Monday, January 28, 2013

Change I Can Believe In


I've had a modest amount of changing piling up on my baker's rack for the past 15 years, but never had the energy to do anything with it. But after reading Ben Anasatas' down-on-his-luck memoir, "Too Good to Be True," which detailed his frequent visits to one of those Coinstar machines, I finally got inspired to cash mine in too, after noticing a Penny Arcade at a TD Bank not too far from my home. I poured it all into a small sack from Joe Fresh (pictured) -- which to give you a sense of proportion, it's like the size of a bag Banana Republic would give you if you bought a scarf -- and then headed out the door to the bank, only to realize it's REALLY HARD to walk 10 blocks with a 35-pound weight in your hand (that doesn't have suitable handle). By the time I got to my own street corner, I decided I needed to rethink my plan -- I debated just leaving the bag on the street, it was that bad! -- eventually jumping on the subway, something I would normally never do for a two-stop ride. Once at the branch, Penny asked me if I wanted to place a wager as to how much change I had. (She pays you $1.99 if you come close.) Seeing as there were quite a few pennies, I guessed $45, and then began to pour away. If you want to guess yourself, now's the time. The (shocking-to-me) answer is below!


  $141.43! Minus the 8 percent fee, I ended up with $130 ... and (more) change!

7 comments:

Charles M said...

I did this a while back at a coinstar machine. They take a 9.8 percent cut, but even so, I still walked away with over $200. It filled a one-gallon ziplock bag, but I still didn't think it'd be that much.

Shawn Cullen said...

8% fee? You must not have an account there. We used TD bank for years before I decamped for a smaller, local bank out here in the 'burbs. TD was okay except for no overdraft protection unless you opened a line of credit on your house. That sucked. Also Regis Filbin as a spokesperson was no plus.

But the $1.99 prize is interesting. Out here, all she gave you for a correct guess was a pencil or an eraser or something as a prize.

Anonymous said...

This is when it pays to have friends that belong to a credit union. They have these machines with no fees (at least here in NC).

Anonymous said...

Not all Coinstar machines are the same. Some don't charge a fee if you put the amount on a giftcard. You have to look around for the ones that are free.

Michael Diamond said...

it took you 15 years to come up with $141?

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Michael: I tend to spend my change as I accumulate it, so this was just a pile lying around. I was STUNNED it amounted to $141.

Anonymous said...

So you carry your change in a joe fresh bag to a td bank, with a little help from a ride on a bombardier subway car. Following your post on Ontario's New premier, I feel compelled to grant you honorary Canadian citizenship!

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