This is progress?: I took my change bag to the bank last month, stuffed with the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that I throw in the glass jar on the end table every afternoon.
It takes about three months to fill up the glass jar, and when I take the change down to the bank I get anywhere from $35 to $50 back. Sometimes, to celebrate our vast frugality, we buy a bottle of Kahlua to put in our coffee, and whoop it up. (You have to make your own entertainment out here on the frozen tundra.)
“After the first of the year,” the perky young bank teller told me last time I cashed in my change, “we won’t be able to count your change for you. They’re taking the machine out.”
I was taken aback. Nonplussed.
“You’re kidding,” I said as she brought my change bag back, along with a slip of paper with the amount the change came to — almost $50 this time — scribbled on it.
“I’m sorry,” she said, with a shrug that indicated that this decision was made far above her pay level.
This was at a branch of one of the biggest banks in the country. But it turns out, as big and friendly and worried as they are about how my day is going, they simply don’t have the minute or two it takes for a teller to take my bag of change back to the clanking change-counting machine, and relieve me of my accumulated pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.
“What the ding-dong heck am I going to do with all my change?” I asked the young teller before she could dismiss me with the usual jaunty, “Have a good one!” that they like to say. (Have a good WHAT?)
“We’ll give you the paper wrappers you need to count the change yourself,” she said, with kind of a hurt look at being cut off before she could advise me to, “Have a good one!”
“And you’ll accept the rolled up coins if I bring them in?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said, as if the bank was really going out of their way for me, accepting my money.
This bank usually has a “greeter” in the lobby, to say a friendly “hello” when I get in line, and ask me how my day is going. And I always think that my day would be going significantly better if the greeter would stop greeting and man one of the closed teller windows to handle this line of customers.
I mean, how important is a “greeting,” anyway?
From now on, instead of mumbling something when the greeters ask how my day is going, I am going to say, “My day would be going a lot better if this bank would count my change for me, like it has for years, instead of expecting me to spend my evenings counting pennies and putting them into paper rolls. That’s how my day is going, and thanks for asking!
“And don’t you dare tell me to ‘have a good one’ if you won’t count my change.”
This is progress?: I keep seeing these stories about the new “driver-less cars,” and lately there are pictures of taxi cabs that don’t have cabbies at the wheel.
Apparently, a gizmo on the roof with a spinning cylinder on top that looks like some crazy beanie, will soon take the place of those outmoded, vastly-expensive, horse-and-buggy humans.
As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” We just can’t afford us anymore. We’re an extravagance. A crazy indulgence. A hopeless link to the labor-intensive past. The sooner the last of us is gone, the better.
Someday soon, we will hale a driver-less cab; stop briefly at a big-box store to pick up materials for a protest sign, paying in the self-check line; then swing by the fast food outlet to order a burger and fries at the kiosk that replaced the high school kid at the counter.
On our way to the big rally to protest...
The fact that you just can’t find a job, these days.
Contact Dave Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org