Thursday, August 9, 2012

Today's Thirteen Cents Worth

I received a check a few days ago from Cox Communications refunding me thirteen cents on an account I recently closed.   First class postage is forty five cents, although it did come with a pre-sorted stamp on the envelope which I believe gets a price break.  I assume someone got paid to presort it, someone else got paid to put it in an envelope, the envelope cost something, the check cost something, then there was the payroll for the person who decided a check for thirteen cents should be issued and mailed and of course the payroll for person who cuts the check.  Interestingly, the check is drawn on The Bank of New York in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   

I’ve been contemplating what to do with my windfall.  A penny saved is apparently three pennies earned (thanks to the price of copper), but a paper check for thirteen cents?  My daughter’s birthday is next week … I could give her the check and tell her to go ahead and spend it all in one place.   On second thought, I would like to remain on speaking terms with her.

Mean Eileen did a Google search using “what will thirteen cents buy?” as the keywords.  The search produced a book titled Thirteen Cents which is available on Amazon for only $17.90 plus shipping.

My accountant advised me that I can probably take a deduction for most of the thirteen cents should I decide to donate it to a bonafide charitable institution.  It depends on who gets elected President and whether Congress is controlled by Rs or Ds.  He charged $50 for that advice.

I held the check in one hand and my increasingly large Cox bill in the other and found myself wondering how much less my cable bill would be if Cox stopped sending out thirteen cent checks.  

Mean Eileen suggested that perhaps it was a Cox Communications charitable gesture – like a teeny “cash mob” - to our struggling US Postal Service, which posted a 5.2 billion dollar loss for its most recent fiscal quarter.   They claim that a big chunk of that loss could be cut if Congress would allow them to cease Saturday mail delivery.  Did I mention my thirteen cent check was delivered on Saturday?

If the USPS had been thinking ahead, they could have hung on to some of the thirteen cent stamps they issued in 1977 – they’re going for twenty five cents now.

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