I took both the jar of pennies and the repurposed butter container where I keep the dimes and nickels I accumulate. Yes, I have a plan for my change. (Quarters I keep in my wallet. There. That's more of the plan.) It's satisfying, dumping a bunch of coins into the CoinStar, which then makes pachinko noises as it sorts, and the screen tells you how many coins you've dumped in and how much money you'll be getting back**...
Which, it turned out, was fewer pennies than last time.
Last time, I'd put just over a thousand pennies in the jar. This time? 866. Then I remembered: the time previous to the thousand-plus pennies, I'd turned in the pennies and it had turned out to be about 650 or so pennies.
Same jar. So the variable: just the way the pennies fall in, and land on each other and fill the space. There's gonna be tiny bits of air between some of them. So maybe every once in awhile I could shake the jar, maybe make the pennies settle in closer to each other.
This could be a whole Mythbusters thing. What range of pennies will fit in this jar? Get a thousand (carefully counted) pennies and have someone drop them one at a time into the jar; maybe build a machine (a robot? A robot!) to drop them in one at a time; maybe make A PENNY GUN TO SHOOT THEM INTO THE JAR. Maybe break the jar. Maybe explode it. The Mythbusters people like explosions.
Anyway. I thought I'd get 1000-plus pennies and this time I didn't, but with the dimes and nickels I got back $27.80. I've already spent a bit of it: getting soup mix and bulk Swedish Fish at WinCo (noticing that the self-checkout machine referred to them as "Nordic fish," and now I wish they'd spelled that with an ø), then treating myself (after a bus ride south) to doughnuts and iced coffee at the Happy Valley, Oregon Krispy Kreme. Those coins have already been useful!
* Yes, I know she was singing about checks. Shut up.
** Or donating to charity, which is an option on CoinStar, but I wanted pocket money.