It may be only a two-bit problem, but it is mine own

dollereroSo, we have this issue about small change, she and I.

You see, as a male, I don’t ‘do’ change. This is all genetically predetermined and nobody can blame me for it.

One of the dreariest things to have happened in this otherwise relatively decent country was to have done away with the dollar and two-dollar bills. I believe females in both the finance ministry and the federal mint made the decision.

No man would have approved the elimination of paper money. Truly, one of my many joys in traveling in the US (and I’ve never once had to dodge bullets whilst traveling therein) is getting my hands on all those greenback singles.

The reasons men like me hate coins of large denomination is that they are big and eat away at pocket linings and cause ‘coin-rash’ on the upper thigh front, and also because even though they are $1 and $2 denominations, they feel like &^%** change and I tend to forget about them. Or more accurately, reject them because, as I said at the beginning, I don’t ‘do’ change.

Every week or so I clear that change out of my pocket and dump it atop the bedroom dresser. And I grant Wendy the right to help herself. That’s because it’s not ‘real money’, it’s just ‘change’.

But sometimes I forget. Like when I was ordering coffee the other day and handed the pretty barrista a $20 bill. She wondered if I had anything smaller. “Oh, just a bunch of change,” I replied. “Well, let’s have it then,” she said. “Put it out on the counter and let’s count it.” I said that would be fine, mainly because she was a pretty barrista, but assured her there probably wasn’t enough. She looked at the array of coinage and asserted: “There’s easily enough here.”

And there was, and I even got some change back from my strewn change.

My biggest bugbear is when I’m at the checkout in a grocery store, especially the express lane. I’m told the tab is, say, $2.17, I’ll hand the clerk a fiver. If Wendy is there she’ll say “I’m sure you have it in change.” Probably I do. But if she’s not there, I’ll fork over the five. It’s not that I’m innumerate, it’s just that I’m both lazy and I hate holding people up, especially if I’m in the express lane. I know they won’t want me scrambling in my pockets and dropping my pennies and other crap change on the floor. They’ll look heavenward and mutter: “*&%$# asshole” under their respective breaths. At least that’s what I’d do if somebody did that in front of me.



12 responses to “It may be only a two-bit problem, but it is mine own

  1. I feel the exact same way about change. I usually end up with a ton of it, ruining the lining in my purse, or jeans. I am reluctant to dig it out to pay for anything, because I think people behind me are rolling their eyes and thinking, ‘really lady??’ Great writing!

    • So, you’re saying it’s not a gender specific thing. Well, that’s a relief. It was a lighthearted piece, but actually I was quite serious about the inconvenience of it all.

  2. I now use a change pouch. It’s a circle of leather with a drawstring and it’s holding up pretty well. The beauty of it is that the construction (such as it is) allows it to open completely: when I drop that baby on the counter and open it, there’s a flat surface to shuffle change around until the right amount emerges. Remind me to show it to you sometime! 🙂

  3. I dump what I don’t need [for the bus in a coin jar and when that is full, take it to an automated coin counter at my local market and swap coins for paper which is then put toward the groceries. Nice post.

  4. Ha, I’m exactly the same as you. I used to dump all my change in pots and jars on top of the dresser in the sitting room. Last year I thought I ought to see what I had because if the euro is ever abandoned then change will be worthless. Incredibly, I had amassed 92 euros in change! I’ve cashed it in now.

  5. We were separated at birth. My change tends to accumulate. If I’m shopping with Marc I’ll dig out my change at the cash and dump it in his hands. And he always either has the perfect amount or he adds something like 17 cents and will get back a quarter. It’s brilliant. But I’m totally incapable of doing it myself.

    • Well, you know we were separated at birth. Yep, I often do the same with Wendy. So, as I said to Debra, it doesn’t seem to be a gender specific thing as I suggested in the blog.

  6. I give a note…my husband scraps around for the exact change while I hiss and wheeze like a steam engine alongside, impatient to be off.

  7. Which is exactly why, down here, we still have $1 bills. That and the fact that they keep making the dollar coins the exact same size and shape of our quarters. WHY?????

    And “bugbear” is my new favorite word.

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