Family Business Part 3

An obvious side effect of a vending business is that you are paid in coins. The hundreds of pop and vending machines my father managed would occasionally need to be purged of their change. We had these cloth bags like you'd see a cartoon villain carrying out of a bank vault (they even had dollar signs on them) that we would empty the change into. My father would walk into the business with an empty one and combine them when we returned to the van slowly filling bag after bag till we had half a dozen heavy a$$ bags at the end of the day.

Vending machines typically accept quarters, dimes, and nickels but the bank wouldn't take them combined in the bags raw which meant we had to sit down and sort them before making a deposit. This was a whole family ordeal with my grandma, dad, step-mom and I sitting around a round table with an overturned bag of money in the center. We would scoop up a handful of coins at a time and sort them into containers placed on folding tv tables located strategically around us. My father would constantly survey the landscape looking for older coins that might contain silver, wheat pennies and anything else of note. I always took great joy pointing out a coin that tripped his trigger. I wonder what my step-mom did with all those coins when he passed on?

After they were all sorted we would pour them out again as a single denomination and break them into small piles, 40 quarters ($10), 50 dimes ($5) and 40 Nickels ($2). Then we would fill up the coin rolls we got from the bank and place them into trays of 10 quarter rolls ($100), 20 dimes ($100) and 16 nickels ($32).

It usually took a few attempts and some intense scrubbing to get our hands clean after that. The grime from coins really adds up when you're touching them in massive amounts. We got tired of replacing the tablecloth so we purchased some thick ugly ones to be reused only for this recurring event. In addition to the dirt pilling up from the countless coins they had pock marks where cigarettes' fell out of the ashtray and burned a small hole into the plastic.

Once we were finished the coin rolls would be placed in my dads locked cabinet door when I was younger and in a safe vault when I was older until Saturday morning when he would stroll into the bank with a two wheeler of coins stacked neatly into milk crates. It always took forever when we went to the bank because in addition to the checks and large stack of ones that he had counted separately they weighed the coins to make sure we weren't cheating them. One day the weight was off and they went through each roll finding them all off by one or two (which was odd, I remembered them all being right the night before).


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