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3:32pm on Tuesday, 16th October, 2007:

Bad Penny


As I walked into a sandwich shop to buy my lunch today, I spotted a 1p piece on the floor. Having worked in an amusement arcade as my weekend job during my teens, I am incapable of leaving coins where they have fallen (unless they're icky), so I picked it up.

Now ordinarily when I pick up a coin, I just keep it. This was a sandwich shop, though, and people would have seen me pick it up; besides, it had two charity boxes within arm's reach. I therefore decided to contribute it to the NSPCC.

However, I did it with dread.

You see, something I've noticed over the years is that whenever I discard a coin of whatever domination, if I don't keep it then shortly I will find myself in a situation where I need it. It happens every single time. I first observed the phenomenon when I gave my elder daughter a 2p piece to throw in the town fountain, and then the next thing I bought came to something stupid like £5.02.

This has now happened so often that I regard it as a law of nature,; I therefore took it into account when I decided to donate my new-found 1p to charity rather than keep it. Sure enough, within an hour I bought a drink and a crunchie bar, and it came to £1.02. I only had £1.01 in change. If I hadn't given away that 1p, I'd have been able to pay the exact money; as it was, I handed over a fiver and got £3.98 in coins back.

Damn, but every single time.

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).