July 10, 2006

I was robbed by a machine.

Not the kind with the spinning reels and bright lights that usually steal from me. I had decided to cash in a bunch of pennies, nickels, and dimes at a Coinstar machine at Albertson's. I wanted to trade all that change into an Amazon gift card. Coinstar makes a big deal of how you can get gift cards from their machines and they won't charge their 8.9% rake for counting up the coins.

So I pour in a few pounds of copper and silver and the machine counts up a value of $109.90. I have no idea if this is correct or not, but I figure it's close enough and it could fund my next few online purchases. So it asks me again if I want an Amazon gift card, and I select yes. A minute later, the machine claims it is experiencing technical difficulties and immediately prints out a cash voucher in the amount of $100.12.

This got me upset. If it couldn't give me the Amazon gift card, why couldn't the friggin machine tell me it was not an option earlier on, before I dumped in my money? I only chose to use Coinstar because of the no counting fee promotion and they take a counting fee anyways. It's only $9.78, but that's a lot to pay someone to just count my money (I think sports agents take up to 5%) and it's one less book for my library.

I'm going to take a bunch of metal washers and plastic chips and stuff them in a Coinstar machine. They have signs telling me this is illegal and I should not be doing this sort of thing. If they ask me to pay for the damages, I've still got about $500 in quarters that I'm going to put into a sock and toss it at them.

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