A strange coin, quite worn, a castle in the middle and then the inscription „Student Centre Novi Sad“. „hat it was for?
- As a deposit for the locker in the library?
- As a means of payment in the canteen?
It was a token for cutlery (Žeton za Eszajg). You had to hand it in at the University of Novi Sad in the 1980s to get a knife, fork and spoon to eat with in the canteen. This prevented people from „forgetting“ to return the cutlery.
By the way, there were also special means of payment for the canteen.
You only got both after an elaborate administrative procedure, for which you had to buy a pre-printed red cardboard in a stationery shop, which you then had to hand in again – with a passport photo – at a counter at the university.
After this procedure, at another counter, on presentation of your student ID you could buy coupons with which you could buy food. To prevent subsidises meals for students from being diverted to people who were not entitled to them the number of coupons purchased was carefully entered in a column on the red cardboard box.
The system had several more ramifications. Among other things, there were different vouchers for the main cafeteria (restoran) and for the secondary establishments (kantina), including small student shops where a selection of basic foodstuffs was available. (Including foil-wrapped sandwiches with slabby rolls but hearty smoked meat, which, however, always got stuck in your teeth when you chewed).
Did you see it? The amounts on these substitute banknotes are staggering. Thousands are the smallest unit. A few months later, there were more zeros on the same notes.
Hyperinflation not only eats away at the value of money, it also forces people to consume faster. After all, you still want to get something for your money.