Jeff Bezos wants your spare change. Amazon.com
has teamed up with Coinstar, the folks who put those machines in
supermarkets everywhere and try to get you to dump your change into
them in return for cash (for which they take an 8.9% fee). So, now,
instead of being handed a receipt you can redeem at the grocery store
register, you'll get a code you can use at Amazon.com.
Apparently, if you get your coins redeem in Amazon dollars, Coinstar
won't charge you the 8.9% — which makes you wonder what Coinstar is
getting out of the deal. Either way, it's an interesting way for Bezos
and crew to try to get you to empty your piggy bank directly into the
Amazon bank account.
I've been arguing for years that Wal-mart should get in the
coin-redemption business, and just offer a redeemable-only-at-Wal-mart
gift card in exchnage for 100% of the coins' value. The cost of the
service would be made up by the fact that the money was only spent at
Wal-Mart. Apparently, Bezos and I think alike. Smart money says Amazon
is fronting the 8.9% to Coinstar, knowing that the added influx of
committed buyers is worth the cost.