Monday, June 22

Coinstar lives up to its name

My mom recently suggested that I start checking these machines whenever I'm in the grocery store. Apparently more than half of the time, there's money left in there.

Apparently, the problem is that some coins don't go in. Either a foreign nickel slips past you, or something too old/worn to be accepted by the machine. So the machine spits the coins into the receptacle, allowing people to take them back.

Thing is, though, that our instant gratification culture has trained us to take the money and run. So people, gift card in hand, go on their merry way without pawing through the discarded change leftover.

I finally remembered to try this out myself. Sure enough, there was 12 cents just sitting there. Someone had actually put it up on the counter. I was more than happy to relieve said counter of its heavy dime-and-two-pennies burden.

And, okay, that didn't exactly pay for our grocery trip or anything. But now that there are no pay phones to check for loose change, what are we grab-fueled Americans supposed to snoop around in?

Has anyone else noticed this about Coinstar? Or some other venue? I'd be interested to hear some feedback on this.

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Blogger Alissa said...

I never thought of checking the Coinstar machines for leftover change. I did once find a $20 bill just waiting for me in the bill return slot at a self-checkout lane, but now I am definitely going to check those Coinstar machines!

June 22, 2009 at 7:53 PM

Blogger pollyjean said...

I have checked the coinstar machine and found a few left coins. I also check soda machines and even if your state has those automatic lottery machines sometimes people leave credit in them.

Also here in Oregon cans are worth 5 cents and they lay everywhere. I tell my family that one day my can fund will pay for a house for myself . lol

I enjoy your blog very much


June 22, 2009 at 8:06 PM

Blogger Abby said...


Wow, you have some good luck! I don't think I've ever found any money in the self-checkout lane. But after reading this, I bet my mom takes self-checkout exclusively!

Polly Jean,

Soda machines. How could I have not thought about those?! And lottery machines.

I wish WA had a five cent deposit. Then I would definitely be picking up cans again. They are all over the place here.

Thanks for the compliment on the blog. I hope to keep building it up!

June 22, 2009 at 9:08 PM

Anonymous Donna Freedman said...

I found a quarter in a soda machine today. Woo hoo!
And watch for old coins in the Coinstar machines. I found a Mercury dime that is I think about 70 years old.

June 22, 2009 at 10:07 PM

Anonymous Coupon Ninja said...

After working in a grocery store for almost 9 years with a Coinstar, you are right, you'd be amazed what people will leave behind. Esepcailly when it screws up and I have to go fix it. I had a guy today leave something along the lines of 60 cents. Another time there was a $1.85 or so after I fixed it for someone and they walked off and left it! I just donated it to our store charity since I was on the clock.
I didn't wanna get fired for stealing... but its CRAZY how bad people are about just leaving stuff.

I'm too cheap anyways, I roll all my change and save my quarters for laundry. As a result, I have put $245 into my IRA this year and it's only June!
<3 to read about your's and Donna's blog.
It's all your mom's fault I have gotten into the frugal living shebang. :)

June 23, 2009 at 8:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you walk into any convienance store walk in with your eyes looking down searching for any fallen coin. When walking outside do the same. People that go to places of conveience are to much in a hurry to care about dropped coins.

June 28, 2009 at 7:45 PM


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