Sunday, November 19, 2006

Free Money!

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!

6 comments:

David said...

Hey there. Most small shops, petrol stations, and nearly all banks (as long as you're a client) will do the same thing without commission.

I've been doing the same thing (giving exact change) for years now, but prior to that I'd make a trip once every 6 months or so to a nearby shop to convert my pennies. All you need to do is ask. :)

trp said...

Got rid of about £60 of change by just paying it into my bank account (admittedly, I sorted it in advance). No commission charged.

trp

Richard Brown said...

Good point, guys. Yes - should have mentioned that this was just one large bag of change that I hadn't sorted and which I couldn't face sorting.

Worse, the times I've done it in the past, I've ended up with £4.45 or something of five pence coins and so been unable to pay it in anyway...!

LeeChee said...

I'm surprised that someone like you ;) would think it's acceptable to be charged a fee for cashing in your change. Maybe you don't pay enough income tax?

I recently cashed in the contents of my spare change bottle (a huge plastic Coke bottle) and it came to just over £1300! Wow, did that feel good!?

I did have the help of a battery-powered coin sorter (so much fun, you need to get one!), my Mum (to help with the bagging-up), and my Dad (to take the bags to his local high-street bank).

Richard Brown said...

"I'm surprised that someone like you ;) would think it's acceptable to be charged a fee for cashing in your change. Maybe you don't pay enough income tax?"

:-) Although the fee was on the high side, I considered that the value of the service they offered made it worth my while.... :-)

"I recently cashed in the contents of my spare change bottle (a huge plastic Coke bottle) and it came to just over £1300! Wow, did that feel good!?"

Somebody who can mislay over a grand is probably an even better candidate for a tax hike :-p

LeeChee said...

Touché :)