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As you probably know, the Euro single currency is due to fully come into effect in many European countries on January 1, 2002. By 'fully' I mean the notes and coins will have been circulated and will become legal tender. Most countries hope to phase out their native currencies within a 6-week period.

In most (if not all) countries, boards and associations and committees have been set up to deal with the changeover, and of course one of their most important goals is to ensure that consumer confidence is not damaged. For example, during the 6-week period mentioned above, customers may pay for goods in their native currency, but will receive change in Euros. The goal of these associations (eg. in Ireland "The Euro Changeover Board of Ireland") is to make sure that no one feels they're being cheated.

But there's one concern of mine that hasn't been addressed yet. It's fair enough to say "a bed which cost £499 will now cost E633.60" (an actual line from a brochure I read recently), but what retailer is really going to charge that awkward price, for more than a few months anyway?

Will E633.60 become E630, or E640? I won't even bother answering that.

The situation is probably even worse with items like Coke bottles and packets of popcorn, etc. For example, a 500ml bottle of Coke in Ireland can cost up to £1.05 (in ripoff newsagents on places like Grafton Street, etc). This will become E1.33. If you were already ripping off customers for that price (roughly $1.20 for a pint of Coke, for you USians), would you really bring that down to E1.30 or E1.25?

Retailers are supposed to have committed to this 'code of practice' for dealing with the Euro changeover, which basically states that they won't use the Euro to short-change customers who pay in old currencies. But, so far, and with less than 6 months to go, no advertising has even touched on this price-rounding concern.

I wonder why?

OK, the title doesn't follow the exact definition of 'profiteering', but what's going to happen will have exactly the same effects.

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