A Curious Case of Change

Sep 27, 2010

RAY: This was sent in by Milton Mercinger. You ready? Pay attention.

The other day, I was third in line at my neighborhood convenience store waiting to pay for my items. The first person in line bought something that cost $3.75. She handed the clerk a $5 bill and received a dollar and a quarter in change.

Customer #2 bought two items that totaled $4.99. He paid with a $10 bill, and he received a $5 bill and one cent in change, or $5.01.

Finally, it was my turn. I placed my items on the counter, you know, the usual: hair nets, a copy of the National Enquirer, and an extra large tube of soothing hemorrhoid relief gel. My total was $17.95. I handed over a $20 bill. The cashier started to hand me my change, and then stopped, and asked if it was okay if she gave me a $2 bill and a nickel instead of two ones and a nickel, because my change was going to be $2.05.

"Would I mind?" I said, "Not at all! In fact, I was hoping to get one - a two dollar bill, that is - with my change."

So I received $2.05 as change. And the people in front of me received $5.01 and $1.25 respectively. The question is what was unique about the change each of us received?
RAY: Here's the answer. The first customer's change consisted of a dollar bill and a quarter. Now do you know who is on the dollar bill?

TOM: George Washington.

RAY: Wasn't he a classmate of yours in high school? And your old pal George is also on a 25 cent piece. So the first customer got back two pieces of currency that have a likeness of the same president.

TOM: Wow!

RAY: Well, the same thing happened with the person that got the five-dollar bill and one-cent. Lincoln is on the five-dollar bill and the penny.

TOM: No kidding.

RAY: And that's why I was excited to get the two-dollar bill, and five-cents because Jefferson is on the two-dollar bill as well as the nickel. Pretty cute, eh?

TOM: That is very cute, I like it.

RAY: Do we have a winner?

TOM: Our winner this week is Brian Culver from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. And for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Brian is going to get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division with which he can get our new Distracted Driving T-Shirt.

RAY: Congratulations, Brian!

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