Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Good, Clean, Money-Saving Fun

I had dinner the other night at Joya, a Thai restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. I've written before about its sister restaurant in Park Slope, called Song. Both places seem to have found a recipe for success in offering a hip atmosphere and really low prices-- they always seem to be jam-packed with a diverse crowd, people of every age, race, class, and orientation all chowing down on generously sized $7-8 entrees.

After enjoying some veggie dumplings, chicken masaman curry and a shrimp/portobello mushroom special, with a couple of drinks, all coming to about $50 for two people, I decided to stop in the bathroom on the way out. While I was, ahem, seated, I looked down and noticed a shiny quarter on the floor! As longtime readers will know, I love finding money and will stop and pick up a coin of almost any amount. A quarter is especially exciting, as it can be used for laundry.

But this quarter was on the floor in a bathroom. The bathrooms at Joya seem quite clean as New York restaurant bathrooms go, but the quarter was on the bathroom floor in a slightly puddly looking area, which was kind of sort of really near the toilet. This gave me pause. I stood there for a minute and thought, "should I just give up on this quarter? Is that too gross?" It also occurred to me that this might be one of those jokes where the quarter is super-glued to the floor and if I try to get it I'll end up on Candid Camera or YouTube as the crazy girl who's willing to scrape a quarter off a dirty bathroom floor.

But the intrepid penny pinching Madame X came through and I told myself, "@#(*&$ it, I want that quarter!" I turned on the water in the sink. I put some soap on my hands. I bent down to grab the quarter. This attempt at germ-busting then resulted in some comical slippery fumbling with the quarter (which perhaps you've already seen on YouTube, but god I hope not...). But I eventually got the quarter to the sink where I washed it and my hands thoroughly with more soap. I then dried off my prize and took it home in my coat pocket.

Yes, it's possible that this quarter might still have been crawling with nasty bacteria but I didn't hang onto it for long-- the next morning I ended up giving it to a friend to use in a parking meter.

And yes, this is how far I'll go for 25 cents. I think it's a good exercise, actually, in adjusting one's financial attitude. Picking up a coin reminds me that the little things matter, and that I don't take financial issues lightly. It reminds me that money is money, and no honest way of acquiring it should be considered beneath one's dignity. But really, if you see me on YouTube, please don't forward it to all your friends.

18 comments:

julie said...

I totally would have picked it up too. The inside door handle on the bathroom door - which everyone touches after they've "gone" - would likely be more unsavoury than the floor.

After soaping up, that quarter would have been cleaner than most!

deonne said...

Me too. And if the ick factor seemed too high, you could have used a paper towel to pluck it from the questionable floor, then wrapped it up like a little Christmas present.

Now pennies, those are always a debate for me. Do you pick them up or not? What do you think?

Escape Brooklyn said...

That was definitely worth it for a quarter. Probably not a penny, though. I actually walked past a quarter on the sidewalk last night, but I didn't pick it up because there were other people around and I didn't want to look like a weirdo. But then I thought, I want that quarter! So I backtracked and picked it up.

deonne said...

By going back to get that quarter you're making it easier for the rest of us weirdos to pick up money off the street. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

I'll admit, this kind of killed the sexy-mysterious vibe you had going there. :)

Anonymous said...

well it's more than likely that all the other quarters you get from "normal" places have been somewhere not so hygienic. and really it took me a couple of days to handle dollar bills without too much hesitation again after going to a strip joint with friends.......

Madame X said...

Killed the sexy mysterious vibe?!?!
Obviously I didn't write this post descriptively enough, with more details about adjusting my fishnet garter stockings and tight mini-skirt after slowly bending over to pick up the quarter, thereby giving the hidden youtube camera a perfect view of my exposed cleavage, etc etc.

Anonymous said...

I've had an instance (15 years back) where i picked up some money (20 rupees) on the street. This happened back in India where I'm from and split the money three ways(I myself and two of my friends). I believe we spent that money in a restaurant. But shortly there after I lost 100 rupees and I have never picked up any money off the street after that. Couple of times I have picked up some change and dropped it off at some donation box right away.

But I might pick up the money and keep it if it were a million dollars that i'm finding.

Couple Quarters won't make me a millionaire and I have found myself thinking on those lines when I get into situations where I can save a dollar or two every so often.

My two cents.

- Reader from Austin,TX

deonne said...

Exactly. Jeez, Madame X, get it right next time!

michelle said...

I never pick up change from the street/floor - I'm not well off, but there's always someone who needs it more than me.

SandyVoice said...

I picked up two pennies just yesterday. There was a guy walking by, and he said, "You beat me to it!" so, of course, I offered him one. We had a very nice chat about picking up change -- all sensible people do it! I often find myself at a cash register needing ONE cent. I probably have the $20 bill they can break to make change for me, but there were many years I wouldn't have had it. Every penny counts.

Solitaire said...

@Deonne re the penny pickup -- is it face UP or face DOWN? One of the rhymes I remember from a kid is "Face of penny, pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck; Back of penny, let it lay, or bad luck it will dog your day."

@Madame X -- I'm gg to laugh all day re the fishnets/etc addition. Brava!

S

deonne said...

Solitaire - I never heard that rhyme, so now you've given me the rule for next time I see a penny. If it's heads, I'm taking it. Otherwise, I leave it. Easy!

Anonymous said...

If you find empty soda cans or bottles...it's a cash equivalent of 5 cents. Save the earth, while you're at it. Granted, it involves some extra labor of going to the grocerty store...but consider that extra walk a little bit of exercise. And, if it turns out that the linrs are interminable, simply give the cans to a shabbily-dressed person who doesn't mind standing in line with an insane garbage bag full of cans. Consider it a deposit into the karma piggy bank.

Actualy, there is this woman who goes through the garbage on our block looking for cans or bottles. But she always neatly reties the bags after looking through her garbage. so I usually give her any bottles I have.

Ms Bart said...

Does it really matter which direction a coin is facing? (Up or down) I'll pick up any change. If it's in a questionable locale, such as the potential puddle, I'll step on it and drag it to dry land before picking it up. I'm also not ashamed to pick up clean-ish returnables.

Anonymous's reminder of where money has been definitely reminds me to go wash my hands!

Anonymous said...

A puddly bathroom floor might have given me a pause. But like you, I would have gone for it anyway and wash my hands furiously afterward. The other day, while riding my bike back from work, I double back to pick up a quarter on the street. So I suppose we're of the same mind.

I don't feel bad about picking up a small amount of money found. 99% of the time, it would never make it back to the original owner so my picking it up is the same as another. If it's a large amount, now that is a different matter. I would try to help it get back to its original owner.

Cap said...

haha. superb post. don't think I'll pick up a quarter on a bathroom floor (if it's in a semi puddle looking area anyway).

no worries. the fumbling with the quarter wasn't too bad, per the youtube video.

Anonymous said...

Wow... What would you do for a $1? I don't know but I would pay $1 to see it!