Making Your Change Count

Andy Rooney Cashes In At The Bank

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by correspondent Andy Rooney. This segment originally aired Nov. 28, 2004.

Like just about everyone else, I save my change. At night, I empty my pockets and then I hang my pants by closing the dresser drawer on the cuffs. In the morning, I take a few quarters, but I dump the rest of the change in coffee cans.

I just came from the bank, and I feel great. These cans are all empty now.

There is nothing more annoying than going to the checkout counter in a store and getting four pennies change from a dollar for something that costs 96 cents.

The U.S. Mint ought to stop making pennies. Last year, they made almost 7 billion of them. For what? You can't buy anything with a penny, and they're a pain in the pocket.

This week, I took cans filled with change to the Commerce Bank in New York. Commerce was the only bank I found that has a machine that converts change into real money free.

Some companies charge almost nine cents for every dollar of change you convert to paper. Seems like a rip-off.

The change-counting machine was cuter than necessary: "You win. Press button to make your selection."

It did the job in a hurry, though. And it took me about 10 minutes to feed in the seven cans of change.

There were a few glitches: one metal washer in a batch. When I finished, the machine spit back a handful of coins, too. It turns out it doesn't like French francs, English pence or Euros.

The machine then gives you a receipt. I had six silver dollars, just one 50-cent piece, 171 quarters, 1,745 dimes, 1,010 nickels, and 3,594 pennies. It came to $310.19.

I took that receipt to the cashier and she gave me the cash with four pennies change. Anyway, it was the best money I've made all year -- and no deductions. Now, if the Mint would just stop making those useless damn pennies. I'd only need about two of these cans for change.
Written by Andy Rooney