It’s an ongoing conversation with friends: will you pick up a penny? If it’s just lying there on the ground, will you pick it up?
My general policy is that I don’t leave money lying on the ground, period. Apparently, I’m pretty much alone, though, when it comes to pennies. Most folks think a penny isn’t worth it. A former co-worker put it like this, “I won’t spend the energy for a penny, but if it’s silver, I will crawl under your car for it!”
I get that. Finding a dime or quarter is winning vagabond bingo.
But on the off-chance that you, like me, think money is money – and there is no such thing as money not worth picking up – today, I channel my inner hobo and offer tips for finding free money.
First of all, forget Casey Kasem. He urged his listeners to “keep reaching for the stars.” Bump that. Keep your head down at all times. There ain’t no money in the stars or in the air. It’s in the parking lot. Walk with your head down, eyes open.
The kind of parking lots matters; they are not created equally.
Parking lots at drug stores are fertile ground for loose change. Think about it. Who uses drug stores the most? Old people. Old people either don’t know they’ve dropped coins or think they may pass out if they bend over to pick them up.
I always park as far away from the front door of a drug store as possible to maximize the territory I can cover. Whatever I find will offset the cost of the fiber I’m there to buy.
Speaking of old people, you should target the parking lots of restaurants that old people enjoy. I do not mean to disparage the names of some fine eateries, but if you’ve got a Shoney’s in your town, Yahtzee!!
Denny’s, IHOP, Red Lobster… dump the kids out, and let ‘em scour the parking lot. First one to find daddy a quarter wins!
Grocery store parking lots are also very happy hunting grounds. First, there’s the sheer number of people getting in and out of their cars. Secondly, translate that number into how many hands go in and out of pockets for keys. There’s change in them there pockets.
Here’s one you might overlook: parking lots in front of buffets. Next time you’re in a buffet restaurant, pay attention to the patrons. True, most of them are older, but most of them are also large. I’m seeing people that drop coins but couldn’t reach the ground if they tried to bend over to pick them up. Bonus: lots of them have just gotten change from the cashier as they left!
Finally, one of the very best places to find coinage is the parking lot at a golf course. There are several reasons, starting with the fact that golfers frequently use loose change to spot their balls before putting. Even if they don’t, coins in their pockets get mixed in with the tees, ball markers, and other paraphernalia necessary for an outing on the course. As they clean their pockets at the end of the round, there it goes: a dime here, a nickel there…
Bonus time again: golfers drink. And after a few of beers, do you really care that you’ve dropped a penny or two? No, you don’t. So now we have not only loose change, but we have it being handled by drunks. Winner, winner, pay for dinner!
So to summarize today’s lesson, we have just covered how to take advantage of the elderly, the obese, and the social miscreants (golfers). I think our work here is done.
Next time I see you with your hands in your pockets, I hope you’re playing with loose change.