Service of Pennies Wise III

October 23rd, 2012

Categories: Pennies Wise

This is a topic that keeps on giving.

Advertising man and officemate Hank Goldman showed me a check for 20-something cents. That day we spoke about how nutty it was for the company to spend 45 cents to mail it and pay for the people to input, sign, print and post the envelope and maybe eventually audit the check.

But that wasn’t the end of it. It ended up taking a bunch of his time as well.

Hank deposited it with other checks in an ATM machine which didn’t accept it so he had to wait in line at the bank for customer service. This involved yet another person and more time/money.

Yet some decisions are wise. Mayor Bloomberg explained in a radio interview the other month why rides on the Staten Island ferry are free. He said that for years it cost 10 cents and in the 1960s, it increased to a quarter. But the mayor at the time, recognizing that it cost the city more than 25 cents to collect the money, made the no-charge decision. Smart.

I wouldn’t be surprised if at some time in the near future the free ferry ride will be history, and it won’t be a bargain. Today, at peak travel hours, it costs passenger cars $12 cash or $9.50 with EZ-Pass to drive through the Lincoln & Holland tunnels or across the George Washington, Bayonne & Goethals bridges, and the Outerbridge Crossing.

Do you have pennies wise and pennies dumb examples to share?

4 Responses to “Service of Pennies Wise III”

  1. Hester Craddock Said:

    My candidate for the granddaddy of “pennies wise mega-monster” is the government sponsored multi- form, multi-faceted medical insurance leviathan in all its ramifications, and it’s not going to get better with Obama-care. Indeed, it will probably get far worse!

    Every year I get at least eight checks in the $2.00 range from some insurance company check writer relating to some medical cost, and it’s far worse for the doctors. I’ve given up trying to keep track of it all.

    I have a friend who is one of those super-rich people Governor Romney wants to give more tax breaks to. He lives in one of the two richest towns in the country, and he pays his doctor $10,000 in January. For this, he has no more doctors’ bills for the rest of the year, and in turn, immediate access free on demand to some of the best specialists in the country, all of whom are outside the insurance system. No paperwork, no fuss. (His hospital bills are still paid by Medicare.)

    Imagine if we could all do this? Medical costs would go way down, and unemployment would go up because all those medical “administrators” would lose their jobs. That’s known as “multi-dollar” pinching.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    What a good idea–many people pay $10,000 a year for insurance and rather than give it to a company, why not give it to a doctor.

    But what I don’t get is that if you give the money to Dr. X, and his specialty is, say stomach ailments, what happens if you have a broken foot or heart issue or flu that doesn’t require a hospital visit? Does this doctor give the other doctor some of the $10 grand?

    If tons of people did it, others would stand up and listen and cut out the nonsense you describe and that has infected the medical insurance world for years.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    Sometimes I borrow from myself through a checking plus system. Just finished paying it off, when a short time later, discovered I still owed the princely sum of $0.01. The minimum accepted was $1.00, so it was off to the teller to complete the transaction. For some reason, the $1.00 minimum policy has been in effect for years. An explanation would be interesting.

    By the way, those are fine looking owls!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The owls are as wise as they are handsome, right?

    Just think of the sum of money the bank collects should hundreds of thousands of customers be giving them from 1 to 99 cents…that may be why they have the rule. And imagine what would happen if you hadn’t noticed the penny–a fine perhaps?

    We’ve addressed EZ Pass a few times, which saves time at tolls but sucks money any time it feels like it. We usually have $25 in the pot with them but now they are at $30-something. The concept annoys me but I don’t have time to fight it but will if it keeps on increasing for no reason.

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