Poll

Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?

Yes.
No.
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Author Topic: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?  (Read 2319 times)

hadabeardonce

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Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?

I sat on the toilet looking at this penny wondering, "If I don't pick it up, did that make me less of a mustachian? If I do pick it up does it mean that I'm somehow addicted to money? Do I have no shame or standards? Is the health risk worth a penny? Was I un-American if I left Abe Lincoln face down in a men's room?"



I picked up the penny and washed it while I washed my hands.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 11:24:28 AM by hadabeardonce »
Standard advice: Read "Your Money or Your Life" and "A Random Walk Down Wall Street"
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/had-a-beard-once's-mustachianismishticness-journey/

lizzzi

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2018, 05:35:12 PM »
Yes. Take a little toilet paper and pick it up in the toilet paper. Then either wash it with soap when you wash your hands, or just keep it in the toilet paper until you get home and can wash it and disinfect it. Then put it in your coin collecting jar or piggy bank of choice.

Praxis

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2018, 05:42:44 PM »
No.  Risk/reward factor.  Thirty years of market average compound interest, adjusted up with inflation, still nets you under 13 cents.

Public restroom floors are cesspools of bacteria.  I don't know where that thing is been.

I'm not going to take even a 0.1% chance of getting sick over 13 cents in retirement.


Now make it a dollar coin....

Johnez

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 05:42:57 PM »
If it's any relief, bacteria prefer something warm, dark, and moist to reproduce on-a coin has none of these. Should be fine.

Johnez

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2018, 05:45:45 PM »
No.  Risk/reward factor.  Thirty years of market average compound interest, adjusted up with inflation, still nets you under 13 cents.

Public restroom floors are cesspools of bacteria.  I don't know where that thing is been.

I'm not going to take even a 0.1% chance of getting sick over 13 cents in retirement.


Now make it a dollar coin....

Now, what it was a pre-'82 penny, eh? Copper alone in that is worth more than the penny itself. Instead of ol' Abe facing down....what if it was that Indian fella?

I guess these questions would be the equivalent of "What if this is the next Apple/Tesla/Facebook stock heheh.

koshtra

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2018, 05:50:40 PM »
Probably no dirtier than any other coin. There's usually more bacteria you should be worried about on people's hands than on any floor.

That said, picking up a penny must yield about minimum wage these days. I won't pick a penny up off the sidewalk if I'm in a hurry, because it's not really worth the time.

lizzzi

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2018, 05:51:58 PM »
Well, any time you pick up a coin off the ground, you don't know where it's been. Actually, any time anybody hands you change in a business transaction--stores, restaurants, whatever--heaven only knows what bacteria are on those coins. I wash my hands a lot and try to keep them away from my face.

solon

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2018, 06:01:00 PM »
I saw a penny in a puddle of piddle once. I passed.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2018, 06:10:39 PM »

I don't pick up pennies anywhere.   I might pick up nickels and greater if it doesn't look like anyone will notice, but not off a bathroom floor in a puddle of piddle.

pecunia

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2018, 06:48:28 PM »
I was taught that if you find a penny, it is a sign of good luck and I am superstitious.  That 1943 penny worth $40,000 is waiting for me.

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1913870_1913868_1913831,00.html

A penny found is as good as a penny earned.

terran

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2018, 07:55:07 AM »
Oh, that's a tough one! If I stop and think about it I think about it, I think I'd come to the same conclusion as you (pick it up and wash it), but I'm not sure what I'd do in the moment.


I don't pick up pennies anywhere.   I might pick up nickels and greater if it doesn't look like anyone will notice, but not off a bathroom floor in a puddle of piddle.

BAN HIM!!!

A penny found is as good as a penny earned.

More actually. Unless you're SUPER law abiding and claim found pennies on your tax return as "other income," although even then you wouldn't pay FICA tax which you do on earned income

mak1277

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2018, 08:22:44 AM »
Financial Independence is not needing to pick up anything less than a $10 bill :)

elliha

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2018, 08:26:26 AM »
Yes I would. Well, if someone pooped on the floor first and placed the penny on top of it then no but otherwise I would just wash it and put it in my pocket.

NinetyFour

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2018, 08:55:53 AM »
Absolutely!  Have done this many times.  :)

bluebelle

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2018, 08:58:23 AM »
Yes. Take a little toilet paper and pick it up in the toilet paper. Then either wash it with soap when you wash your hands, or just keep it in the toilet paper until you get home and can wash it and disinfect it. Then put it in your coin collecting jar or piggy bank of choice.

this....I was going to wash my hands with soap and water anyway....just add the penny to the mix

Papa bear

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2018, 09:10:23 AM »
Pretty sure even new pennies are copper clad zinc.  Copper is antimicrobial. Probably just fine to pick up. So...

Yes.


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mies

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2018, 09:13:32 AM »
I’d do it. We’ve all unwittingly handled pennies that have been in gross places before they reached us.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 02:41:13 PM by mies »
Less is more.

Brother Esau

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2018, 09:14:31 AM »
I just had to google piddle

undercover

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2018, 09:20:31 AM »
I wouldn’t pick the most sterile penny up from the most sterile room in the world.
Every solution has a problem

Aggie1999

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2018, 09:38:36 AM »
Penny, no. Nickel or greater, yes.

GuitarStv

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2018, 09:45:59 AM »
Sure, why not?  How clean do you think the change that the greasy guy behind the counter of the local convenience store hands you is?  Betcha it's not significantly worse.

:P

Rosy

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2018, 09:56:35 AM »
I was taught that if you find a penny, it is a sign of good luck and I am superstitious.  That 1943 penny worth $40,000 is waiting for me.

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1913870_1913868_1913831,00.html

A penny found is as good as a penny earned.

I agree - finding a penny is good luck:)

Decades ago mom sent me to buy a loaf of bread at the baker - I was a penny short - they sent me home without the bread. Lesson learned!
I think of this every time I see a jar for pennies at the checkout or the cashier asks if I really want my one penny in change.

So, unless it looked gross somehow, I'd pick it up in toilet paper and then wash and pocket it.

But, I'd rather find that $100 bill on Miami Beach - floating in the water - yes, I did!
That $100 bill in the trash on the ground of a gas station - yes I did!
That crumpled mess of bills on the walkway on Clearwater beach. $69  - yes, I did!

I rarely find change, but I always pick it up - I always considered finding any change payback for that one penny that caused me such grief - eons ago:)
Based on that logic/irrational belief I have been rewarded handsomely.

panda

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2018, 09:59:49 AM »
Bacteria actually doesn't survive on most coins very well, see "Dirty Money: A Matter of Bacterial Survival, Adherence, and Toxicity."

I pretty much always pick up money when I find it. However, I drew the line at the one dollar bill that was floating in, ah, shall we say "excessively un-flushed," public toilet.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 11:19:26 AM by panda »

diapasoun

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2018, 10:24:19 AM »
Absolutely, unless the bathroom is exceedingly gross. A penny off the floor of my local bookshop's bathroom? Hell yeah. A $5 bill off the floor of a BART bathroom? ... enh not so much. Those floors are sticky and you can SEE the lines where puddles have dried.

I don't mind dirt or germs very much. I do mind picking up things that I'm very, very certain have been in recent contact with urine.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2018, 10:33:19 AM »
If the bathroom was really gross- no.

If it was relatively clean that I'd touch the floor, sure.

If people think change is clean when handed to them at the store, they are deluded.

swampwiz

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2018, 01:03:15 PM »
There is something to be said about the "aversion to loss" effect that makes folks do an action that averts a loss, or recoups from a loss, while not doing an economically equivalent action.  In the coin example, this would mean that the person would pick up the coin that he dropped, while not picking up the same value coin that happens to be on the floor (irrespective of the cleanliness of the floor, LOL).  I find myself doing this to some extent.

grandep

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2018, 01:15:05 PM »
I am surprised (although maybe I shouldn't be, given where this conversation is taking place) that there are so many people who are avid penny-picker-uppers. I am with the small minority of other posters who do not pick up pennies ever. I count them as virtually worthless. Nickels and higher I will keep because I can at least use those for the rare instances where I have to pay for a parking meter.

The penny should be eliminated and all change denominations rounded to the nearest 5 cent value. This is how it is done in many other countries around the world.

JLee

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2018, 01:23:26 PM »
I am surprised (although maybe I shouldn't be, given where this conversation is taking place) that there are so many people who are avid penny-picker-uppers. I am with the small minority of other posters who do not pick up pennies ever. I count them as virtually worthless. Nickels and higher I will keep because I can at least use those for the rare instances where I have to pay for a parking meter.

The penny should be eliminated and all change denominations rounded to the nearest 5 cent value. This is how it is done in many other countries around the world.

Yup, I just ran the numbers and a penny is less than I earn in one second at work.  It's not worth the hassle to deal with them.

We should be like Canada and round to the nearest 5 cents.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2018, 01:26:20 PM »
I am surprised (although maybe I shouldn't be, given where this conversation is taking place) that there are so many people who are avid penny-picker-uppers. I am with the small minority of other posters who do not pick up pennies ever. I count them as virtually worthless. Nickels and higher I will keep because I can at least use those for the rare instances where I have to pay for a parking meter.

The penny should be eliminated and all change denominations rounded to the nearest 5 cent value. This is how it is done in many other countries around the world.

Yup, I just ran the numbers and a penny is less than I earn in one second at work.  It's not worth the hassle to deal with them.

We should be like Canada and round to the nearest 5 cents.

I wasn't making any money when I bent down in the bathroom to pick it up. So it is still a plus.

I'd be happy to be rid of pennies though.

Chris22

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2018, 01:49:29 PM »
I keep two Dixie cups in my cabinet at work, one is for pennies and the other is for all non-penny change that I collect in my pockets through purchases (our cafeteria is cash only, and I go there 1-2x a week if we're low on groceries at home or when they have something tastier-looking than my usual ham sandwich). 

The non-penny change cup turns over fairly regularly, with the odd vending machine snack or breakfast purchase. 

The penny cup is nearly full, and I'm not entirely sure what to do with it when it is.  It certainly isn't worth my time to go acquire rollers, roll them, and make the ~$4 deposit at the bank (it doesn't have a change machine). 
"If I could get all the money back I ever spent on cars, I'd spend it on cars." - Nick Mason

Praxis

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2018, 02:41:22 PM »
Probably no dirtier than any other coin. There's usually more bacteria you should be worried about on people's hands than on any floor.

That said, picking up a penny must yield about minimum wage these days. I won't pick a penny up off the sidewalk if I'm in a hurry, because it's not really worth the time.

I mean, pee is sterile too, but I wouldn't pull a penny out of a puddle.

MissNancyPryor

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2018, 02:49:46 PM »
I think the old Man Show had a gag where they floated a dollar in a toilet of piss to see how many people fished it out.  100% did.  I would not. 

On the penny I might pick it up and clean it with my handwashing if I felt some compulsion that it might be meaningful, like I was going to get on a plane or had some other wish-me-luck thing going on.  I know that is dumb but it is true.

koshtra

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2018, 02:50:17 PM »
Hell, I've raised kids. Puddles of pee are all in a day's work.

lizzzi

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2018, 03:51:40 PM »
I keep two Dixie cups in my cabinet at work, one is for pennies and the other is for all non-penny change that I collect in my pockets through purchases (our cafeteria is cash only, and I go there 1-2x a week if we're low on groceries at home or when they have something tastier-looking than my usual ham sandwich). 

The non-penny change cup turns over fairly regularly, with the odd vending machine snack or breakfast purchase. 

The penny cup is nearly full, and I'm not entirely sure what to do with it when it is.  It certainly isn't worth my time to go acquire rollers, roll them, and make the ~$4 deposit at the bank (it doesn't have a change machine).

Will your bank give you the rollers for your pennies? You could ask them the next time you're in there. It only takes a couple minutes to roll the pennies--then the next time you are at the bank, turn them in for the $4, and use it for your cafeteria at work. Or, just use up the pennies when you pay at your cafeteria cash register. Give the cashier exact change every time, and I bet those pennies won't last long.

Chris22

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2018, 03:54:07 PM »
I keep two Dixie cups in my cabinet at work, one is for pennies and the other is for all non-penny change that I collect in my pockets through purchases (our cafeteria is cash only, and I go there 1-2x a week if we're low on groceries at home or when they have something tastier-looking than my usual ham sandwich). 

The non-penny change cup turns over fairly regularly, with the odd vending machine snack or breakfast purchase. 

The penny cup is nearly full, and I'm not entirely sure what to do with it when it is.  It certainly isn't worth my time to go acquire rollers, roll them, and make the ~$4 deposit at the bank (it doesn't have a change machine).

Will your bank give you the rollers for your pennies? You could ask them the next time you're in there. It only takes a couple minutes to roll the pennies--then the next time you are at the bank, turn them in for the $4, and use it for your cafeteria at work. Or, just use up the pennies when you pay at your cafeteria cash register. Give the cashier exact change every time, and I bet those pennies won't last long.

Yeah, I mean I could, but this is one of those time vs. money things that I don't care about.  The effort to pay in pennies, and make everyone in line behind me want to kill me, is way more trouble than it's worth.  Same with rolling pennies.  Note that this estimated $4 has accumulated over about 6 months.  We're talking $8 a year here. 
"If I could get all the money back I ever spent on cars, I'd spend it on cars." - Nick Mason

JLee

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2018, 03:59:29 PM »
I keep two Dixie cups in my cabinet at work, one is for pennies and the other is for all non-penny change that I collect in my pockets through purchases (our cafeteria is cash only, and I go there 1-2x a week if we're low on groceries at home or when they have something tastier-looking than my usual ham sandwich). 

The non-penny change cup turns over fairly regularly, with the odd vending machine snack or breakfast purchase. 

The penny cup is nearly full, and I'm not entirely sure what to do with it when it is.  It certainly isn't worth my time to go acquire rollers, roll them, and make the ~$4 deposit at the bank (it doesn't have a change machine).

Will your bank give you the rollers for your pennies? You could ask them the next time you're in there. It only takes a couple minutes to roll the pennies--then the next time you are at the bank, turn them in for the $4, and use it for your cafeteria at work. Or, just use up the pennies when you pay at your cafeteria cash register. Give the cashier exact change every time, and I bet those pennies won't last long.

Yeah, I mean I could, but this is one of those time vs. money things that I don't care about.  The effort to pay in pennies, and make everyone in line behind me want to kill me, is way more trouble than it's worth.  Same with rolling pennies.  Note that this estimated $4 has accumulated over about 6 months.  We're talking $8 a year here.

Drop it in a Coinstar for Amazon credit the next time you're at a supermarket?

Silverado

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2018, 05:37:00 PM »
I keep two Dixie cups in my cabinet at work, one is for pennies and the other is for all non-penny change that I collect in my pockets through purchases (our cafeteria is cash only, and I go there 1-2x a week if we're low on groceries at home or when they have something tastier-looking than my usual ham sandwich). 

The non-penny change cup turns over fairly regularly, with the odd vending machine snack or breakfast purchase. 

The penny cup is nearly full, and I'm not entirely sure what to do with it when it is.  It certainly isn't worth my time to go acquire rollers, roll them, and make the ~$4 deposit at the bank (it doesn't have a change machine).

Uh, take a couple with you for each trip to the bathroom and try to discern if any of us are your coworkers by tossing them down. Start with one on the sink, then on top of urinal, bottom of sink, floor, back of toilet, floor of toilet, and so on.

Report back

GuitarStv

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2018, 06:29:23 PM »
Hell, I've raised kids. Puddles of pee are all in a day's work.

Yep.  And there's no monetary compensation for it either.  :P

potm

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2018, 06:48:24 PM »
So a penny is worth 1c US?
People would take something off a bathroom floor that doesn’t belong to them for 1c?
I am amazed at the 27% yes response.

elliha

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2018, 05:20:39 AM »
I think the old Man Show had a gag where they floated a dollar in a toilet of piss to see how many people fished it out.  100% did.  I would not. 

On the penny I might pick it up and clean it with my handwashing if I felt some compulsion that it might be meaningful, like I was going to get on a plane or had some other wish-me-luck thing going on.  I know that is dumb but it is true.

As long as the bathroom has soap I would do the dollar in pee thing. Poop is another matter, I would need a bit more for that. But I have worked in home care for the elderly and I handled other people's pee and poop every day then. You just get used to it after a couple of days. The spit bucket one of them had though... I gagged every time I handled that and the person who had a collection of snot... I just leave it at that, I can't say anything more. And nails... I hate toe nails I realized from doing this work. Being punched, pinched and yelled at were other "benefits" but you get used to that too. I should say that most of these people were suffering from various conditions that lowered their judgement so they were not really this doing all of this on purpose and mostly I actually liked this job.

mspym

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2018, 05:36:09 AM »
Given I saw and ignored the $2 coin in the toilet bowl at work, I can safely say this is a firm no.

Chris22

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #41 on: June 13, 2018, 09:26:17 AM »
Hell, I've raised kids. Puddles of pee are all in a day's work.

Yep.  And there's no monetary compensation for it either.  :P

But there's an upside/obligation, which is that it's part of being a parent. 

My upside for sticking my hand in a stranger's piss is $.01.  Who gives a fuck about $.01?
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PDXTabs

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2018, 10:14:59 AM »
A penny found is as good as a penny earned.

I grew up being told that "a penny saved is a penny earned." However, that saying originates from Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack which was published from 1732 to 1758. I can't find reliable inflation data going back that far, but a penny in 1913 is worth more than a quarter now.

I don't pick up pennies, but I'll pick up a nickel.

SunnyDays

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #43 on: June 13, 2018, 10:53:13 AM »
Maybe, but probably only if no one was around to see!  Couldn't be any dirtier than the change a grocery store cashier once gave me after she sneezed in her hand.

jim555

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2018, 11:03:05 AM »
No.  Don't want change.  Got rid of it and don't want it back.

mathlete

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #45 on: June 13, 2018, 12:54:06 PM »
No. You could make it a hundred dollars and I still might not do it. Neither a penny, nor $100 makes a meaningful difference in my life.

Urine isn't sterile by the way. That's a myth.

AZDude

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #46 on: June 13, 2018, 12:55:47 PM »
I would be much more likely to pick up a coin than a dollar bill. That dollar bill is going to be difficult to clean, while the coin is relatively simple.

Not sure I would grab the penny just because it is worth so little and its very existence disturbs me(pennies cost more to make than they are worth, it would be trivial for people to round to the nearest $0.05), but I would still be more likely to pick a penny off the floor than a dollar bill out of a piddle filled toilet, to use the parlance of this thread.

rocketpj

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #47 on: June 15, 2018, 05:06:58 PM »
I'm in Canada, we don't have pennies anymore.  But I still pick up coins I find, and throw them in the jar.

I used to conscientiously add found coins to my weekly stash deposit, but now I don't really bother.  The stash is doing fine.

shinn497

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Re: Would you pick up a penny from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #48 on: June 15, 2018, 05:54:50 PM »
I would pick it up with my tongue. I have no shame and I love money.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Would you pick up a penny up from the floor of a public restroom?
« Reply #49 on: June 15, 2018, 06:02:40 PM »
If it's any relief, bacteria prefer something warm, dark, and moist to reproduce on-a coin has none of these. Should be fine.

They also prefer not to grow on antimicrobial surfaces, like copper.