September 11, 2015

## The absence of pennies breeds pennies

I’ve said it before and it’s still the case: I would pay a penny not to carry a penny.

So why don’t I stop my whining and just get rid of my pennies as they come in?

My answer is: Why the hell would I want to stop whining?

My second answer is: Pennies have the peculiar and perhaps unique property of breeding more of them when your supply of them drops below four.

Go to any real-world commercial space that is not in Canada with no pennies in your pocket, and what happens if the bill is not evenly divisible by five? You exit with pennies miraculously in your pocket.

Go with one penny in your pocket and there’s a 20% chance you’ll leave with at least one and possibly four.[1] The odds when you have more than one penny in your pocket have yet to be calculated, but Leibniz proved that with four pennies in your pocket, there’s no chance that you’ll get more than that in return and there’s even a 10% chance your pocket total will drop to the blessed Zero Pennies state so sought after by followers of the Tao.

But what the Tao forgot was that with no pennies in your pocket, that nothingness stands an 80% chance of producing pennies at your next transaction. So you’re 80% screwed no matter what.

TL;DR: Nature abhors a vacuum of pennies. Why? Because Nature is really annoying.

[1] Here’s my math. If you have a penny in your pocket and the bill is $x.01 or $x.02, you exit with fewer or an equal number of pennies. If the charge is $x.03 or $x.04, you’ll get back more than one penny. There are twenty opportunities in every dollar for an .03 or a .04. So, it’s 20%. Right?.