For the last few years I've been very good at being one of those annoying people in shops who gives exact change or who hands over £10.19 when purchasing something for £2.19 (it never fails to confuse the cashiers). This means that low-value coins (1p, 2p, 5p) don't build up in my pocket.
However, I've only started doing this recently and I have a big back of coins from years ago.
Yesterday, I solved this problem. I remembered seeing a machine in a supermarket some months ago that promised to convert loose change into "real" money (for a fee) and decided to make us of it. A quick google search turned up a company called Coinstar (www.coinstar.com) and it turned out that my nearest machine was at the Whitechapel Sainsbury's.
I hopped over there (on the tube.... walking from Limehouse to Whitechapel is far too scary a proposition; I'm a wimp).
The market stalls by Whitechapel station were interesting: some good value fruit and veg stalls and lots of people forcefully trying to sell DVDs of the movie "Borat". Given that it is still showing in the cinema, I have to assume these copies were somewhat less than 100% legal.
Regardless, I made my way to Sainsbury's and located the machine. It was like being a child at the fair again.... so much fun! I poured my bag of coins onto the mesh container and then used my hands to feed it into the narrow slot. The sound of clanking and clinking coins filled the store and attracted the attention of pretty much every shopper in the fresh flowers and fruit and veg section.
After further clunking, a voucher popped out and, after the fee, I had turned my dead bag of coins into just over ten pounds. Result!