstrate the note’s resilience, he dipped it into a tray of chicken curry at a food market. What’s wrong with him? Has he not heard of naan bread?

I don’t understand this obsession of proving that new inventions can be splattered with food and still work.

I can still remember when CDs first became the new thing for playing music, gradually replacing records and cassettes.

One of the big selling points was that you could eat your dinner off CDs and they’d still play fine. I prefer a plate myself.

Piers Morgan sparked outrage when he managed to tear one of the new tough fivers live on TV.

He first put the note in the washing machine, then attempted to tear it before finally managing to rip it with his teeth – and he then tore another fiver in celebration.

Outraged viewers protested on Twitter to criticise Piers for his antics and warned him he could go to jail for his illegal actions in destroying money.

I can certainly see the benefit of having notes that can survive a spin in the washing machine – although some people must have more money than sense to not know there’s notes in their pocket.

But I won’t be paying silly money to get hold of one of the new £5 notes. After all, it’s still just a fiver and money is for spending.

I never did understand the saying: “Saving for a rainy day.” Should we only spend when it rains?

No wonder so many people living up North are always broke.