995: Coinstar

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 07:03, 15 October 2013 by (Talk)

Jump to: navigation, search
Plus they take like 9%.
Title text: Plus they take like 9%.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: explain is chaos, title text ismissing
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This comic combines the holiday tradition of giving out and consuming chocolate coins, which are chocolate formed in the shape of coins with foil wrappers and the Coinstar vending machines that you see frequently in Grocery stores and shopping malls around the US. The Coinstar machines take all your coins, sort and count them and then give you the amount of money in paper currency (less 9 or 10% as it says in the title text - but if you get the Amazon gift card, you can keep the whole proceeds.)

These machines work by vibrating a box with a series of slots along one side, which each correspond to the sizes of standard United States coins. The vibrations move the coins along the different slots, where they're then fed into a chamber with a counterweight that's balanced to the appropriate weight of the appropriate coin. Coins of the right size but wrong weight (such as similarly sized coins of different currencies) are then dropped back out into a reject chute which drops the coin into a return cup where it can be retrieved by the customer. Coins that do not fit the standard sizes also get rejected this same way. There are also various anti-theft methods which prevents coins from being counted and then retrieved. Coins that meet the criteria are funneled through to separate chutes where they are deposited into internal repositories and are counted towards the total.

The joke is that the chocolate coin damages the machine. From the sounds the Coinstar machine is making, it sounds as though the initial vibrating tabulator is getting fouled, though it may be that the coins are getting caught in the reject chute or are fouling the scales. In any case, the antitheft system is being triggered, causing the machine to shut down (preventing false totals from registering) and an alarm to sound.


[A mischievous, curious person empties a small bag into a whrrring machine.]
[Machine makes progressively less happy *kachunk*, *tshhhh*, *clickclickclick* and *grind* noises.]
[Machine pops, then beeps in a tone of utter defeat.]
Holiday tip: Coinstar does not handle chocolate coins well.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


To me as electrical engineer it's a lesson that no technology is perfect, but we are working on it. Chocolate coin proof coin-star machines are just around the corner. - e-inspired 15:36, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

That's a special contribution from an expert with no sense of direction. I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 06:59, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Candies do have monetary value. You buy them. 09:25, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Could enough coins be exchaged for a bunny? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Yes, if you melted them and poured the melted chocolate into a mold...

Has anyone actually tested whether chocolate coins will break Coinstar machines? I'll try it when I'm an adult. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I had the feeling that the machine opened and ate the chocolate coin ... (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?