I spent a good 30 minutes putting the loose change I had acquired over the past two years into those roll thingees. It added up quite nicely—to almost $60—and I put the rolls in a plastic bag with plans to deposit it into our bank account the following day. I filled out a deposit slip and everything. It was going to be great.
During my lunch break the next day, I decided to walk across the street to a particular American bank and make my deposit. (Is “American bank” too much of a giveaway? Let’s say instead it was a bank of American nature.) The rolls were way too heavy for the plastic sandwich bag I had placed them in, so I had to cradle the bag like a baby while also trying to shield it from inquiring eyes. This particular part of Glendale can be … interesting, and I have been asked for many things while trying to peacefully walk across the street—cigarettes, change, a lighter, a bus ticket, some meth, my sunglasses—and I didn’t feel confident I’d be able to plausibly refute having change while holding $57 in change. (In this part of Glendale’s defense, besides being asked for things, I’ve also been asked if I want things. For example, I was once asked by a woman with a neck tattoo who was riding a skateboard if I wanted to purchase a laptop. I regretfully declined.)
I made it to the bank unscathed, but I had to wait in line for about 10 minutes before reaching a teller. This was difficult because the bag was very heavy and I was still holding it awkwardly to shield it, not because I thought it would be stolen from me inside the bank, but because of the indignity of cashing in loose change. I preferred to give off the vibe I had a major financial transaction at stake in lieu of the reality that I spent the previous evening counting nickels. No doubt the minds of those around me raced with the possibility of what could be inside the plastic sandwich bag I was holding that seemed to weigh 40 pounds.
Finally, I made it to the teller. I handed her my deposit slip and discreetly began taking the rolls out of my bag and placing them on the counter. She interrupted this process to inform me, “Ooooh, I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t do that anymore.”
“Do what? Deposits?”
“No, sir. We no longer accept change like that.”
“What? What do you mean? This is money.”
“We no longer accept these because there’s been too much of a discrepancy with them.”
“Do you think I’m shorting you a quarter here? I pay my mortgage with you guys.”
“Not you, sir. But others.”
“I don’t understand. Rolling up change has been around forever. And now you’re telling me, in 2015, you guys decide there’s too much of a discrepancy? What am I supposed to do with this? It’s very heavy!”
“You can take it downtown.”
“What does that even mean?”
“To our corporate office.”
“You want me to drive my rolled up change to downtown Phoenix? Will they reimburse me for the gas it takes to get there?”
“I’m sorry, sir.”
I would have stormed out of the bank if the weight of my rolled-up change hadn’t prevented me from walking swiftly. But I did manage to shed what was left of my dignity, as besides being the dork waiting in line to deposit his change, I was also the weirdo who put up a very public stink about being unable to do so.
So now I have to either completely reorganize my life by changing banks, or use a freakin’ CoinStar and fork over 10 percent of my hard-earned loose change. (I did lobby to partially pay our babysitter with this money, to no avail. Pfft.) It’s a good thing I have no dignity left, because I’ll be making A LOT of noise tossing my change into that giant machine while yelling, “I’ll take YOU downtown!”
Note: This column appears in the 4/9 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/10 issue of the Peoria Times.