A penny for your thoughts — about pennies

A penny for your thoughts — about pennies

I’ve been throwing my pocket change in a jar on my dresser since I was a kid. It’s a pretty painless way to save, but it also means you often don’t have the three cents you inevitably need when the coffee barista brings your double latte. Many convenience stores and small markets have a penny tray for your convenience, but not everyone.

Seth Godin writes about an acquaintence:

He stopped at the Cinnabon in Penn Station and his treat came to $3.03 with tax. Now, he has to hassle looking for change, or break a bill, and the store has to hassle with breaking the bill and shlepping lots of pennies to and from the bank. In the long run, they may even need to hire another clerk because productivity is hit.

Seth’s suggested solution:

“… they should teach their clerks to always round off the pennies. So if a check comes to $5.05, the clerk says, “don’t worry about the nickel.” Don’t worry about the nickel! Can you imagine? Would that make your day or what? A little free prize that makes you feel way better…”

Great idea, Seth. I think the state of Maine’s Turnpike Authority should do something similar on summer Sunday afternoons. It would conserve fuel, reduce air pollution and be great PR for the state — and for a greedy bureaucracy.

Every Sunday during the summer, thousands of cars slow to a crawl to pay their tolls when leaving Maine. Sometimes the backup is 10-15 miles long and lasts an hour or more. I’ve been saying for years the state ought to just waive the tolls and let the tourists leave without having to shell out another $1.75. Getting a little freebie like that would leave ’em smiling, and remembering the last moments of their vacation as very happy ones.

Instead, what do you think the Maine Turnpike Authority did?

Of course. They added more toll booths…

Tom McKay
Fumbling for change

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