I Broke The Bank And All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt

commerceshirt.jpg

This blog entry was originally posted on October 16, 2003.

So I went the other day to Commerce Bank in Hackensack, New Jersey to cash in the 35 lb. (15.876 kg) can of pennies I had collected over the years, to see how much it would add to my trip finances.  Commerce has a machine that counts coins for you, targeted for kids (but not exclusive to them) called the “Penny Arcade.”  Basically, it’s like the CoinStar machines in the supermarkets, only free-of-charge and more accurate. 

The machine interface is a touch screen presentation with a cartoon character named “Penny” (of course) and she talks you through the process.  Penny told me to pour the contents of my jar, and so, I poured the entire 35 lbs. of pennies into the little orifice, probably only meant for a small piggy bank worth of coins.

“Uh oh.  Something doesn’t feel too good.  Could you ask the teller to come over and fix the machine?  Thanks!”  Penny shook her head back and forth as she spoke.

Mind you, it was lunch time and the only two tellers were swamped with the lunchtime crowd, and all the desk bankers were all out to lunch.  So I waited and waited, and I couldn’t just leave and come back because all my pennies were still in the machine.  I waited a good thirty minutes patiently — I had nowhere to be really — and figured it was good practice since patience will be a big virtue on The Trip, especially on the upcoming 21-hour bus rides.

During this span of time, Penny’s voice repeated over and over every 2-3 minutes, the same phrase: 

“Uh oh.  Something doesn’t feel too good.  Could you ask the teller to come over and fix the machine?  Thanks!”

“Uh oh.  Something doesn’t feel too good.  Could you ask the teller to come over and fix the machine?  Thanks!”

“Uh oh.  Something doesn’t feel too good.  Could you ask the teller to come over and fix the machine?  Thanks!”

Pretty soon, one of the tellers couldn’t take it anymore and picked up the phone.  “Could SOMEONE please come down here and fix the machine!” 

Soon, a young guy in a tie came over to investigate.  “Whoa.  I’ve never seen THESE many coins in this thing before.”

The guy rebooted the system several times and eventually, the pennies started pouring into the counting mechanism.  The counter climbed up and up, passed $10… $20… $30…  Penny came on again and said that the penny bag underneath was packed and need to be replaced.  For this, she said I had won a prize, and a prize claim coupon spit out like a ticket out of a skeeball machine.

The guy replaced the penny bag and the counting continued.  $40… $50…

A claim ticket was printed and I brought it to the teller to get my paper bills.  I gave her my prize claim coupon and she told me it’d be a T-shirt with a cartoon version of the Commerce logo on it.  I asked for a medium, but she said they only had youth sizes.  I took it anyway, as cheesy as it was.

In the end, the total amount was $56.63, which makes the winner mtl.  (Give me your address and you’ll get a postcard on the road.  And, what the hell, I’ll buy you a drink at the Bon Voyage, Birthday and Book Buzz bash on Friday.)


Special Thanks to Alan Javate and his lovely baby daughter Penny, Don Wilson and Cheryl Trivino for pledging The Global Trip 2004 Pledge Drive!  Send me your addresses and you’ll get postcards from the road!

Extra Special Thanks to Donatella Pereira for her awesome bon voyage/birthday gift, a fancy engraved “The Global Trip 2004” pen!  (I’ll try not to lose it right away. ;P )






Next entry: Missing: One Drunken Monkey

Previous entry: A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned…




Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments for “I Broke The Bank And All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt”

  • You silly boy.  This has been what you’ve been up to???  smile  Tonight’s your big par-tay if I remember.  Drink up!!  Ant and I will be having a chai on the train from Calcutta to Bhubeneswar. 

    I will check more often now that the REAL stuff is going to be posted.  smile

    PC

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/16  at  10:13 AM


  • Yes yes, none of this penny BS.  The real stuff is coming, don’t fret PC!

    Posted by Erik  on  10/16  at  02:45 PM


  • Wear your shirt to the big party!! I’ll be driving your car smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/16  at  03:58 PM


  • methinks its a conspiracy. i heard MTL actually collected 35lbs of pennies and dropped it in the Penny Arcade. If you look in his closet, he has his own “Penny” character youth-size t-shirt.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/16  at  05:25 PM


  • Why the implementation of the Price is Right-style assessment of success?

    At 57.75, my guess was 16 cents closer than mtl’s guess of 55.35 .

    This, of course, leads me to a much more important question:  Why do I care?

    Posted by Andrew  on  10/18  at  07:02 PM


  • Well, Wed. is my last day at work.  Quit my job to be a freelance writer/photographer. 

    Hopefully now I can travel! I would love to see the world.  Quitting my job is at least one step closer.

    Posted by Christy  on  11/07  at  03:03 PM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Missing: One Drunken Monkey

Previous entry:
A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned…




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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