Saturday, November 13, 2004

We've wasted 1260 yen

You might know about the big earthquake in Niigata, Japan. Still now a lot of people have lost their homes and are having hard days. People in the other areas want to help them in some ways, and many of them raise money to send them.

Students and teachers in my school also wanted to support people in Niigata and collected more than 100,000 yen. There were several possible ways to send the money: we could send it directly to the local government, we could send it to the Red Cross, we could ask TV or newspaper company to send it. Teachers decided to choose a newspaper company as the sender for us, because they (or 'we' because I am included, too) hoped that the company would publish a list of money-raisers, and that that would increase our school's publicity. We also decided to visit the company and hand the money directly to them, because by doing so they might write some article about the campaign of our school. We were so greedy...

I called the company and told them that we wanted to bring the money to them. They said yes, but they wanted to take the money by bills, not coins. They asked us to exchange our coins for bills at a bank. When I told this to other teachers, they were a little worried about being charged for the exchange. They suggested that I should make efforts not to pay the charge, by emphasizing how important the sending of the money is.

I went to a bank. I told a clerk that I wanted to bring the money to a newspaper company, that the company did not want to receive it by coins, that I wanted to exchange it for bills without being charged. The clerk seemed a little bewildered, told me to wait a moment, and went to her boss. I saw the boss frown when he heard it. He then went to his boss, maybe the manager. The manager told him something, and he came to me with an unhappy face. He said to me, "I fully understand what this money is for and why you don't want to be charged. But, sorry to say, a rule is a rule, and we cannot cut the charge. I'm sorry." I asked him if there would be other ways to reduce the charge, but he said there would be nothing. I asked him what the charge would be. He said that exchanging 2000 coins would cost 630 yen and I would have to pay more if it exceeded it. I unwillingly said OK and handed the pile of coins to him.

The coins were counted by a machine, and the number exceeded 2000 as I could easily imagine. The man said the charge for it would be 1260 yen. 1260 yen... That much! It is more than 10 dallars in US currency!

I paid for it, when an idea hit on me. I said to the man, "I have a deposit in this bank. What if I had put the money into my own deposit and had withdrawn the same amount of money afterward?" The man told me that in that case nothing would have been charged. "OK, then change it in that way!" I asked. The man just said to me, "Sorry, too late."

What an idiot I was!