He’s got two video lottery tickets to cash. One for a penny. The other for three cents. We don’t carry pennies in our till and Charlie insists that we always round down, no matter how close it is. I give him a nickel anyway. He is already going on and on about how every penny counts anyway.
“What I don’t understand,” he says, “is how people can just walk by change on the street and not stop to pick it up.” He shakes his head in disgust. “Why would someone do that?”
Maybe they’re tired, I think. Or their back hurts.
“Why would someone just walk by, and leave a perfectly good penny lying on the sidewalk?”
Maybe because it’s a freaking penny!
“I just don’t understand.”
“Look, you’re not going to believe this,” he says as he digs into his pocket and pulls out a handful of pennies and a nickel or two. “I picked all of this up off of the ground! Can you believe people just left it there? People actually dropped this money and then just left it there! And other people walked by and saw it and left it there too! But not me. No,” he says, this time with a smile on his face as he shakes his head at three times speed of before. “Not me. I always pick it up.” You would think this guy must be old. At least 50, 60 right? Snow white hair, a button up shirt, tweed jacket with the elbow patches. Except he’s 29, 30 tops, in a wife beater, baggy pants and a Kangol hat left over from the mid-90s. It’s the type of outfit only a guy who thinks he is super cool would wear. He’s counting his pennies into stacks. “Look at all of this!”
“Wow,” I say blandly, without trying too hard to hide the sarcasm from my voice. “You’ve probably got like 35 cents there.”
“I know right! It’s crazy.” He pushes the piles of pennies across the bar. “Hey can I get a quarter?”
“Sorry. I can’t take pennies.”
“Well I guess I understand,” he says as he scoops the pennies back up. He blathers on about how a bunch of pennies could be embarrassing for some people. “Those fools can give their pennies to me. I’ll take them.” He’s going to the gas station next door after this, to count out his pennies for a pack of cigarettes.