This week has been filled with lessons. Some are more clear – like don’t believe the FBI when they say they’ll get to your fingerprints when the promise to on their website. Others are a little different and more experiential.
My first lesson came after we located many, many jars, old Gatorade bottles, zip lock baggies and piles of coins in the bottoms of drawers, boxes, coffee mugs holding pens and the list goes on. The sorting by denomination came next – taking out coins of other nationalities – and then stacking them in logical piles.
Banks used to have coin machines onsite – where you took your bag of random coins and the machine counted them for you for free. But they don’t offer this to the public anymore, so businesses like CoinStar sprang up to fill the void. CoinStar owns RedBox too. They charge 11.9% to count all your coins in less than 5 minutes. Then they print you a receipt to take up to the store’s customer service counter and redeem it for cash. But you see, I looked at all my new found loot and decided I wasn’t sharing 11.9% with anyone – let alone a big corporation.
So I headed to Walmart, and here’s where the first lesson I learned was born. Lesson #1 – Don’t approach a Walmart employee and ask where they keep their ‘rolling papers’. I had visions of stacks of my treasure at home, floating in my head. They had visions of me rolling joints in my pajamas surrounded by bags of bar-b-que potato chips and baggies of little green leaves. My husband quickly corrected the misunderstanding.
‘She wants to roll the coins we have at home and put them into coin sleeves.’
The bored employee told us where the office supplies were and for 94cents per bag, I had rolling papers! I mean, coin sleeves.
The next lesson was even more profound. When I was done rolling my coins, I put them into a small black REI duffle bag and then drove to my local bank to deposit them. It’s not millions but I just felt like I had accomplished something. Stacking, counting, recounting cause I lost count, and finally, putting them all into those sleeves.
Lesson #2 – When you enter a bank with a black duffle bag, you have everyone’s attention immediately. Tellers, bank manager, other customers, both in the bank and in the parking lot. EVERYONE. I smiled and lugged the very heavy bag into the bank and got in the queue. Customers in line with me seemed fidgety and nervous. Maybe it was the fact that I still had my sunglasses on – so I took them off.
Finally, a guy in an Army uniform asked me what was in the bag. I smiled and told him that we are moving and found all my husband’s change jars, etc. (some from as far back as his Air Force days because his ribbons and rank pins were in that jar too). The man laughed.
‘Dude, you freaked me out with the black duffle bag in the bank thing. But it’s cool you found all that money. Like getting a bonus.’
‘I know, right?’ I looked around and noticed the other people were a little less tense. ‘I didn’t even think about bringing a black duffle bag into the bank.’ and I smiled at the woman standing 10 feet behind me. She smiled back and shook her head.
I went up to the counter and the teller asked me what she could do for me. I hoisted up the duffle bag.
‘Please tell me there’s money in there.’
‘Yeah. It’s full of all the change in our house.’
‘You rolled it?’
‘Yes. I went to the Walmart and got rolling papers.’ Duh.
She laughed and shook her head as I piled it on the counter.
‘Maybe next time skip the black bank robber bag. You about gave me a heart attack when you walked in here.’
I agreed that I might modify my approach next time. Then $300 was swiftly deposited into my account, which will pay for our hotel in Los Angeles for our consulate appointment. And the gas to get there. Not that I’m counting pennies – haha. Sure it took a little effort but anything worth doing usually does. And just like that we’re one step closer to our view of the Mediterranean.