Thursday, April 17, 2008

Any more friendly and I would have thought that I was at the DMV

So I had a stack of coins that I needed to cash in. Will usually lug them over to the Coinstar machine at the Food Emporium. Easy enough.

Meanwhile, I always walk by the newish Commerce Bank branch on 10th Street and Third Avenue. Made something of a vow to never go into any of the 37 bank branches that have opened in this three-block radius. Still. The bag was heavy. Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light...Anyway, Commerce doesn't charge a fee for the coin machine. Plus, I figured I'd save a few blocks of needless exercise. And I was curious about the spiffy new branch. I was immediately greeted by a Commerce hostess/representative. She took me over to the coin machine. She asked me if I had ever used one before. I said yes. So she showed me how to use the machine anyway, and explained that there was some contest in which I could try to guess the total amount of coins. She went about all this as if she was the prom queen forced by her mother to be nice to the kid with the thick glasses and asthma. (I don't wear glasses or have asthma. But you get the idea.)

After the coin counting had ended (I missed my guess by $25!), I stood in line with my coin receipt to hand to a teller. There were three tellers working. And no line. Each teller had his or her head down, intently working on something. I stood there for a few awkward minutes before I started coughing, clearing my throat, etc., to perhaps alert the tellers that someone was standing there. Finally a teller motioned me forward. The machine didn't take a Susan B. Anthony $1 coin. I asked the young man if they were still in circulation. (Perhaps this might be worth, say, $1.15 now!) He sighed and said yes. I asked him then if I could please trade it in for a bill. "As you wish," he said. At the end, I said "thank you." He did not.

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