A convenience store's solution to keeping coins both handy and protected (it isn't easy to slip a beer can filled with coins under your shirt, nor quietly make off with its contents).
What does this wallet convey about its owner/designer's constraints? Lack of pockets in a longyi is one factor that drove this user to seek a lighter money-carrying solution. Unpredictable weather could also plays a role - leather wallets tend to rot with surprising speed during monsoon season, and also fail to protect their contents during a downpour. Besides not protecting the inside's contents from the elements, they also fail to protect clothing from the unfortunate side-effects of a permeable container filled with dirty pieces of paper being soaked over the course of a typical-length rain shower, when leather wallets turn into unintended "money laundries".
Note: It occurs to me that Posterous's censorship gremlins probably nixed this picture on account of this man's liberally-sized chest. I can assure you: this IS a man, and he is very, very proud of his liberally sized chest. Being what Americans would consider "overweight" has very different cultural implications here in Myanmar. Fat is a sign of success for both sexes, and in women, a sign of beauty (although outside cultural influences are slowly beginning to change that view). Now that I've thoroughly derailed what the post was originally about, you can view the connected photo - it will be the last photo posted on my Facebook album: Square Inch Anthro: 10.11.11-05.18.12
Manufactured in Viet Nam and being sold in a Mandalay fashion shop, these blingin' belt buckles imply global shifts in the status of the cultures they come from. When does a currency become sufficiently valuable to justify immortalizing it in belt-buckle form? Does your currency make the cut? What standards are normally adhered to when deciding which currency to suspend directly above one's crotch? Which is more important - brand recognition or true value? Of course there is an advantage of an unknown currency - freedom to fabricate your own narrative about the superiority of your chosen lucre.Before Americans get any bees in their bonnets, yes, they also stocked big-faced Bennys.
For those who know what to look for, they could walk into this corner convenience store and discreetly inform themselves of the day's exchange rate without openly advertising their intention of changing money. At the same time, the shop needn't reveal its offering of this (technically) extra-legal service. How intention to exchange is then expressed is entirely up to the wiles/guiles of the exchanger, though it is interesting to observe different individuals' and groups' strategies.
If you are in a culture or context where the currency one is paid in is not the currency one uses for day-to-day purchases, what is the behavior around currency exchange? Is it the male, traditional breadwinner, who takes charge of exchanging on behalf of a family? Does the woman, the family's money-manager, take the responsibility? Is exchanging money "macho"? Is changing money an aspirational activity? Is it a low-status task, something to be tasked to a servant?
Also, do patterns of wear on these calculator buttons grant any insight into currency values? The "direction" of exchange?