Left over currency

Some of my friends hate cash. “It’s filthy.” “It allows crime.” “It’s annoying.”

This pandemic has not been kind to cash. There are lots of outlets that don’t want it these days. Places that just a year ago would have insisted “cash only please” are now insisting you pay with contactless. I don’t like it, not because I particularly like cash, but because I prefer cash to the alternative – to notcash. To a cashless society. I like people to have the option.

Obviously first it’s about the homeless and people who want to live off grid. Government can say that they’ll “solve” homelessness and that people shouldn’t live off grid. But that’s still narrowing our options. We might allow or even champion the phasing out of cash. But even if it doesn’t affect us very much, it shrinks the world around us, it limits options. And eventually we are affected, by which time it’s too late. The business of governance desires an easy populace. The fewer options a populace has, the easier we are to channel.

I’ve had my hands in a load of cash today, getting it out of my possession and making it digital. It’s a lifetime of spare change, spread now over three containers. Filthy filthy coins, not at all sorted, just jumbled together in various containers. I was repeatedly washing my hands as I sorted it all. I figured it would pay me a half decent hourly rate to turn it into PayPal money. Auditions seem thin on the ground at the moment despite the industry waking up. There’s something around the corner I’m sure. But for now I’ve been sorting old coins – it’s like a little journey through my past. Hong Kong dollars, Czech Krone, Thai Bhaat, Peruvian Soles, French Francs, Greek Drahme… The largest pile was Channel Island pennies – (not technically sterling although easy to fob off in bars). Then US dollars. Then Swiss Francs and Rappen. All still current, but now all bagged up and logged online. I also found tons of expired random currency from UAE and Bosnia and Macedonia and old strange textured 1950’s French Francs and all sorts of other unusual bits, some of them firing memories and others leaving me wondering how the hell they found their way to my flat when I’ve never been anywhere near the country they’re from. A hundred Leones, anyone? 25 Rhodesian Cents?

It’s all sorted now. I’ve logged all the expired currency, along with the Swiss Francs and the dollars and I’m posting it to leftovercurrency dot com where they give pennies on PayPal for stuff that has been out of circulation for ages, and they take the lot. I even chucked in a few coins I couldn’t identify. Last time I used them they adjusted my receipt by like £0.0076 for some shekels I didn’t bother logging. It doesn’t come to much. It’ll be just over £50. But for about two hours work that’s ok.

As for the British currency, I’m gonna take all the tins to the car and see if the banks will take it. If they refuse, I’ll end up pouring it into one of those cages where Sainsbury’s or ASDA or somesuch take ten percent and give you a receipt for store credit.

I’m starting to worry about money now you see. The antique sales have tailed off. I’ll need to get on set and do the thing I’m supposed to do before long. Something’ll show up. Somehow it always does. But for today, I’ve been a friend’s Uber driver for less than Uber. And on the way home I stopped for some chips at a kebab shop that was open. And they told me “cash only”.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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