Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Love Song of J. Annie Prufrock

I have measured out my life in quarters.

Coffee spoons, quarters, same thing. I sometimes feel as if my every business interaction takes place with an eye towards the procuration of quarters. You see, there is a laundry room in my building (amazing in the winter, as I hate the cold), but unlike the laundry rooms at college, it takes neither the college id card, nor a special laundry card. No, no. For the first time since CTY I have had to collect quarters.

The thing is, I always feel guilty about it. My life is busy, but not so busy that I can't make it to the bank occasionally. The closest branch of my bank (with actual tellers, not just atm's) is about a half mile from my house. A long, cold, half-mile. So I could do that, or, every morning when I buy my cup of coffee (which I hate, but the combination of cold, and tired has overcome me) I give $2.00, for a $1.25 cup of coffee. I usually have a quarter on me, but I don't use it, in my quest for enough money to do laundry.

This is not my guy

I'm starting to feel kind of like an ass. Mostly because I buy my coffee from a guy in a cart, and he has a limited amount of change. So I am taking up his change because I am too lazy/cold to go to the bank. The question is, am I just being an inconsiderate ass, or is it truly unethical for me to take his change when I don't need it?

10 comments:

Liberal Jew said...

I am pretty sure the guy doesn't care if you give him quarters or dollars, as long as it has a President on one side, it counts all the same.

So for my "money" you are not an ass.

Dina said...

Annie,

I also have a quarter problem (and have since I went to a smaller college up the road that didn't deduct from our student ids). In my laundramat (I can't even begin to tell youmy jelousy that you have one in you BUILDING with an ELEVATOR), we have a change machine. It is lovely. But for a long time in college I collected quaters. I had an altoid tin that still, years later, mysteriously smells of mint, filled with quaters.

My theory: Don't feel too bad. And if you do, go to a Starbucks, Dagostinos, or other soul-sucking large empire and get $1 in quaters when you get grocieries, expensive coffees, etc. I do that sometimes. And it's less rude than from a cart guy

dash said...

You have surely struck on one of the greatest ills facing society. I fear that until ATMs offer rolls of quarters as a withdrawal option, scads of our country's youth will push their laundry cycles to the breaking point for want of a quarter. I more than sympathize with your plight. Keep fighting the good fight!

JT said...

For some reason I accumulate quarters. On my dresser, under my bed, etc. Every few months I have to take a giant bag of it down to change into "real money" at Commerce Bank. I dont know where they come from. Maybe the quarter gnomes take from you and bring to me. Not that it does me any good. My laundy machines take cards, and of course I always have trouble finding mine...

Aunt L. said...

Your coffee cart guy is in business. He DOES go to the bank regularly, if only to deposit his earnings. People in business expect to make change, a lot of change. You are not imposing on him, and buying from Starbucks instead of him just because of the quarters means depriving an independent businessman of his livelihood out of a mistake desire to spare him inconvenience. He'd rather have your business, and being convenient for customers is part of being in business.

sh said...

This is a plight I am all too familiar with. My building has the same type of quarter eating machines. I try to be proactive and once in a while when I pass my bank get a $10 roll of quarters. However, I don't always remember. At that point anything is fair game in my pursuit of quarters. I will tip a cabbie an extra 25 or 50 cents so that he will have to give me change (this has failed recently when the cabbies only have change in dimes and nickels). I'll go shopping and work out the way I can get the most quarters and sometimes I will go to a random store and just ask for change. Quarters are a hot commodity and can be worth so much more than just 25 cents.

Amishav said...

I'm sure he starts each day with a bank of change to give out. Now if you gave him a 50, you might be considered an ass... but the small change you're giving him. I'm sure he expects it.

Annie said...

Liberal Jew, Aunt L,SH, and Dina- basically, I should feel less guilty about giving him bills. Although he is much less snarky then I find people at Starbucks to be, costs FAR less ($1.25 for a giant cup of coffee), and knows exactly what I want. Also he is clearly a new-ish Russian immigrant, and I am all about social mobility.

Dash- yeah, basically it sucks, I am out of stockings, so I have taken to wearing floor-length skirts with leggings underneath. I look either frum, or like a fashion victim, depending on your perspective.

JT- we should trade. Seriously. Although you live almost as far from me as the bank.

Dina said...

I'd like to clarify my statemnt. IF you go to S-bucks, or another soul-sucking establishment that doesn't need business, and you're buying something you want/need (not an overpriced cup of needed coffee when the cart is just as good), ask for a dollar in quaters, in addition to your change. I used to do that at the bodega in college.

Esther Kustanowitz said...

I just want to say, nice invocation of Eliot.