Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Where Does The Money Go?

It's a wet Tuesday afternoon and I'm in Aylesbury waiting for a bus to Oxford. I arrived at the bus station just in time to see an Oxford bus departing, which means I now have half an hour to kill. I've decided to spend the time wandering around the nearby Friars Square shopping centre, in search of a cheap energy drink.

The shopping centre is not particularly upmarket, but not run down either, just the usual mix of chain stores and cafes and walkways and escalators.

The only oddity is the water fountain on the first floor, spattering quietly away to itself. People have been throwing coins into the shallow pool around it. I can't see anything bigger than a ten pence piece, but nonetheless there must be at least ten pounds in small change in there.

The bottom of the pool is also marked with countless small brown rings where coins must have lain for some time before being removed. Who takes them out again? How brazen (or desperate) would you have to be?

Maybe the owners of the shopping centre empty it out occasionally and do something worthwhile with the money, or maybe the staff at the nearest off-licence find themselves occasionally having to deal with a customer wanting to buy a bottle of their cheapest cider with a heavy handful of dripping wet change?