Monday, March 09, 2009

add this to your bucket list: use a coinstar machine

I would give my grocery store Coinstar experience an A-. The minus is because I couldn't trick it into taking Canadian coins, or the ugly, dirty, goober-covered pennies, those reject pennies that a cashier will sometimes give me with my change and it's just awful receiving a vomit penny in change. Makes my hand feel dirty, and by extension, my soul. My filthy, filthy soul.

So maybe you think: well I can go to my bank and take care of that jar of change. Sure. Sure you could. There are worse things you could do with it. Dump it off a highway overpass? Wow, don't do that.

At the bank, would the teller say "Cha-ching!" when he was done sorting and counting your change? No. You will not get that kind of service from a human being who would like to keep his job at the bank.

The Coinstar machine says "Cha-ching!" It doesn't make a "Cha-ching" sound. It is the voice of a dude saying "Cha-ching!" A Coinstar machine is more fun than going to the bank. It's the most fun I've had inserting coins into a machine since the Claw Machine at Bennigan's, and I always walked away disappointed because I couldn't get the claw to pick up the pair of toy handcuffs. You're always going to win at a Coinstar machine!

Downside: if you are going to a Coinstar machine to change your coins into bills, there's a counting fee of 8.9 cents for every dollar; however, there is no counting fee if you turn your change into a gift certificate. I was planning on ordering a few CDs off Amazon.com anyway, and so, what the hey, right? If Amazon.com ain't your bag, you can turn your change into gift certificates for iTunes, Starbucks, and Eddie Bauer. Yes, Eddie Bauer, because there are people in this world who see a jar of coins and say, "FUCK, dawg, you know what I can get with this?! A backpack."

I had this Tupperware container full of change: no quarters though, because, y'know, laundry. Tupperware container, not big, maybe a little bigger than something I'd use for a sandwich if I liked sandwiches filled with pennies, nickels, and dimes. My total haul from that small container was $39.45. I think I was so charmed by my Coinstar experience because it magically turned a heavy Tupperware container of coins that I've been hauling from apartment to apartment over the last four years into Neko Case CDs.

Coins are money, and money is exchanged for goods and services; a patented, self-service kiosk intermediary at the grocery store really isn't that big a deal. On the other hand, I was just as amazed as Brendan Fraser in Encino Man when he sees Pauly Shore use a lighter: flame-age!