25 October 2006


I have a terrible admission to make. It may upset some of you.
I shop at Wal-Mart.
I shop at Wal-Mart a lot!

Talking with a classmate last weekend, she let me know in no uncertain terms that she DOES NOT shop at Wal-Mart because she doesn't agree with their marketing policies.
I can understand that, and I respect her decision. Wal-Mart is such a huge organization, they can, and do throw their weight around. I've heard horror stories about how they forced suppliers to live by their rules in order to sell their merchandise at Wal-Mart.
An acquaintance didn't want to play their game and simply withdrew his offer to sell his goods at Wal-Mart. He was disappointed, but that was his choice.

There is no question you can buy stuff at Wal-Mart cheaper than you can buy it elsewhere.
A friend that owned a Gasoline Service Station said he could buy oil at Wal-Mart cheaper than his supplier could sell it to him. I buy my oil, oil filters, batteries, and tires almost exclusively at Wal-Mart. Doing so, I save a few pennies over purchasing these items somewhere else.

I tell you all this to set up the following story:
At the Wal-Mart cashier station, I noticed three pennies lying on the floor and stooped to pick them up. When I expressed my surprise that someone dropped them and wouldn't pick them up, the cashier, a young woman, said, "You wouldn't want to hear what I do with mine!"
So of course I asked- "What do you do with them?"
"I throw them away."

How much money does this young woman make, working as a cashier at the world's largest retailer, that she is financially well off enough to throw pennies in the trash?
How do I get a job like that?

Admittedly, I pick pennies up partly to reinforce the fact that I am one of the cheapest people on the face of the earth...... it's expected of me.
But I was tempted to ask her, "If I bring a jar to your house, rather than throw them away, will you throw your pennies into it?"



Jason said...

I toss them too. :)

I am no fan of change because of its weight, noise, and tendency to fall out of my pockets.

Since I will never actually use a penny (they will just sit at home forever if they make it there) I usually toss them out.

I would prefer a purely electronic monetary system, though that has obvious privacy concerns for some people.

Drug dealers wouldn't want to do without cash, that's for sure, but legit people would also miss it I'd imagine - just not me.

Greybeard said...

Your choice, Jason. If you are comfortable with that, it obviously works for you.

But to better illuminate my point-
I made more money picking up those three pennies than I made all year with two of my mutual funds in 1987.

I'll take my dividends where I can find them!

Anonymous said...

I dump all of my change into a jar in the bedroom. Before our yearly vacation the jar gets a trip to the bank... pennies and all. It usually nets two or three hundred dollars extra for the vacation account which is just handy.

Jason said...

Hmm, maybe I need to LOOK at my pennies before tossing them... :)


Infinitegtr said...

Grrr. I hate WalMart and all that it stands for. I also shop there nearly exclusively. My need for cheap batteries for my wireless PS2 controller are merely one example of why I am forced to shop there. (That and my undying commitment to never pay more than $12 for a work shirt).

As far as coins, aside from the numismatic treasures probably destroyed each year through such behavior... there is a great invention from Coin Star. You dont have to make special trip to the bank, nor do you even have to roll the pennies. Just dump and cash out (or credit out, for you electronic commerce types).