hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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August 22, 2013

A penny for your thoughts

You’ve heard it said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Well, that’s not the case anymore, not in this day and age when a red cent ain’t worth the holes in Swiss cheese. In fact, if you look closely enough, you’ll find these coppers strewn about places like a parking lot without anyone having the slightest notion of stooping down and retrieving them.

The reason why my youngest son has a few extra coins in his bank is because he won’t pass one by without taking action and has handed that notion down to his four children. Even the 2-year-old has enough “sense” to gather “cents” when opportunity permits.

The other day, I went to the paint store and fetched $19.99 in merchandise. The guy behind the counter said, “That just about takes care of that twenty dollar bill.”

He rang up the amount and neglected to give me back the penny change. I brought the oversight to his attention.

“Am I getting any change back?” I asked him.

“You’re right,” he replied. “I didn’t think you wanted the penny. Most people couldn’t care less.”

“Well, I’m not like most people, thank you.”

He took a copper coin out of the register and handed it over. I took the penny and inserted it into a tray he had on the counter. The sign made me smile.

“Give a penny. Take a penny.”

It was empty. My guess is that he took all the remnant coins in that dish and credited his own account. Well, it left me with an impression — a bad one at that. I found the whole act insolent. About the only thing that came out of it was the idea for this column, which isn’t a bad compromise.

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