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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

CoinStar Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like a CoinStar Christmas! Today we went through all the coats and cushions for change. Back when I lived in Chicago coats and sweaters were always good to cough up a buck or two that had been languishing in a pocket since last winter. We had a clothes dryer once that broke down. When the repair man came he took of the bottom front of it...who knew that came off?...and cleaned out the impossibly clogged up lint trap. It yielded two whole potholders, a sock, some guitar picks (we had a hootenanny nun residing with us at that place), a hankie, a rosary, a laminated holy card of St. Gertrude the patron saint of rats and cats, and $125. You read that right. One hundred and twenty-five dollars. The dryer paid for it's own repair and bought dinner for five. Nun dinner....we eat like birds...except for Sister Mary Fiacre. She would eat like a whale left to her own devices.

Here on the West Coast we don't have all the winter gear going on to hide money from ourselves. We found a dollar in one sweater and some change here and there. Discouraging.

We have a plan.

We're going to take all the money we can round up and go to the grocery store. We'll buy a gift certificate or two...depending on what we manage to round up and we'll push ourselves in front of some family that can use a little help with the grocery money, which is just about any family if we choose the right store. Everyone will let us cut in. Nun perks. We have them saved up for just this occasion. Usually we let everyone go ahead of us. It drives people crazy to not let us go ahead of them and it drives us crazy to go ahead of anybody. The whole shopping event makes for some great Purgatory sacrifices all around. Especially when we have a truck load of coupons. You could really get some souls out of Purgatory is you are behind us on coupon shopping day. But we'll try to let you get ahead of us.

Where was I?

Right. We cut ahead of some family, our hearts pounding, and we give the gift certificate to the checker and tell her to use it for the family behind us, please. Then we high tail it out of there before anyone's the wiser. Which means we can't take Sister Mary Fiacre with us.

We can hardly wait. Like the singing chipmunks.

So the challenge is on to find more change. We've put some money aside here and there so all is not lost. We were just hoping the house was hiding some more loot. We haven't looked behind things yet or under things...or in the front of the dryer, now that I know that thing comes off..or shaken Sister Mary Fiacre by her ankles. We won't really do that. We don't really go to the CoinStar machine with the change, either. How lazy do you have to be not to count your own change? We want the family to have the money, not the executives of CoinStar.

Who would have thought that would catch on anyhow? Some smart cookie actually guessed that people would become so lazy they would pay a machine to count their change for them. If someone had come to me with that idea I would have told them it was the stupidest idea I'd ever heard, especially since I would also assume that people who are gathering up their change need every dime. Oh well. Shows you what I know. (Besides the fact that Jesus died for our sins.)

You are free, dear readers, to steal our plan and implement yourselves. We'd love to hear from you if you do. Don't get caught!


Christopher Clark said...

My bank is perfectly willing to count my change and give me paper money and they don't charge me a service fee to do so. I guess there are some people without bank accounts that use those coinstar machines.

Unfortunately, a lot of businesses have moved away from accepting change as a payment method, at least for relatively large amounts. Even though it is a little different, Here's a story about a guy being arrested for paying his bill at best Buy with two dollar bills.

Michelle said...

Well, Sister, I tried. Went to three different stores looking for molasses. It's unfortunately not a busy time of day, I guess, and there weren't tons of shoppers to cut in front of. At Store #1 and Store #3, the people behind me were stocking up on name-brand items. I really just didn't think they needed extra help. Store #2 usually has poorer customers - but nobody else was in line and very few were milling around shopping. Store #3 was pretty upscale - I thought perhaps I should be getting a handout to shop there!

Store #1 has baggers who work for tips only. I decided to give a very generous tip there. And as I was leaving Store #3, disappointed that I hadn't been able to spread some Christmas joy, I saw a basket for donations of food for "needy children." It was empty. I asked, and they didn't take cash donations, so I went back through the store and picked up as many items as I could carry. As I was unsuccessfully juggling apple sauce, Cheerios and granola bars, I was spotted by the DRE at my parish.

Not very stealthy, I suppose. But hopefully some kids will get breakfast on Christmas morning. Thanks for an amusing assignment!

Sister Mary Martha said...

I think you did admirably, michelle. Did you find the molasses?

Michelle said...

Oh, yes...otherwise I'd be telling you about adventures at Store #4, Store #5, etc...

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

YAY for R.A.C's, I love to do them and do them often. This Christmas, I just kept 5s in my pocket for the random person behind me at the grocery store and I know what you mean when you say your heart was pounding! I try to run out as fast as possible after handing over the cash 'cause what's the fun in getting caught? Once, last summer I saw a bunch of construction guys sweating it out on the curb next to a gas station and an ice cream truck stopped at the gas station. I ran over and got treats for the kids and I saw the const. guys heading our way so I paid the man for those guys to get a nice, cool treat and ran away quick. That was a good one. My sister and I one summer felt bad for the road const. guys working late on a Fri. and we went and got snacks and cold drinks from the groc. store, asked who was their supervisor like we were really angry and plopped the things down for the guys and drove away fast. We did catch them looking in the bags and scratching their heads, and we barely caught the realizing smiles before we were too far away. We were giggling and giddy. It was awesome because we knew how much they would like it and we knew how much our husbands would love it if someone did that kind of thing for them. Everybody wins!