Change is Good

Talk about a topic that lends itself to all kinds of cheesy post titles!

The company behind those change machines, Coinstar, has partnered with Starbucks to begin converting change into Starbucks cards in lieu of cash. This is a very clever idea. While I am always someone who would take the cash that could spent anywhere as opposed to value on a card valid at only one retailer, the incredible popularity of gift cards (a la Border’s, Home Depot, etc.) shows that not everyone shares my position. And, with over $2 billion in change passing through Coinstar machines last year, I suspect we will see a lot more co-marketing to come.

This reminds me, I have a big jar of change that when full (as it is now) generally yields $100 or so. Time for a Coinstar run myself. I remember when I was a kid, sitting on bedroom floor rolling my dad’s change in exchange for a few bucks when he cashed it in. Now I get to take my son and let him pour change into a machine. Probably more fun for him than all that rolling was for me, but one of these days I’m going to sit him on the floor with a big pile of change and those wrappers from the bank and let him at it – just for kicks.

link via Peter Davidson

UPDATE – In an email exchange with Peter he pointed out that a key element of the Coinstar/Starbucks deal is that customers opting for the Starbucks card get the full value of their change as opposed to otherwise being charged a service fee by Coinstar for cash back. This is a smart marketing move and does make it financially advantageous to opt for the card instead of cash.