Where do you get change?

February 18, 2013

Something as simple as changing cash has seemed to become complicated for me.

One day, I needed quarters for laundry, so I took a $10 bill into a bank to perform a very straightforward exchange for a roll of quarters. When I told the teller, “I just need a roll of quarters,” her response was “sure; I just need your account number.”

spare change

I didn’t say anything, and I just looked her in the face. I’m pretty sure she got the “are you serious?” aura that I was hopefully emitting. It took her about five seconds though before she said, “ohh, you need an account here before I can do that, but there’s a laundromat right across the plaza.” I didn’t say a word, and she apologized to me and told me to have a nice day. In fact, I don’t think the dumbfounded look on my face changed at all for the 30 seconds I was inside of the dumb bank.

Two things.

(1) It is absolutely ridiculous that there is any restriction to exchanging currency in a bank. [Ok. I guess the argument for counterfeit can be made, but, really, who's gonna counterfeit $10 bills and go to banks to change them to quarters?]

(2) I may be reading into this, but from the way she worded that, it sounds like she thought I’d even entertain the idea of opening an account with a bank that was ready to turn me away for trying to exchange currency.

Whether I have an account at the bank or not is a completely moot point. The transaction is going to yield neither party a net gain. The fact that this exchange occurred makes me less likely to ever step foot in that bank for official business. If she would have given me the quarters, who knows? Maybe one day I would open an account there.

But back to the first point, isn’t a bank supposed to be the place where people go to exchange currency?

6 Comments for this entry

  • WrigsMac says:

    That’s outrageously bad service. Sounds like Key Bank – ha! I walked into a bank just on this side of Canada and exchanged a bunch of American cash for Canadian with no problem. I wasn’t a customer, just on a drive to our neighbors to the north. Great service. When I came back I went to my own local Key Bank, where I was a customer at the time, and they wouldn’t exchange my Canadian money back to American cash. WTF.

    There was that other time I walked into a Key Bank and told the teller than I wanted to take $50 out of my checking account. I gave her my account number and she proceeded to actually throw her hands in the air and declare that she had no idea what I was asking her to do.

    That all said, I now bank at TD, and while they don’t have a ton of locations around here, they have terrific service. The one in Falmouth Mass even has a dog dish full of water if I bring my dog. :-)

    • derryX says:

      I actually do have accounts at Key Bank, and there’s a Key Bank a stones throw away from the bank I tried getting change. I’ve been trying to avoid the Key Bank though because there’s an employee there I don’t like.

      As I expand out the story, it’s clear this is one of those Curb Your Enthusiasm type situations I always find myself in.

  • Weird. I usually go to the bank, but I know my husband (whose bank has horribly inconvenient hours) usually goes to either the customer service desk at Hannaford or the laundromat.

    • derryX says:

      Haha, I considered going to the laundromat she directed me to, but the thought that went through my mind was “I can’t go into a business I’m not about to patronize and take advantage of them” and that’s where my logic falls apart because, well, I don’t have an account at that bank.

  • Chad9976 says:

    Sounds like Trustco. I used to work for SEFCU years ago and when someone wanted to turn in rolled coin we’d make them put their account number on them. But never the other way around.

  • Jeni B says:

    I can add a *bit* to this.. when I was a teller AGES ago we used to trade coin all the time.. until we started finding used AA batteries in the dime roll and used C batteries in the quarter rolls. They’d stick two or three actually coins on either end so you could even open up the rolls to check and it wouldn’t matter. They’d still sneak them in.

    We eventually had to institute a “no change” policy unless you had an account number.

    Then we had to start putting the account number ON the rolls, which many people took issue with (totally understandable)

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