Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Coinstar Galactica

Coinstar provides a service wherein people can go to a green machine, usually in a supermarket, and dump their change inside for paper cash. Coinstar charges 8.9 cents for each dollar, thus making it incredibly wasteful to use, or perhaps the only option for people too shifty to use banks.

Well, last year (I suppose), Coinstar made it where you can get gift cards to places like Amazon and possibly Barnes and Noble (look it up, I'm not your mother). The fee for this is zero, probably because Amazon and the others pay Coinstar in the hopes you will direct your pocket change towards the retailers and not soda machines and porn booths.

Anyway, I thought I would try this out. I usually dump my pocket change in a bottle, then climb atop the tallest building and throw the coins at women and children. This Coinstar proposition seemed like a more useful way to spend my money, as well as indulging my need for consumerism while getting around my need to not spend money on stuff I don't need to live (unlike food, heat, clothing, Internet access).

The first time I used Coinstar (way back in August), they shortchanged me by about 11 cents on about $27. Alright, I can deal with that. Just recently I tried it again, and it came up 25 cents short on what should have been $15.55.

This may not seem like a lot (if your math sucks, it's roughly 35 cents), but it's supposed to be free and I don't need to use this service. I don't need Coinstar to change my money into money, and I don't need to buy stuff from Amazon. Screw me once, shame on random circumstances. Screw me twice, I'll keep my money.

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