Friday, February 04, 2005

Coinstar - Consumer Beware

I got an update today that told me about a great new feature they have at Coinstar kiosks. If you are not familiar with Coinstar, let me explain. They have kiosks in grocery stores all over the place and offer to save you time and trouble by sorting through your coins that have built up at home. It frees up your cash and your time! Coinstar counts coins at high speed. Up to 600 coins a minute. Coinstar then issues you a credit slip to give to the nearest cashier. She'll give you the dollar value of your coins. Wow such a deal. When you read the fine print maybe not such a good deal. Coinstar keeps 8.9 cents for every dollar in coin you drop in their machine. 8.9%?!?!?!? It's crazy.

Some of you may be saying to yourself it's worth it. However, you are probably the same people that check for coupons and deals in the local papers to save money. 8.9% is more than any Real Estate agent gets on a transaction. 8.9% is more than you'll ever pay in commissions to a stock broker, agent, car salesman or any other person that lives on commission. 8.9 cents for every dollar could easily be put in an emergency fund, school savings account, mad money account, humanitarian fund or any other worthy cause.

Back to their new great service! Now you can opt to do other things with your credit than just get cash. You can get a Starbucks gift card, pre-paid long distance card or pre-paid wireless connection card for your cash too. So that $2.70 venti hot chocolate from Starbucks just cost you $2.94!

Think about it. We all try to conserve money and spend it carefully. Well maybe not all of us, but plenty of us do. Let's not help make Coinstar successful at our own expense. Go buy yourself a little coin counter and wrap your own coins. You're worth 8.9%