6/25/2006

Foreign Exchange

I hate change. The coin kind.

After a hard day at work buying coffee and massages, I'm left with pockets full of the stuff.

I cart it home and throw it into an old round can that used to belong to a gift bottle of booze. And there it sits until the can is full. And then it spills over into a little ceramic dish. And eventually I head to the grocery store and say hi to the Coinstar machine. I love this machine.

If you're not familiar, this is how it works. You feed your change in, machine counts it, takes 9 cents on the dollar for doing this, spits out a voucher you can redeem with the disinterested sort at customer service and off you jaunt, a merrier and richer soul.

While I'm feeding the machine and softly murmuring to it, people slow down and sometimes stop completely to gawk at the coin count displayed on the video screen. Sometimes they ask how it works. I tell them (as does the large sign on the machine).

Some scoff at the 9 cents per dollar it higway robs you of. Some say hey, thass not a bad deal.

At a lot of the banks here, they charge you anyway if you try and redeem more than 4 rolls of dirty money you've had to fight with and count yourself. The machine is a much nicer and cleaner mistress. I tell them this.

They watch the numbers roll me toward wealth a while longer and go off on their way.

Not me, I stay until the end because hey, it's my game, my voucher.

Today's take after the machine burped?

$165.49

--I just checked out their website again and they've got inspirational stories of how the machine has basically saved lives. Oh man.

26 comments:

gizmorox said...

I saw a commercial the other day that said you can sidestep the 9 cents if you turn it into a gift card for such wonderful places as Amazon and Starbucks. Imagine how much coffee $165 could get you. Deelish.

Beth said...

Love the Coinstar! But I haven't hit your numbers, Mr. Moneybags. Your pockets must have been dragging the ground.

Must be a Canadian thing; my fellow Atlantans never seem interested as I pour coins from my Vegas gambling cup. Or maybe I'm just not as interesting as you.

Tanya Espanya said...

I use Robert's leftover change for my Starbucks card. I threw down $25 in change the other day, and the girl was so sweet, and she didn't snarl or roll her eyes at me, and I really felt like such a tool.

Mob said...

I just glad you didn't throw your back out dragging that amount of coinage into the store.

Dale said...

Gizmo, that sized coffee comes with it's own donkey!

Everyone here is too cheap to use it Beth. Or maybe too scared after seeing me be all familiar with the machine.

Tanya - just today in the grocery store, I was behind a girl who paid for something with handfuls of dimes and nickels. I hated her and I hate you (but I love you). The cashier was sweet too to her but there was some loud multiplayer eye rolling going on afterward.

Dale said...

Mob - Just picture the nattily dressed Monopoly man with a spring in his step, bags of money in hand heading for the store.

Now picture a sweaty unshaven blob with a big ole can o' money.

Take your pick.

justacoolcat said...

This machine may save my life. I have mini coin piles like you have piles of books.

Much like a book of the same nature, they essentialy become useless once the piles begin to spread.

(aside the satisfaction of hording little piles of money.)

(( you know like when a transient asks for money and you reply "Get lost, I don't have any change" only to smile and remember later when you empty your pocket pockets. ))

((( I kid, now where was I? )))

Oh, yeah this machine saved my life.

Now explain to me how you end up with 165.49 in coins at the end of the day and I'll be set.

Creepy said...

I'm with CoolCat: how long did it take you to amass $165 in spare change?

Dale said...

Coolcat, you need some saving and some glasses for sure! It wasn't one day's total just to set that right.

And Creepy, I dunno, several months probably.

My m.o. is to buy something at work, for instance a coffee. I pay with a bill and get change back. Then I go and buy a handful of percocet but rather than use my change, I just pull out a few more bills. I end up stoned and with a whole lot of change, you know the rest.

Berry said...

Dude, whatd'you do with the $0.49... throw it back in the bucket?

And hey... thanks for demystifying that machine for me. My corner store just got one, and I've glanced at it suspiciously a couple of times, but never saw anyone using it. I think I'll drag my bucket there this week and see what kind of jackpot I can generate.

p.s. - Yes, Canadians do end up with the bigger loots when cashing in our coins, because our $1 and $2 are considered "change"!

Dale said...

The .49 is back in the can Berry. I was going to mention the 1 & 2 dollar coins but didn't because I picked those out of the loot ahead of time.

I eyed the Coinstars as suspect for a while too but took the plunge. This place would be filled with change by now if I hadn't.

The funniest part is if you feed it too much at once, the video screen says something like 'my it seems like you have a lot of coins, please allow me to catch up'. I feed it slowly and steadily because I don't want some incident where it breaks down and I get nothing.

mellowlee said...

Um, did you say Coffee and Massages??? Two of my favorite things in the world! wooooo! My change is all pennies *snifflesob*
Although, I wouldn't mind trading my pennies for Starbucks mmm!

btw, I checked out that coinstar website, and apparently none in Vancouver. There must be a similar company though, 'cause I know I've heard of coin machines like that before....

ziggystardust73 said...

oooohhh we have one of those near where I live.

I'm going to have to try it now.

Thanks for the tip.

Dale said...

Good trade, pennies for Starbucks, but don't be in front of me while you pay. Be behind me talking to Tanya.

If all goes well Ziggy, can Mellowlee use your machine? There may be a few geographical issues but who doesn't like an
adventure?

Coaster Punchman said...

Coinstar is fun, but you should consider rolling your own. You'll save the larcenous 9% interest they take, plus rolling coins is good practice for rolling..... um, other things.

A. Estella Sassypants said...

Whoa, I thought I was the mistress of change, but you are most definitely the mister of change. Coinstar is proof that the universe is ok after all.

Dale said...

But once you roll the coins down to their leafy root, what do you do Coaster?

You'll have to be the mistress of other things Andi. The universe is okay, I mean I've had better, but it's okay.

Creepy said...

Good point CP: there's nothing better than rolling your own.

Saviour Onassis said...

Coinstar is perfect for people who hate change and counting it. I have been hesitant to take my collection down recently because I have raided it time and again for quarters, which are the magic coins I use to clean my laundry.

angel said...

what a brilliant idea! why isn't there one near me!

mellowlee said...

I peeked at my pennies on top of the fridge, where they shall remain for the next year or so....covered in "top of the fridge dust" yuk
Maybe I can give my son 9% to roll them up for me... heehee

Dale said...

Having someone else roll your own works too Creepy.

He who hesitates is not out his 9 cents on the dollar Saviour. Then again, will those pennies make your whites whiter? I don't think so.

Maybe write them an inspirational story about all the coins you haven't been able to sort Angel and they'll fly a machine over to you.

Children can so often be tricked Mellowlee, I say go for it. And have him do something about the dust while he's up there.

Shroom-Monkey said...

Coinstar is my friend, he takes the pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters that I steal from the fountain at the mall and gives those handy little store credits so I can buy beer. Without it I would be lost.

Way back in the day I got to the mall early, raided the fountain and got enough money to buy tickets to see Europe in concert. They sang "It's the Final Countdown" 3 times??? What a waste... How lame was I?

Dale said...

Your bravery is on full display Shroom-Monkey. Did you ever know that you're my hero? Oh wait -- Europe?! Sorry, we don't need another hero.

Robert said...

You get change back from a massage? Honey, if your masseur calls it a “ma-saj,” he’s just a hooker.

Dale said...

Okay, so maybe I didn't think that one out clearly. They usually pay me. Wait a minute.