Penny Pincher

Has our culture lost all sense of value? I believe it has. A recent experience affirmed this to me. Stand by for epic rant.

After a hard day of work, the last thing I want to do is go home and cook a meal. After 8 months of pregnancy and a hard day of work- the last thing my wife wants to do is cook a meal. Enter Costco food court.

My wife and I are regular patrons of Costco- their food court makes a great pizza that’s not only bigger and better tasting than Papa Murphy’s- it’s only $10.89 after tax. Costco serves up a sweet deal for a great- already cooked pizza.

I stand in line and chat with a gal in front of me- she’s a pediatric nurse. I reach the front of the line. The total is $10.89, as usual. Since they only take cash or check I hand over a crisp $20. My piping hot box of deliciousness is handed over the counter to me, along with my change- nine dollars and a dime.

Now I’m no math whiz- but I can pretty easily figure in my head that 20 minus 10.89 is 9.11. Something’s wrong here- where’s my penny? As I stare down at my handful of less-than-adequate change- the cashier doesn’t miss a beat and looks past me to the next customer.

I look up from my change- she must have sensed my confusion.

“I don’t have a penny,” says the cashier- almost in a sense of disgust that I hadn’t left yet.

“Okkk…,” I say…not really sure what to say…this is akward.

“Did you want your penny?” she says- again with a tone of impatient annoyance.

“Uhh- yeah…I do.”  I’m really starting to get pissed at this point- I would have long been out the door had she not assumed that I had as little concern over my finances- as she did.

“Well…you’re gonna have to wait while I get one from another register. Do you want to wait for a penny?”

Now I’m about to lose it, but I try to keep my cool- “Yes, I want to wait for my penny.”

Is that such a novel concept…I want to wait for a penny- would it be weird if I wanted to wait for a nickel? How about a dime, a quarter, a dollar? Just because a penny is at the bottom of the money-chain…it still has value- pennies add up to dollars (the last time I checked.)

I was almost shamed into walking off without what was rightfully mine- especially since I was wearing scrubs. She was probably thinking that I was some, rich, money grubber. Wrong! I’m a young, poor, husband, and soon-to-be father- trying to do all that I can to provide for my new family. I know money is important to security- so I don’t waste it.

If a few more of my peers could get on board with me- working hard, being thrifty, and appreciating what you’ve got- this country could get back on the right track. Don’t leave your change at the Costco counter and then demand that the government pay off all your debts.

In the end, I was glad I waited…it affirmed my own sense of thrift and value. Also, it was the shiniest penny I’ve seen it a long time!

Rant finished. Tomorrow will be a “normal post.” Thanks for bearing with me. Stay tuned for an upcoming series- profiling the different jobs of the emergency room.

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