25 August 2010

Out of chaos, order.

When I am stressed, I love to roll coins. Yes, I know something could be read into that: the ability completely and discretely finish a task and result in a final and visible product is soothing. It's actually something I remember doing with my mother when I was small. She had a bank that one pulled a lever on and made "ching" and was only open-able at some vast sum. So it was a great treat to be able to open it up and to roll the coins and then perhaps go to visit the bank and deposit the rolls. To stand in line and hear my mother chat with the cashiers and perhaps bump into neighbors. That time still exists in parts of upstate NY and I revisited it this month.

One of the maddening things about Germany (to me) has been my inability to roll coins and then to get rid of them. My local bank branch offers me a large plastic pouch and tells me that I would need to drop the bag off at a different location. This has been annoying me and filling up honey jars with coins because I just can't get rid of the smaller ones, even carrying around a very heavy change purse. So I brought a bunch of change rolls back from the US and the coins above in the lower row are 5¢, 2¢ and 1¢.

The upper row is American change, garnered from different corners and bags: that's amusing because I actually rolled over $60 of coins while in the US, while downsizing some storage boxes. I visited my local bank branch, the one where I have had a checking account since starting to bank my birthday and babysitting money, multiple times to both deposit coin rolls and deal with the fact that my not-used-in-Europe ATM card had been purged from the system.

I'll put the rolls aside and the US money will go back with me the next time and the Euro cents will accumulate until I have time next week to take them into a branch that will actually take change. Next week is my last before my German course starts again, so maybe I'll actually even find a bike-able branch.


The Honourable Husband said...

Here's what I do with small coins that inhabit pockets, bags and honey jars. I give them away.

To people asking for them on the street. To kids. To baristas. To the guy selling BISS. To someone in the supermarket line who needs an extra cent or two to avoid breaking a bill.

Of course, it's not a substitue for real, substantial charity (or real efforts to fix issues of homelessness or a living wage for those in service jobs). But to me, it's a small gesture of solidarity with my fellow community members.

It means more to them than it means to me, sitting in my bank account. It makes us all feel a little better.

G in Berlin said...

I actually understand that. I think my dad just drops his change as an extra tip every day as well.In the US I do more of that too- leaving change at Dunkin, etc.
Here, I really don't do very much. I don't eat out alone, I don't tip at the bakery or the grocery store, when we do eat out, we tip far more substantially (and I don't carry my change purse).
When I give money to the girls to tip performers, we use 1 and 2 euro pieces: I just dump the small change out of my purse every evening and it adds up. I mean, I tip everyone, in a very non-European manner, but I don't carry the hordes of 1,2 and 5 cent pieces around with me because the higher level change is just so heavy.
I guess I also think it's sort of disrespectful to hand people a handful of 1 and 2 cent pieces. As someone who has served, I really didn't want someone to drop 100 pennies at my plate: I would have felt it to be an insult. In the US, I would change those coins up. Here, they have been accumulating.
Maybe you don't get as many of them as I do? Or are just way better at dispersing them.

Anonymous said...

Both Hubby and I drop spare change into a dish by his computer. From time to time, when the coins begin to spill over, I sort them and roll them--oddly satisfying--and take them to the bank. Once, I had more than $50 added to my account. I never turn up my nose at a penny lying on the street as I know how they do add up albeit slowly.

J said...

I hate rolling coins, but I really do miss Coinstar..lol

PapaScott said...

Funny, one of the small headaches of our business is dealing with coins. Last month we had over 1300 rolls of coin delivered to our restaurants. Our shopping center store, on the other hand, always has too many coins, and we opened an account at the Haspa across the street just so they can cash in their coins themselves.

Our main bank got tired of getting coins for us, so they started charging us 20 cents a roll. We got the message, and started going to the local Sparkasse, which still does it for free, and they have a machine where we can buy coin on weekends. These days we have the armored car company deliver coins, saves us all the heavy lifting.

I've never heard of banks wanted to use bags instead of rolls for coin. All the banks we deal with hand out the paper rolls for free.

G in Berlin said...

Wow, Scott, you are fortunate! I asked at both Citi/Targo and at Sparkasse and one handed me some flat sheets and said I could tape them together and the other handed me a plastic bag.
I never thought of using a restaurant. Would you accept a rolled coin thing or does the customer need to count it oout for the teller? When I used to get coffee in the mornings, if there was no line, I used to use coins, but I can't bear making other people wait on my counting out 1,5,10, and 20 cent pieces!

PapaScott said...

I guess that the flat sheets is what I meant by "paper rolls", roll-your-own, so to speak. With a proper fold and a sharp rap on the table they hold together without tape, and if you have a set of Inkiess coin trays you can roll them up pretty quickly. Inkiess are probably overkill for home, but if you're really into keeping coins organized, maybe not. :-)

As for accepting a roll as payment, I think there's even a regulation that requires merchants to accept up to 50 coins as payment. You can't be shy about holding up the line, though (and most Germans aren't). :-)

Moonwaves said...

It does seem to have changed here. I remember 15 years ago you could definitely get the paper to make your own rolls and the banks wouldn't take change off you unless you had rolled it properly.

In Ireland, on the other hand, we always had plastic bags - sort of shaped like a pillow case so you can easily fold over the top if you know what I mean.

I recently got around to emptying my piggybank and diligently sorted all the coins into their various piles and then went to my bank to ask for some paper rolls. Only to be told that all I need to do is lodge it into the machine. They renovated a few months ago and one of the ATMs is now a super-duper one with a special place for emptying coins into, it counts them, gives you a receipt and lodges it directly to your account. That's commerzbank by the way in case there's one near you that has also recently been renovated but the money is lodged straight to your account so you do have to actually have an account there.