Monday, March 9, 2009

Cents and Sensibility

by Pa Rock
Capitalist Swine

I had lunch at the Subway on base today. My bill was $4.99 and I handed the young man at the register a ten dollar bill. He handed me back a five dollar bill and then asked something that left me dumbfounded. He asked if I wanted my penny. I looked him squarely in the eyes and said that of course I wanted my penny. (I support some charities, but Subway is not on the list!) He laughed (laughed!) and then handed me the penny.

I am not a great financial planner, which explains the modest circumstances of my life. But I do know the value of a penny. I scan the ground as I walk, constantly on the lookout for an unusual rock, an interesting bug, and the odd bit of change. Just today I came up with a Canadian dime. A Canadian dime is the equivalent (at least) of ten U.S. pennies.

A penny saved is a penny earned – as an ancient cousin of mine used to say. The more pennies one saves, the more he has earned. Today I found ten pennies (that dime from Canada) and kept Subway from taking a penny that rightfully belonged to me. That is a total of eleven pennies, and the day isn’t over. Just four more pennies and I would be able to buy a share of the world’s largest satellite radio provider – Sirius XM! That’s right…fifteen pennies would make me a member of the investor class - and that little jerk at Subway wanted to keep me from moving up the economic ladder!

A couple of weeks from now, if I am very observant and marginally lucky, I might come up with a hundred and five pennies when (at today’s closing price, at least) I could purchase a share of Citigroup. With one hundred and sixty-eight pennies I could buy a share of the world’s largest car company – General Motors. Or, if I decided to wait a day or two beyond that, I might come up with an additional six pennies and be able to buy a share of Ford Motor Company. The opportunities are endless!

Do I want my penny? You bet your wage-slave ass I do!

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