The Tuesday Muse – Pictures In Your Wallet

It is Tuesday isn’t it?

I believe it is.

Today, the subject of the Muse of Tues is wallets and what one keeps in them. I work, depressingly, in a sandwich shop in town, which means we feed what feels like the population of Bath on a daily basis, and I see a hell of a lot of wallets. Some are fancy, some are sparkly, some jangle (fucking annoying), so are far too big for the required purpose, some are far too small, some have elastic straps, some have zips and some have buttons. But what interests me is what people put in there. surely the main purpose behind a wallet (or “bill fold”, if you’re in America) is the hold money, and things that give you money. Like credit and debit cards and so on. Also, it’s quite a useful place to store your non-paper driver’s license, which can also double up as ID. Do we really need anything else?

Essentially, no.

So, why do people fill their wallets with all the oddities I’ve seen? One customer poured his change out onto the counter one time (I made him), and within this coin pile was a triangular one: which obviously requires the question “where on EARTH did you get that one from?” On holiday, was the answer. I thought possibly he’d just come back and not had time to change the foreign money over properly. But five months on, the coin is still there. Is this pointless? I think so. It’s a rather fancy-looking coin, but is it just in there for a talking point? It can’t hold any monetary value over here, so maybe it’s just a reminded of a fantastic holiday? Who knows.

I have another customer who never accepts any change smaller than a 50 pence piece, as he doesn’t have a change compartment in his wallet. I’ve given him a free sandwich before as the spare change mounted up to so much. Probably should do that again soon, it’s been a while. I think he told me to keep it as beer money or something.

In another customer’s wallet (or purse, it was a female) today, there was a sonogram picture (should I call this an ultrasound image?), which I have to say, I’ve never seen before. But thinking about it, it’s kind of the best picture to put in there: you have yet to meet this child, so for about 8-9 months, there’s going to be excited apprehension and nervousness every time you see this picture. I don’t think it was the customer’s own personal scan, which is possibly why it’s a little creepy, but it was rather a nice idea.


Absolutely disgusting, no? Note the plastic window to display things



Other pictures usually include what I presume to be the other half of the customer I am serving, which I’ve always found a little bizarre. Obviously it’s a touching idea and that, and I suppose makes the wallet that’s been mass-produced for everyone a little more personal, but shouldn’t a wallet be for money and cards? Plus, if you see this face most days anyway, why dull the excitement of seeing it in the evening after a long day, if you can see it all the time anyway? That said, does it make me sound emotional dead to say all this? Sometimes it feels so, as I have no pictures in my wallet. My wallet is a felt watermelon that I bought in a German Christmas market along the Thames, and there is no space for pictures and no plastic window to display them in.

Some people keep pictures of their children in there too, which is another odd one. From what I hear, people complain about them so much, why do they want to be reminded of them? Plus, is it really likely, that in the 8 or 9 hours that you are at work, you’re going to forget about them? But then, are these photos actually used in a new colleague scenario – “Oh yes, I have a wife and kids, here they are” sort of way? Do they serve a genuine purpose? I would like to know, as I feel society seems to say “stick some pictures of loved ones in your wallet, you’re a little soulless otherwise”


One Response

  1. “My wallet is a felt watermelon that I bought in a German christmas market along the Thames”

    The best sentence I’ve read all day.

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