"How bad was Germany's inflation?" I asked.
"The German mark started losing value so fast that people were getting paid two and three times a day and they'd leave work each time so they could spend it before it lost even more value. They'd buy anything: Food, hard goods, knickknacks, who cared? If you didn't spend it right away, it was going to be worth a lot less in just a few hours. It got so bad that people not only spent their money as fast as they could, they often didn't bother taking their change."
"You're kidding," I said.
"You know how stores today have those little penny trays on the counter near the cash registers? ‘Take one; leave one?' You buy something for a dollar ninety-nine and give the clerk a two dollars. He gives you one penny change and you drop it in the tray because a penny is close to worthless, nowadays. Suppose in a hyperinflationary period the price of a loaf of bread goes up to $19,900, something not at all inconceivable, and you've given the clerk two $10,000 bills. He gives you back a hundred dollar bill. That hundred dollar bill now has the purchasing power the penny used to have. It's easy to leave it on the counter and leave, especially because in a few hours it'll be worth even less".'