April 15th, 2008

krazy koati

You don't get time to hang a sign on me

I've now done my part to encourage the change of those dollar coins from novelty and collectible items into actual circulating coinage in the United States. I had to go to the post office Monday, and there was an awful wait from people mailing in their tax forms in the last days. Truth be told, I was mailing mine just as late, although I have the excuse that I was waiting for a royalty statement from my publishers on the textbook. I never did receive one, but since I didn't receive royalties either I'm going to trust that it's not a mistake to not have them accounted for.

So I went to the automated postage machine, pretty easily getting the proper sticker for my Federal returns. For my State forms, the large sticker the machine wants to print for packages wouldn't fit on the state-supplied envelope. I went through the steps to buy stamps for an ordinary letter-size envelope, but there was some sort of Technical Problem which would not let it disperse stamps for something as puny as an envelope calling for either 41 or 80 cents depending on whether I called it normal-letter or mailing envelope.

Off, then, to the stamp machine, where I put in two cents and a dollar, and discovered that I couldn't buy individual stamps. They only had 20-stamp booklets. (Admittedly, the 'Forever' first-class stamps, so that's not too bad.) So I needed to put in another $7.18. I had a five dollar bill and a twenty. In the twenty goes, and out comes 80 cents in nickels, two pennies, and twelve dollar coins. I like James Madison as well as anyone can, but that's a lot of his face to have in my pocket at once. That much change threatened the stability of my pants.

So, I ventured to convenience stores to find small purchases on which to circulate some of this bulk and gather the looks of curious cashiers. At one I bought a Diet Dr Pepper, and tried to pay the $1.55 with two dollar coins and a nickel. The cashier rang this up as $1.05, asked if I had another fifty cents, and then looked again to examine just what the dollar coins were and why this wasn't working. I'm pretty sure she just punched a 1 where she meant 2 instead. The mass of nickels I was able to dispose of with the timely purchase of a Payday bar.

Trivia: The General Electric corporation was formed in 1892 by the merger of Edison General Electric (shares in the old converted one-to-one to shares in the new) and the Thomson-Houston Company (converted at three-for-five shares). Source: Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse and the Race to Electrify the World, Jill Jonnes.

Currently Reading: Edison: A Biography, Matthew Josephson.