Another Stupid Trend Story

Today this story is getting a lot of attention. It’s titled “‘Euros Accepted’ signs pop up in New York City”. Here’s the lead:

In the latest example that the U.S. dollar just ain’t what it used to be, some shops in New York City have begun accepting euros and other foreign currency as payment for merchandise.

This is just lazy journalism. Why?

  • Sum total of stores referenced in article: two.
  • Sum total of people interviewed in article: two (both shopkeepers).
  • Sum total of actual signs referenced in the article: none.

The media loves a big, controversial, easy-to-articulate idea. And they love a trend story. Does two stores make a trend? Absolutely not. Did the journalists bother to interview anybody else–a European tourist, a finance expert, a chamber of commerce rep? Nope.

I appreciate that the media industry is struggling with shrinking staffs and increasing demands, but this shouldn’t have been published by a reputable agency like Reuters.

Plus, the final quote has the distinctive scent of a PR professional:

“I’m happy if I take in 200 euros, because what I do is keep them,” he said. “So when I go back to Paris, I don’t have to go through the nightmare of going to an exchange place.”

That feels like it’s right out of a press release. The fact is that most travelers–especially those going to Europe–don’t exchange money anymore. It’s much easier, and often cheaper, to use the ubiquitous bank machine. Plus, European currency exchanges have never been nightmarish. They’re usually quite efficient, especially now with the marked decline in business.

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