These days, I really don't play coin-operated video games anymore, but my need for quarters still exists. Only nowadays, I need quarters for a far more basic need: to do my laundry using the coin-operated units in my apartment complex. But getting quarters nowadays is much more of a challenge than it was back then:
- Video arcades certainly aren't much of an option these days. Not only is the video game arcade almost extinct, but the few places that do still exist tend to convert money into tokens rather than quarters (the better to ensure that the arcade can keep all that money!).
- Since ATMs don't dispense quarters, getting quarters from one's bank requires actually going to a teller during regular banking hours. Not only are these hours often too restrictive to work into one's schedule if you have a full-time job, but banks are increasingly discouraging customers from using their human employees for business by creating rules on accounts charging fees (or otherwise withdrawing incentives) unless the customer limits their bank interactions to using ATMs or going online.
- Laundromats often still have machines that change paper currency to quarters, but most have signs intended to intimidate people from using them unless the quarters are to be used on their machines. And, increasingly, these machines actually charge to perform the conversion (say, if you give the machine $5, you'll only get $4.75 in quarters back).
Anyone who can afford (or, in the case of many renters, is allowed) to get their own laundry equipment almost certainly does so, rather than put up with the struggles connected to using coin-operated machines. And, of course, this is just another way in which those who have less money ultimately have to pay more to utilize an already-tedious situation than those who have more money to start with, as it costs a lot less money to do laundry within one's home. Sure, there are electrical and water bills, and occasional repairs to be made, but those are more than covered by the quarters pumped into the machines at our apartments and laundromats. And, of course, having one's own machine gives more control over what type of machine is used, and by getting an energy-efficient machine, one can save even more money!
As I indicated earlier, whether due to rental agreements, or current lack of funds, or whatever, getting our own laundry machines isn't an option for many. If we're going to be stuck with this situation, the least our landlords could do is provide convenient access to quarters on-site!