July 18th, 2012

tree_face

At the Guild of Geld

I'm planning to visit a friend in Cardiff today. Accordingly, when I was in the bank yesterday, I asked the teller to change a ten-pound note for ten pound coins, because it's quicker to cross the Severn Bridge when you have the exact money for the toll, and the machine there only takes coins. I've done that kind of thing with no problem, on the odd occasion I've needed change, for the last thirty years. She eventually gave me three pound coins, a two-pound coin, and a five-pound note, but even that she did with reluctance, telling me that they weren't really allowed to give change and that if I wanted cash I should use the machine outside.

"But that doesn't dispense coins, which is what the toll machine demands. And ditto parking meters, the Clifton Suspension bridge toll, etc. How am I meant to get coins for these purposes, if not from my bank?"

"You could spend money and use the change," she suggested.

It seemed to me there was more than one flaw in that argument, but rather than argue the coin toss I left. But now I'm wondering: has anyone else ever tried and failed to get their bank (or any bank) to change money?