A few weeks ago, I received six half-dollar coins in change. Since then, I’ve spent five* of them at counter-service fast food restaurants, and every single one has managed to confuse the clerks handling them. I suppose it’s understandable: fifty-cent pieces aren’t exactly in wide circulation, though I remember seeing them somewhat regularly when I was growing up in the 1980s.

Wendy’s – Clerk turned it over, examining it for several seconds, before she finally entered it as fifty cents.
Wasabi – Clerk peered at it for a few seconds, then asked, “This is a dollar, right?” I corrected him.
Wahoo’s – Clerk turned it over for a few seconds, then finally asked me how much it was worth.

(Weird: I can only remember three of them, but all three start with W!)

All of them took the coins without argument, though, unlike the classic story of the Taco Bell that refused to accept a two-dollar bill. What really surprised me were the two clerks who weren’t able to figure out how much it was worth on their own. It says “Half Dollar” right there on the coin. I guess all those collectible dollar coins and quarters are, in fact, confusing people.

*I left the sixth as part of a tip, along with two quarters and the appropriate number of dollar bills.

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