This is an absolutely true story. This happened to me in February.
With a $20 bill clutched in my hand, I tried to enter the Muni station at Embarcadero. My money was no good.
I asked the station agent behind the glass how I could catch a train. She told me to drop $1.50 in coins into the turnstile. I thought for a moment, searching my mind’s wallet. I dug through my leather wallet and pulled out a crisp ATM yuppie food stamp. A sullen expression fell across her face. She was obviously troubled by her predicament. And I could tell she knew it wouldn’t end well.
She shook her head “No”, pointed and told me through the glass, “Go over there and press ‘H’ and you can change for a ONE dollar bill.” Go where? H? But I don’t have a… her eyes pierced me with sadness. She felt my pain. She knew.
We broke eye contact and I turned to face my task.
Ok let me just cut to the chase here. Muni has no way to make change. The BART machines she was pointing me to don’t let me make change for a $20 without me buying a BART ticket. So I ended up having to buy a $3.00 BART ticket to get change for the other machine, which could give me quarters for change.