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Don’t Nickel and Dime Us. Listen Today to Reduce Stress at the Checkout Counter

Announcer: This is an All Ears English podcast Episode 1022: “Don’t Nickel and Dime Us. Listen Today to Reduce Stress at the Checkout Counter” [Instrumental]

Announcer: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, downloaded more than 50 million times. We believe in Connection NOT Perfection ™, with your American hosts Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’, and Michelle Kaplan, the ‘New York Radio Girl,’ coming to you from Boston and New York City, U.S.A.

[Instrumental]

Announcer: And to get your transcripts delivered by email every week, go to AllEarsEnglish.com/subscribe.

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Announcer: Do you ever get stuck in line when you’re paying for something, trying to figure out how much a dime or a nickel is worth? Today, get your ultimate guide to American coins to avoid a panic moment when you’re buying something in English.

[Instrumental]

Michelle: Hey (hi) Lindsay, how’s it going?

Lindsay: Hey (hi) Michelle, really good. We just came off of the Urban Immersion Adventure in Boston and I am feeling happy. Like, we completed it. Our listeners were, our students there were amazing. They put all of their heart into the activities and it was just good.

Michelle: That’s great, that’s great. Ohh my gosh, I bet it was so much fun, I love the Boston Adventure. Like, I had so much fun last year when I went to Boston, and this year I got to do New York. Yeah (yes), something really fun in Boston, though. That’s great.

Lindsay: Yeah (yes), so cool, so cool. So, what are we getting into today?

Michelle: Well, I have a question for you.

Lindsay: Okay.

Michelle: So, do you, like, when you travel abroad, do you ever have trouble figuring out money? Like, what coins are what and the bills and things like that?

Lindsay: Y

Michelle: Yeah (yes), yeah (yes), yeah (yes). So, that was funny. But I feel like the subway, the train lines, are, like, pretty easy, but it’s just, like, the coins, that we just threw them in. Like, throw caution to the wind, whatever ticket we get.

Lindsay: The train lines are pretty easy if you have a map in, like, English. I mean, if the map is readable, but if it’s all in Kanji, it’s really confusing. It’s crazy in Tokyo. But I would say the transportation is excellent in Tokyo.

Michelle: And also, they’re very helpful. Like, you can just go and say, like, you want to go somewhere and they just say the number. Like, I feel like in New York they’re not as helpful.

Lindsay: Ohh yeah (yes), they kind of yell at you in New York.

Michelle: Or there’s no one there, like, yeah (yes), exactly. So, anyway, I digressed.

My love for Japan is… You know. But yeah (yes), I’ve had students come up to me asking about coins and, you know, what these coins mean, and that they find it a little confusing and I can totally understand that. And it’s not something that I often think about, but it’s really important. And it doesn’t really matter the level of English, you know? It has nothing to do with that. It’s just that, you know, figuring out these differences. Right?

Lindsay: Yeah (yes). And this is part of feeling good in a new country, right? If you guys are living in the U.S., or you’re going to travel here, you want to have a good experience. So, you want to take a minute to listen to this episode to prepare so that you know. Because it’s true. Like, when you’re standing there at the register there’s a bit of time pressure, right?

Michelle: Yeah (yes).

Lindsay: And you have to keep moving. Especially in big cities like Boston and New York, people might get a little impatient.

Michelle: Right.

Lindsay: So yeah (yes), we want to make sure we’re ready.

Michelle: Right. The reason I think it gets confusing is one of my students was, like, “Wait, so this coin is bigger than this coin, but it’s less value.” So, with the U.S. coins, the value of the coin doesn’t necessarily correlate with the size of the coin.

Lindsay: Yeah (yes), I remember thinking that as a kid when I learned how much a nickel was worth, how much dime was worth, I was confused. I was, like, “A nickel should be worth more than a dime because it’s, like, twice the size or it’s bigger.” You know?

Michelle: Right, right, exactly. So, that’s what we’re going to talk about today, guys, because we have a listener question. But before we do that we want to thank our app reviewers.

Lindsay: Yes, we have a lot of new listeners inside the app, guys. If you have iOS, if you have an Apple phone, for example, you can now listen to the podcast inside our app. And soon we’re going to have some very cool features coming, and I want to say thank you, a special thank you, to people who reviewed us in the iOS App Store. So, thank you, AS Biglova on August 20th from Russia, ___ from the U.S., Now or Never from Saudi Arabia, someone from China, let’s see who else, ____ from Germany, Irena from Japan. Guys, awesome reviews. Michelle, these are five-star reviews. These are amazing.

Michelle: Ohh my gosh.

Lindsay: Amazing.

Michelle: Thank you so much.

Lindsay: Love it. And, Michelle, you just did a video, right?

Michelle: Yes.

Lindsay: That we put in the app, we’re featuring that this week. What was that video all about? Your little app video.

Michelle: Well, I went to the beach and I decided to do a video and I taught a specific phrase, a very specific regional phrase in the U.S. when it comes to 6

the beach. Yeah (yes), you’ll see it was a really pretty day that I was there.

I think that’s the only time I’ve been to the beach this summer.

Lindsay: Ohh no, Michelle. You missed the beach this summer. That’s okay.

Yeah (yes).

Michelle: Yeah (yes).

Lindsay: That was a fun little video, and actually it’s a very typical phrase that signals you’re from a certain area of the New York metropolitan area. So, you guys are going to have to check out the video to get it. So, go to AllEarsEnglish.com/bonuses to watch the video and you can now get the app if you have iOS. Okay, cool.

Michelle: Definitely. Okay, great. Okay. So, check that out. Alright. So, let’s get into it. So, we have a listener question about money in the U.S.

Lindsay: Yes.

Michelle: Lindsay, could you read the question for us?

Lindsay: Okay, here we go. So, “Hey, the app and the show are pretty amazing.

I’ve been listening to it for one year and four months, and what I love the most is that you girls show us the real English, far away from the outdated English of the textbooks.” Exactly, exactly. “And I’m going to make a question, of course. First time I’ve been in the U.S. in a drugstore the cashier asked me f

Lindsay: It’s worth the least amount of money. So, just one cent, nothing. What can you get for a penny nowadays, Michelle? Nothing.

Michelle: Yeah (yes). Really, nothing. Usually… It’s always annoying when something is, like, something and one cent or something.

Lindsay: Yeah (yes), yeah (yes), yeah (yes), yeah (yes). I don’t even carry change that much anymore. I don’t carry, like, coins, but then you always end up with a big coin jar in your house. Right? That’s typical.

Michelle: Right, right, right, right, that’s right. Yeah (yes). So, yeah (yes), but something interesting about this is that, is it the smallest coin, Lindsay?

Lindsay: I guess it’s not. It seems like the dime is smaller.

Michelle: Yeah (yes).

Lindsay: So, the penny is larger than the dime, but it’s worth less and we’re going to talk about the dime in just a minute, but yeah (yes), the penny.

Michelle: Yeah (yes), yeah (yes). So, this one is, like, copper. So, that’s how you can recognize it. And just a fun fact about the penny is that if they are, I don’t know if this is in other places around the world with other coins, but the penny here, if you find a penny and it’s heads up, with the face up, it’s considered lucky and a lot of people say, “I found a lucky penny.”

Lindsay: Ohh, okay, cool. I feel like we have a lot of fun little expressions with money. So, we’ll talk about those in a bit, but yeah (yes). Yeah (yes), so, it’s copper. So, it’s kind of a reddish, orange tone.

Michelle: Yeah (yes), reddish, brownish.

Lindsay: Yeah (yes), reddish brown. Exactly.

Michelle: So, that’s the penny. So, alright, so, here we go. And next is five cents, which is the what, Lindsay?

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Announcer: Guys, what are you doing this evening at 5 PM New York time or tomorrow at 8 PM New York time? There’s only one place that you want

to be, and that is with me and Jessica on our new live webinar. You’ll learn how to become a conversation magnet in 60 days, but grab your spot because the spots are filling up. Go to AllEarsEnglish.com/magnet. That’s AllEarsEnglish.com/MAGNET.

[Instrumental]

Lindsay: The nickel. The nickel is worth five cents and it’s kind of silver in color, but it’s bigger than the penny. And this is where I used to get confused. I always thought, for sure, when I was a kid, I was, like, “A nickel has to be worth the most. More than the dime.” but it’s not.

Michelle: Right. And I think this is where a lot of the confusion comes in. Because you would think, right, exactly. So, the dime. Okay. That is ten cents. So, it’s not, you know, this one is definitely more valuable than the penny and the nickel, but it’s the smallest coin.

Lindsay: Yeah (yes), and the lightest. It feels like it’s always the lightest. Right?

Michelle: Yeah (yes), yeah (yes). So, I don’t know. I wonder why.

Lindsay: I have no idea.

Michelle: I’m going to look into that coin trivia. Yeah (yes). But guys, it’s also silver.

So, that’s the dime. So, the other thing is that people… Ohh. I didn’t even talk about the quarter.

Lindsay: Ohh yeah (yes). Ohh my gosh, how could you? That’s the only one really worth anything. Right?

Michelle: Yeah (yes), really. I forgot about the quarter. Okay. So, the quarter is, that’s the easy one, though. Right? It’s also silver-colored and it is twentyfive cents, and it’s the largest.

Lindsay: Exactly, exactly.

Michelle: So, that makes sense.

Lindsay: A quarter. And I think George… Is George Washington on the quarter?

I’m actually looking at a quarter now. Yeah (yes). Am I right? Yes.

Michelle: Yes, George Washington, yeah (yes). Yeah (yes). So, there you have it.

Those are all the coins. But let’s talk a little bit more. So, the thing is that people, when you’re, like, at, you know, a cashier or you’re paying for something, or you’re talking to somebody about money, they might ask you for the value or the coin name. So, if someone asks you, like, Lindsay… Ohh wait. Hold on, let’s do it like a little bit of a quiz. So, like, “Hey, do you have ten cents?” So, what coin would you give?

Lindsay: So, a dime. I would give you a dime.

Michelle: Exactly. Okay. Or if somebody says, “Hey, can I borrow a penny?” What would you give them?

Lindsay: One cent. That would be worth one cent.

Michelle: Exactly. So, somebody might say, like, ten cents. I feel like people usually don’t say, “Can I have one cent?”

Lindsay: Yeah (yes), it would be a penny. But for the others it could be either. It could be, “Do you have twenty-five cents?” or, “Do you have a quarter?”

Michelle: Yeah (yes).

Lindsay: And in New York it would be, “Do you have a quarter?” Right? [laughter] Michelle: Right, right, right, exactly. So, just be prepared. Like, you should, like, know them, you know, you should be able to, in your sleep, know the difference. Like, just if you kind of get used to it so that if somebody says a dime, you know ten cents, or somebody has ten cents, you know, a dime.

Right?

Lindsay: Exactly.

Michelle: You know, then you’ll be prepared, like, when you’re in that grocery store line and you’re feeling the pressure. Right?

Lindsay: Yeah (yes). This episode is going to go in the ultimate review prep course for anyone on the plane over to the U.S., guys. If you are taking a vacation or you’re moving here, you’re coming here to visit family, this is what you want to review, for sure.

Michelle: That’s right. Right. And I want to remind our listeners of something. So, styles of coins change frequently. Like, you know, the picture might change slightly or something like that. So, I’ve had students show me two coins that they both have the same value, but they have a little bit different designs because they change. Right? They change over time.

So, my tip is just pay attention to the color and the size and don’t get distracted by the picture because it can change a little bit. Right, Lindsay?

It can.

Lindsay: Yeah (yes). And that’s true on… I haven’t seen coins change lately in my lifetime. Maybe they have, but certainly dollar bills, too, Michelle. You’re right. So, I think we can’t always count on the same person being on the dollar bill. Like, things change. Do you remember, I think one of the dollar bills changed recently. I think it was the $20 bill?

Michelle: I don’t think it’s changed yet, but I think it’s only going to.

Lindsay: Ohh, it’s going to? Ohh, got it, got it, okay, great.

Michelle: Well, maybe… Maybe you’re right.

Lindsay: I’m not sure. You’re right .

Michelle: See, that’s the thing. You just pay attention… Most people… I mean, I feel like the picture on the nickel has changed. Not the person necessarily, but, like, the actual, the photo.

Lindsay: Yes. I see what you mean, I see what you mean. Yeah (yes), yeah (yes), the presentation of it could change. For sure.

Michelle: I’m right, right? Or am I going crazy?

Lindsay: Yeah (yes). No, I think you’re right, I think you’re right. I mean, not every week, obviously.

Michelle: No, no, no, no, no.

Lindsay: But, you know, when they mint this money, where they make money, right, they called it the mint, right? In Washington D.C. Did you ever visit the mint?

Michelle: I don’t think I have. Did you?

Lindsay: On, like, a school trip. But you’re from that area, Michelle.

Michelle: Yeah (yes), I know. But that’s when you don’t go to the places.

Lindsay: Right, that’s right, exactly, exactly. Yeah (yes), where they print money. I think they do sometimes change, slightly change, the styles and the look, but the size won’t change, and the weight probably won’t change. That would be weird.

Michelle: Right, right. So, pay attention to… Yeah (yes), pay attention to that. So, don’t worry so much about exactly how it looks, the design, it’s still the same. Right? But before we go, Lindsay, I wanted to teach a couple of cool phrases because we’re talking about coins. Right?

Lindsay: Yeah (yes).

Michelle: We are going to just go through a couple today that are fun. So, what’s the first one, Lindsay?

Lindsay: So, when we talk about something that we do a lot, right, then we can say, “If I had a dime for every time I did the cleaning in this apartment, I’d be rich.” Right?

Michelle: Right.

Lindsay: And I personally, I tend to insert, like, anything, like, “If I had a dollar, if I had a quarter.” Right? I don’t know if it always has to be a dime.

Michelle: Right. So that’s why I put in, so it’s, “If I had a _____”, so chose your value.

Lindsay: Yeah (yes).

Michelle: Chose your own value. “For every time I _____” or “for every time something happened”. And then you usually, and then it’s completed with “I’d be rich”, except that people don’t always say that. Like, sometimes they just kind of, like, end it, like, “If I had a quarter for every time you asked me that question.” And just stop.

Lindsay: Right, right. That’s cool. We could do another episode, actually, on that style of not completing the phrase. You’re making a statement and you’re assuming that they understand the end. Really interesting. Yeah (yes), cool.

Michelle: Yeah (yes), yeah (yes), for sure, for sure. Okay. And then what’s next the next one, Lindsay?

Lindsay: Ohh, I love this one. Okay. There are some really cool expressions, actually, with this. I thought of a bonus one, maybe we can fit it in, but yeah (yes), this is a good one, “nickel and dime someone”. “Don’t nickel and dime me.” Right? To be kind of… Okay. So, here’s an example. “I don’t want to nickel and dime you, but I think you owe me $11.36 from the other day.” But you are nickel and diming me.

Michelle: Exactly.

Lindsay: So, what does this mean? Like, what am I doing to you if I’m nickeling and diming you?

Michelle: It’s like you’re being very, very specific about the money. Like, you know, you could just say, “You owe me $11.” or something like that. But, like, $11.36, that’s nickel and diming. Or, like, maybe if you are buying something, like, maybe… I don’t know, you’re working with a company and they’re being, like, very, very, very specific about the money, and it feels like they’re nickeling and diming you. Right?

Lindsay: Yeah (yes). Exactly, exactly. So, you know. Yeah (yes), or, like, a friend owes you money. We said that, right? So, you go out for dinner, your friends owes you money, and exactly the amount, you quote them instead of just saying, “Just leave it, you know, $11 is fine.” Right?

Michelle: Yeah (yes), yeah (yes), yeah (yes). And then we have a couple more. So, we have “a dime a dozen”. Right? Have you heard this one, Lindsay?

Lindsay: Yeah (yes), I used to be confused about what this meant, but I know now, but maybe, Michelle, you could explain it for our listeners?

Michelle: It basically means that it’s, like, nothing special, not unique because there are so many. So, like, the first thing I thought of was, “Restaurants are a dime a dozen in New York City, so it’s extremely competitive.”

Lindsay: Yeah (yes). So, they’re everywhere. Right?

Michelle: Exactly, exactly. And do you have another one, Lindsay, you wanted to add?

Lindsay: I do, but I’m trying to get my head around what this means. So, I love this phrase, “to be penny wise and pound foolish”. So, I just looked up the definition, it says, “To be careful and economical in small matters, but being wasteful or extravagant in large ones.” Right? Like, so, maybe you try to save 50 on your flight to the Bahamas, but by the time you get there you make a big mistake and you overspend by $500 at a dinner.

Right? For example.

Michelle: Yeah (yes), that’s fun. Well, not fun. It’s a good phrase.

Lindsay: “Penny wise and pound foolish.” I think if we had more time we could come up with some better examples, but I think that’s a really good one. It talks about the value of, like, let’s think about everything in a smart way, not just the little things to save money on, but the big things. You know?

Or trying to save, you know, trying to get a good, like, a better price, like, save money on, like, for example, I don’t know. We just bought a vacuum cleaner this week and I didn’t want to spend more than a certain amount of money, but actually, when it comes to vacuum cleaners, you have to spend a good amount of money, unfortunately, to get a good one. Instead, you end up buying a new one every six months because they break.

Michelle: Right, right, right.

Lindsay: That’s penny wise and pound foolish. I’m saving money by buying a cheaper vacuum, but then in December I’m going to buy another and then in June I’m going to buy another. Right ?

Michelle: Right, right, right, right, you don’t want to do that. Yeah (yes).

Lindsay: Yeah (yes).

Michelle: Buying vacuums all the time. So, okay, good one. So, yeah (yes). Guys, those are some extra phrases. So, Lindsay, what’s the takeaway for today?

Lindsay: Well, guys, this is a really good way to prepare to come to the U.S., whether you’re visiting, studying, visiting family, but just keep in mind when it comes to coins this can be a high stress situation. So, we’re preparing you. The value of coins doesn’t always correlate with the size.

Okay? So, that’s one common mistake that we make when we’re just learning this, and just pay attention. Like, learn these things before you come over so that you won’t feel that stress when you’re, you know, when people are behind you and rushing you. I’ve had that situation in foreign countries before, it’s not so fun.

Michelle: No. Yeah (yes). You know, there can be changes with the coins, so, just focus on the color and the size. Don’t worry about the year or things like that. Like, things change. Right? And, also, just realize that sometimes people say the name of the coin and sometimes they say the value. Be sure that you know them really well. So if somebody says, “Do you have a dime?” you know which one to get. Right?

Lindsay: Yeah (yes), I love that.

Michelle: And then the other thing is, like, I mean, I bet there are a million other American English idioms that you can learn about, you know, using coins and many.

Lindsay: So many.

Michelle: We can do another episode on that another time.

Lindsay: Yeah (yes), that would be fun, that’d be fun. Alright, this has been great.

Thanks for bringing up this uncommon, but important topic, Michelle.

Michelle: Yeah (yes), thank you to our listener, and yeah (yes), this was fun. Have a great day, Lindsay.

Lindsay: Alright, have a good one. Take care. Bye.

Michelle: Bye.

[Instrumental]

Announcer: Thanks so much for listening to All Ears English. And if you need a seven or higher on your IELTS exam to achieve your life vision, then our “Insider Method” can get you there. Start with our free video series master class.

Get video one now at AllEarsEnglish.com/INSIDER. And if you believe in Connection NOT Perfection ™, then subscribe to our show on your phone or on your computer. See you next time.

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