>As most of you know, I am a carhop at Sonic. When I come home at night, it is customary to empty the contents of my apron into a half-gallon pitcher next to the couch. This is usually a couple or more dollars in change; I never bother to count. The change in the pitcher has been accumulating for about six months now and last night it finally reached the top of the container. I decided that rather than find another container to put next week’s change in, it was time for me to turn it into cash. I’ve actually thought about doing this several times over the past few weeks, but I’m never home when the bank is open, but this weekend, I was determined. Therefore, on the way out of town on Saturday morning, I gathered up my pitcher of change in both arms and carried it into Midfirst. It weighed more than my border collie and I could almost hear my old boss from the Chamber ask me “Do you want a dolly for that?” I felt a little silly when I saw the long line of customers staring at me as I entered the bank lobby. This moment of awkwardness increased as I attempted to locate the change machine. Then, when I did find it, I was confused because it told me “Do NOT put change in machine” with very formidable “Prohibited” signs on either side of the notice. I looked around the bank in dismay. What was I supposed to do? An eldery gentleman with a plaid flannel shirt called out to me, “Can I guess how much you have in there?”
“Sure,” I said.
I laughed. “I doubt it.” I had stopped counting at a hundred and fifty or so dollars months ago, but I didn’t believe that the pitcher could contain more than two hundred and fifty. But the man’s banter caused me to relax. I turned back to the machine and decided to push the “English” button that I now noticed on the touch screen. It instantly popped up with the next screen: “Mid-first customer, or non-customer?” I selected the correct option (non-customer) and then the bottom of the machine started spinning. Time to put in the coins!
In my own clumsy way, however, I couldn’t figure out how to open the top to pour in the coins. A second customer, this one with a long gray beard, saw my helpless look and came over. He showed me the latch and I gave him a grateful smile.
It took a long time to pour the coins in. The opening was large, but the spinner seemed to get stuck if I put too much in at one time, so I had to keep pausing and making sure everything went through correctly. I had thought that the rest of the customers had lost interest in me, probably because I became so engaged in the coins disappearing down the chute that I forgot about them. The last of the change went through and I looked around the bank in triumph. Then I noticed three people in line shouting at me, “There’s some coins in the bottom!” with along with the appropriate finger wagging.
I looked down and gathered up the small pile of change that the machine had spit out back at me: A bent quarter, two Canadian dimes, and a Canadian quarter. “They’re Canadian,” I explained to my rapt audience, shoving them in my pocket.
“They didn’t want them foreign coins,” someone said, while the man in the plaid asked, “What’s the damage? Three hundred sixty-seven?” He had read off from the big red total on the touch screen. “Well, I was going to guess 365 after I saw how many pennies you had.”
I shrugged, not believing him, took my receipt from the machine, my empty pitcher under my arm, and got into the back of the line.
After that none of the customers in the bank took notice me. I was just another customer in a long line of people waiting to receive money. My little show was over; my fifteen minutes of fame had run its course. But at least I had gotten $367.58 out of the deal. I think that was worth it.
*This story brought to you courtesy of the suggestion of Aaron Pogue, www.unstressedsyllables.com*