Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Change"

I hate change.

Not Mr Obama’s “Change we refuse to define”. Or the “But we’ve always done it this way” whine of the fuddy-duddies of the world. I’m talking about the change that you cannot get rid of, the kind that accumulates faster than you can imagine, the kind that if you carry in your pocket makes you list to one side, or if in your purse, makes it weigh a goodly tonne.

Yep, small change.

Pennies, cents, paise – all the metal coinage that you can’t really use to pay anything, unless you don’t mind fumbling with the fiddly things in a supermarket checkout queue while others behind you glare and the cashier heaves a big sigh and takes forever to count all the coins you’ve just passed on just to make sure you’re not diddling the supermarket of a penny or two…

The 10p coins are almost as irritating – but at least it only takes 10 of those to make up a pound (currency, not weight!). Also, some coin-slot parking meters accept 10p and 20p coins, so on the whole they’re not so bad even if they occupy purse space and add to the weight. The 50p, pound, and two-pound coins hold their own – they might be heavy, but at least they are significant and total fairly quickly to worthwhile amounts.

But those pesky pennies and cents… for as much as I drop them into the charity boxes by the tills in the shops, they still accumulate! Somehow, even if you drop a large handful in a busker’s collection box, you don’t get much gratitude. (Worse still, you don’t get rid of enough change.) I guess they like their money rustly, just like me…

In Singapore, I mostly used my bank card to pay for everything. So I have NO idea how the cent coins piled up until I had a jar full of them on the dining table. When I left the country, I left that jar behind for my flatmate to dispose of (or leave it behind in her turn – possibly along with her contribution to the stockpile – when she quit) because I had no idea what to do with them. God knows how much they would have added up to – maybe only a few dollars, maybe fifty dollars… the weight of small change is not exactly directly proportional to the total value, that’s fer sure. In any case, I wasn’t counting, so I didn’t know and didn’t care. Still don’t.

I guess it would be possible, if one were really bored, really jobless, really bothered - and yes, really tight - to sort out the coins into orderly piles and haul them to the bank and eventually get a fiver or so in exchange for the lot... but I'm not that hypothetical one. I don't think the effort is worthwhile.

You, dear reader, might be one of the so-uptight-you-squeak cadre who organises all your coinage according to denomination and knows to the last penny exactly how much all the coinage adds up to, and is super-efficient enough to be able to pay out of all that organised coinery without getting the sum wrong, and keep track of what you get back – in which case, this post has nothing to do with you at all. Best keep away from me, though, because I might just be mean enough to jumble up all your pennies and tuppennies and bring chaos to your neat, coin-orderly, regimented life!


So... did you think I might, for a change, NOT have grumbled about something? :)


Kamini said...

Sadly, no amount of bribery, cajoling, threatening, yelling, has resulted in my kids sorting out the mess of coins spilling out of 3 optimistically placed boxes in a kitchen drawer (they are meant to hold pennies, dimes and nickels, respectively - hah!). They deftly sidestep the issue whenever it is brought up and the mess just keeps piling up. I have ruined many a good wallet because of these #*&$?@@ coins. Once, many years ago, I sorted out my coins, and a day later, it was back to how it had been!

inbavalli said...

I use change only for the bus, and can't seem to find enough of it. So I grab coins as if they were made of gold :)

meerkat said...

you have got too much money. i will take all your change ;-)

why do you need to change your habits from singapore. i use my card everywhere right down to 1 pound purchases in sainsburys. need coins very rarely, and then i use my husband's wallet

just another mommy said...

Ah - we have a lifesaver here - Coinstar!
In our supermarkets there is a machine in which you can put all the accumulated coins and get store credit for it. It does take a small token amount as a fee but that's very minimal. We use that as part of our grocery payment.

mg said...

Couldn't agree with you more. The smaller the denomination, the more annoying they get.

Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

Whoa, cuz, 'all in the family' again. Don't care for change and when my shoulder aches from carrying my handbag around, I know what's causing the pain. As for sorting and organising coins, eeeeegaaaads. I usually cleverly deposit these heavy weight / small change nuisances in a bottle in the kitchen hoping someone will clear it from there...and usually they do! Lucky me.