Man Pays Bill With 2,500 Pennies, Successfully Proves Himself to be Irrational

The other day, I reached under my car seat and found some pocket change. This is not a rare occurrence. At times, it seems like people may have mistaken my vehicle for a wishing fountain, throwing their unwanted change through my rolled down window.

I usually throw the coins into the car ashtray and forget they exist until the next time I reach under my seat and add more to the collection. If I added up all of the change I have lost and found and lost, I would probably have enough to pay my rent.

It seems, though, I would not want to pay it in pennies.

In Vernal, Utah (former home of the late inventor, hall of fame rodeo cowboy, actor, and sculptor Earl W. Bascom), a man by the name of Jason West had an issue with an outstanding bill for $25 he received. Like a rational human being would do, West went downtown to the clinic to discuss the bill with employees, where I’m sure he kindly and gently explained his position at a reasonable volume without employing any crazy theatrics.

When staff members did not make his bill magically disappear, West meekly asked if they accept cash. The answer was yes, because who doesn’t accept cash?

That’s when West lost his mind a bit and dumped his 2,500 pennies on the clinic’s counter, demanding that employees count them. After all, you wouldn’t want to short them one penny, so it’s best to make sure there is the correct amount there.

West, I’m sure, assumed this was a nice protest where everyone was a winner: they received their money, he was able to belittle all of the employees by forcing them to count coins by hand.

This is not how the police saw it, however.

Assistant Vernal Police Chief Keith Campbell (no relation to the soup) said that West’s penny rampage served “no legitimate purpose,” clearly overlooking the purpose of making the employees count his pocket change.

Police slapped West with a disorderly conduct charge, a charge that potentially carries a $140 fine with it.

While West is busy digging up 14,000 pennies to pay his disorderly conduct fine, we are left here to play America’s favorite new game show, WAS IT WORTH IT?!


Host: It’s time to play WAS IT WORTH IT?! Our contestant today received a $140 fine for paying a $25 bill with pennies. Audience, WAS IT WORTH IT?!

Audience: NO!

Host: Thanks for tuning in and remember: It’s NOT always worth it.

Credits roll.


I will admit that, at times, I have been tempted to do something similar to this. That’s when I remember that I feel like an idiot paying for something that is more than a dollar in change.

You always have that uncomfortable second where you have bought a drink at a gas station and the total comes to $1.02. You have to fish around in your pocket for the change, all the while knowing that the cashier wishes he could punch you in the face. To ease the tension, you probably say something, “I know it’s in here…” before realizing that this just makes it a little bit more awkward. After paying, you exit the gas station, head hung in shame.

There is one way for West to have avoided the fine. If he had brought the money in one of those giant crayon piggy banks that kids have, that would have relieved the tension just enough to avoid a fine.

What is the moral of the story? Well, there are several.

First, pennies are worthless. No one ever wants pennies for anything. Even toddlers know that they can’t buy anything with them, so they just try to stick them in their mouth.

Secondly, if you are going to pay for something with pennies, make sure you don’t make a scene while you do it.

Last, and most important, if you are going to make a scene, make sure no cops are around.

If they are around, definitely don’t try to bribe them. Cops hate pennies, too.


One thought on “Man Pays Bill With 2,500 Pennies, Successfully Proves Himself to be Irrational

  1. This a great story. I cannot believe they fined him. Hmmm, I guess being a smartass isn’t always the best choice although prior to the fine it probably felt pretty good.


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