Coins in the bill slot

I guess I should explain what ‘Coins in the bill slot’ means. While I was in high school in Salisbury, Maryland I worked at Chesapeake Nurseries with two of my brothers during the summers. It was incredibly manual and back breaking labor. We took cuttings off hundreds of varieties of landscaping plants. There were acres and acres of endless rows of greenhouses. And if you’re at all familiar with summertime in Maryland, you’ll know how hot and muggy it gets. We were out there every day for 8 hours, hunched over, strategically taking these cuttings so as to not butcher the plant, but at the same time move quickly to make good money. I guess I won’t be surprised if skin cancer or back problens ever show up, but man, you could make so much more money than working at Burger King (trust me…and Jamen).

The majority of workers at Chesapeake Nurseries were migrant workers from Mexico, Central America, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Some of them were brand new to America and didn’t speak any english while some were even new to modern day advances like vending machines.

One particular day, during lunch, where everyone rested and ate were a few new workers. One lady went up to the vending machine to purchase a cold soda. She wasn’t quite sure what to do and finally recognized the half image of a dollar bill with a slot above it for bills to be inserted. She then attempts to jam her quarters in the slot. Her friends come to her rescue and yell at her to put the quarters in the other slot. With a smile on her face the whole time, she tries again to shove them into the bill slot with no luck. Finally someone gets up and shows her. She makes her purchase and sits back down at her table. All the while my brothers and I watch as “Coins in the Bill Slot” (the name she was given, since we never knew her real name) put coins in the bill slot. I felt bad for her and I’ve thought of the ‘Coins in the Bill Slot’  model and wondered how I can apply it to my own life.

The following drawing has nothing to do with her, except her name.


Drawn on the chipboard backing of a used up pad of paper.


4 Responses to “Coins in the bill slot”

  1. 1 jimlinkamp
    January 26, 2009 at 6:30 am

    Why have I never heard that story?

  2. 2 Cory Long
    January 26, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Yeah, yeah, me too, how come? Like the drawing by the way. You and Linds have so the same style.

  3. 3 naimi
    January 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Yeah, that’s a good story. Her name is the best part. I can still see her putting those coins into the bill slot. I remember thinking it was funny because as much as we laughed about it, none of her friends really even cracked a smile. Remember when we were working with Miguel and a bunch of the other guys, and they were driving us around the greenhouses on the front of the forklift? Or when they didn’t have a jack to change the tire on the truck, so they tried to lift it with the forklift?

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January 2009
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