When a big purchase is just pocket change for some, most people wouldn’t think of the literal meaning of the phrase.
One woman bought a new car using mostly coins—the money she earned as a food vendor. The employees at the car dealership in Hebei Province, China had to spend three days counting all the coins, according to Chinese online-news outlet Pear Videos.
The woman bought the car for a total of 190,000 yuan ($27,500). She used more than 130,000 coins, each worth one yuan ($0.14), to make the purchase.
The dealership did not disclose the customer’s identity.
Cold Hard Cash for a Car
Footage recorded by smartphone users in the car dealership show piles of coins on the floor, with employees sorting and rolling them with pieces of paper.
An unidentified employee, whose hands were blackened by handling the coins, told Pear Videos about the customer’s purchase and background.
“She wanted a Passat, the price was about 190,000 yuan and 130,000 of it was coins,” the employee told Pear Videos. “The remaining money was transferred to us. The customer sells food.”
The one yuan coin is used very similarly to one dollar in the United States.
The employee described the customer’s difficulty in buying a car with so many coins. “This customer went to many other dealerships, asking if they would accept the coins [as payment],” he told Pear Videos.
Even the banks were reluctant to help. “She also went to banks asking if she could change the coins into cash or deposit them,” he said.
“The customer was really anxious to buy a car, so we said we’d accept that form of payment,” the employee told Pear Videos. “We counted 10,000 coins on the first day, and 50,000 on the second day.”
The employee said that the manager even requested extra workers to count and sort the coins. It took three days to complete the daunting task.