Well, the money exchange worked out fine. It was a little sketchy swapping out hundreds of dollars in an underground parking garage, but thankfully my judgment of character was not off. Felt like a drug deal counting stacks of money in a back room. Luckily, the new currency is so new (new as of the start of the year) that the counterfeiters have not had the chance to perfect their wares yet...so that was not a concern.
Venezuela actually seems to have plenty of coin money. And plenty of money around to make change. This is not always the case down here. In Argentina there is a serious shortage of coin money. I cannot tell you how many times I had to buy a chocolate bar or gum or something just to get change for the bus. And oftentimes the shop owners would not sell to me unless I had exact change or bought an even peso amount because they had no coin money either. Buying things actually became something of an art form in order to hang onto my coin money. I always bought enough subway tickets to make an even peso amount because this enabled me to stand in the line that does not have coin money for change. If you wanted coin change returned you were waiting 5 extra minutes to buy.
In Peru nobody has any money at all. At least not easily accessible. You buy something like a lunch for the equivalent of $7 (this would be for two people at a decent place...Peru is cheap) and give them the equivalent of a $10 note and they will not have change readily available for that. They will get it...after about 10 minutes of scrounging.