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November 16, 2007
"Take a penny, leave a penny"

"Take a penny, leave a penny"

I can’t speak for you, certainly, but I’m convinced that clerks at some convenience stores are abusing the “take a penny, leave a penny” trays that sit next to the cash register. Just think about it… how many times have you walked into the Quik-Stop to buy a 12-pack of Bud LightTM and needed a penny to keep from breaking a twenty, only to find an empty “take a penny, leave a penny” tray? Then, as you dig that twenty out of your wallet, you look up into the deviously happy grin and dancing eyes of the nineteen-year-old high school dropout with the tattoos all over his neck and arms, who even now salivates at the prospect of giving you change for your twenty, being sure to ask you if you mind if he leaves the pennies in the “take a penny, leave a penny” tray.

Then it occurs to you… if he waits until you walk out, picks up those three pennies and slips them into his pocket, he’s well on his way to retirement at an early age. Think about it, if he collects three cents from 50 customers a day, he’ll earn enough in two months to fund a $100 T-Bill or buy an eight ball of crack! 

I figure that I’ve been buying 12-packs of Bud LightTM every day now for the last forty years. If I’d bought them all at Seven-Eleven, and that same clerk had grown up with me, I’d have supplemented his income to the tune of $438. If fifty other customers had contributed to his little slush fund in the same way and he’d invested the skimmings in T-Bills at 3% simple interest, he’d have over $40,000 right now! Or he’d have a $200/day crack habit that would force him to spend his off-work time breaking into my garage and stealing my Dremel®, miter saw and invaluable box of Slim Whitman records.

Folks, the moral of the story is very clear. Don’t fall into the trap of enabling that poor unfortunate manning the cash register… eschew the “take a penny, leave a penny” tray. It’s pure evil.  

posted by Bob Church at 09:17 AM | in:
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