The problem with loose change …


Michael McGuire

I’ve never gotten less than 93 cents in coins back on any monetary transaction. And it’s always in the same breakdown: one quarter, four dimes, five nickels and three pennies – a combination that sounds like there’s a 12 horse sleigh rally in your pocket. Cashiers know that, too. They do it on purpose. It’s their little way of saying, “This is for all the jerks that question my basic math and reading skills when I make a mistake.”

That’s why loose change bothers me.

Vacations are annoying, too.

Yeah, it’s nice to get away. But a vacation, in reality, is like getting mugged at knife-point by a stripper: It’s over quickly and fun in a new, different sort of way, but you still feel a little violated in the end. Especially when it’s time to go back to work. The enormous back-log waiting on your desk, and that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize the beach isn’t there to save you makes you wonder if taking the week off was even worth it.

But you can’t just not take vacations, right? Or throw away loose change? They’re both important. One helps us be flexible and accurate when exchanging money for goods and services. The other keeps us from freaking out at work and quitting, thus slowing down productivity. Without both, our economy would fold.

We need to think positive, and remember how helpful change and vacations can be.

Change is a lifesaver when you’re getting on a toll bridge, using a rest-stop bathroom with a novelty dispenser, or buying a gallon of milk that costs $4.07 (change itself, if used responsibly, can break the cycle of too-much change abuse).

Vacations are helpful reminders that there’s a world outside of work that we should try to find time to live in every day – or that unemployment insurance is just one well-conceived plan to get yourself fired away.