Digitizing my cold hard cash at Coinstar for a gift card and a woman (but mostly a gift card) #NOFEECoinstar #CBias

Due to being awesome, I have been paid (at Coinstar’s request) to blog about Coinstar’s products/services as part of a Collective Bias shopper insights study.  All opinions are my own, but they are awesome opinions.

Because I’m a guy, I like to keep my spare change in a sophisticated and completely hi-tech manner: my jean pockets.  None of those man purses or pouches for me thank you very much.  I am HARDCORE.

So on the occasion that I pull out some greens to pay for something, I usually jam whatever spare change I get from the purchase into my pockets, then unload them into a pouch inside my suitcase when I’m back at the hotel, and ultimately into my coin bank when I return home from another crazy traveling adventure.  My coin bank is cleverly designed to be completely undetectable to the naked eye.

Coca Cola Soda Can Coin Bank
State of the art, undetectable coin bank.

That’s generally been my habit since I graduated college, though usually when I’m ready to cash in I head over to the credit union.  I’ve tried the Coinstar machine once before at Stop & Shop but lost nearly $8 from the fee I had to pay just to redeem my cash, so I never bothered to use it again, at least until now, when they got smart and introduced a NO FEE option.

Koko inspects a fake coin bank
“Yeaaah, I don’t think this is a real soda can.”

With my coin bank now at capacity, there was no better time to give Coinstar another try, so I grabbed my *ahem* soda can, and headed over to my favorite Stop & Shop. (BTW, check out Coinstar at Facebook and Twitter.)

For whatever reason Stop & Shop has that vibe that makes me prefer going there for groceries over other supermarkets, and particularly because their self checkouts are blazing fast and usually don’t have a line to them.  Anything that allows me to run in and run out with bags full of food in as little time as possible is WINNING in my book. (Check out Stop and Shop’s Facebook page for more info about their supermarkets.)

Coinstar Machine at Stop and Shop
A slot machine I can work with.

The Coinstar here was located next to Redbox and their customer support/lotto center, right by the entrance. About as convenient a place as you could hope for.  Long Island being what it is though (as in, filled with rancid, uncouth human beings such as myself), I basically got shoved aside by some battle axe of an old lady who wanted to use the Coinstar machine, not to redeem coins mind you, but to scratch off an instant lotto game she had just purchased.  Sigh.

The battle axe finally left, so I finally had the machine to myself, and started sifting through the NO FEE options.  As it turned out you can select from a variety of different gift certificates, but I was surprised to find out that despite touting the option of redeeming your coins for a Stop & Shop gift card, there weren’t any gift card choices that you could actually use at Stop & Shop itself.  Weird.

Gift Card Options at Coinstar
Y U NO GIV Stop & Shop option?

Ultimately I picked Amazon.com as it has the widest range of goods, though I might have picked a Stop & Shop card instead had that option been available.  I slowly dumped my coins in, and watched and listened as the machine chirped and beeped away while tallying my coins.  Net total:  $77.28.

Total coins redeemed for Amazon.com via Coinstar
Wow, I should save coins more often.

The machine then gave me a second chance to turn my coins to cash instead, but the fee was nearly 10 cents to a dollar.  Um, no.

Gift Card Receipt from Coinstar
I cropped out the gift code.  No freebies for you.

That said, this was pretty convenient, as long as the NO FEE options offer a nice library of gift cards to choose from I’ll likely continue to use this in the future than go to the credit union (where I have to wait in line and then stand there like an idiot while they slooooooowly tally the coins.)  Plus I rarely visit my credit union anyway, so this kinda works out perfectly.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a few niceties I’d like to buy off of Amazon.com now…

Oh and if you have a moment check out my Coinstar Google+ album and share.  Thanks for reading!

Author: Frank

One man journeys through history and the world in an epic search for truth, justice... and great pizza.

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