Upset With $350 Electrical Bill, Man Pays In Pennies

Not happy with the high cost of his $350 electrical bill, John Almany of Virginia decided to pay it entirely in pennies, all 35,000 and 170 pounds of them. It took two men with two large duffel bags transport them to the billing counter, and took Bristol Virginia Utilities two hours just to count up to $26. That’s certainly one way to go about it.

Virginia man pays his $350 electric bill in pennies [HamptonRoads] (Thanks to Mike!) (Photo: C.Barr)

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  1. Gorphlog says:

    That’s great. I wish I could pay in cash at an office for mine but mine has to be paid online or through mail. The only downside is waiting for hours for them to count them so they can give you a receipt

  2. Cat_In_A_Hat says:

    This was done by the main character in the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic” to repay her debt collector, although instead it was $16,000 worth of change. Have fun counting that! I think if more people used this approach, some companies might be more willing to negotiate with customers. Applause my friend.

    • NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @Cat_In_A_Hat: Could you at least put a spoiler warning in? What if I wanted to see that movie? J/k. ;)

    • drb023 says:

      @Cat_In_A_Hat: I’m pretty sure companies would not negotiate, they would just stop accepting change over a certain amount. I would do that just to keep other customers from having to wait, among the other obvious reasons.

      • Xerloq says:

        @drb023: The way it works is if you accept any cash, you have to accept all cash.

        • RZachSmith says:

          @Xerloq: I don’t know about that… lots of places say they won’t accept bills larger than $20. Are they not technically allowed to do that?

          • RZachSmith says:

            @RZachSmith: Now I get to reply to myself…but now I get it. Since they already provided the service, this is a “debt” and they must accept any and all cash. Had he been paying up front, they would not. Interesting laws, but I suppose they have their purpose even if they can be abused.

        • feckingmorons says:

          @Xerloq: That is simply not correct. No one can be forced to accept any tender. The Coinage Act of 1965, made bills and coins legal tender, but it does not obligate anyone to accept them for goods and servics.

          • RedwoodFlyer says:

            @feckingmorons: you spelled the plural of cervix wrong;

          • West Coast Secessionist says:

            @feckingmorons: Read the headline. Paying your electric bill is paying a DEBT. Read your dollar bill again, it’s legal tender for all DEBTS and they DO have to accept cash for a DEBT. If they refuse cash for a debt then the debt is null and void and you don’t have to pay it anymore.

            If he was trying to buy a burger at McDonalds with pennies then yes, they can say “we don’t accept pennies” or “we don’t accept more than 50 pennies a day” or whatever, it’s their business. But when it’s a debt they get no say in (A) whether to accept cash or (B) what denominations are acceptable.

    • ludwigk says:

      @Cat_In_A_Hat:

      Step 1: Deliver utilities bill payment in unwieldy legal tender, such as 170 lbs of pennies in protest of high bills.

      Step 2: Utilities company takes hours to count said money. Point and laugh.

      Step 3: As a result of the time taken to count the payment, administrative costs increase.

      Step 4: Utilities company passes additional costs on to customers.

      Step 5: Profit???

  3. NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave says:

    Wow. Talk about idiots. Two hours for $26? When I worked at a food store, I used to use a little known fact about rolled change. It usually weighs a certain “round” amount. I know $10 in quarters is a half pound. I forget the rest, as it’s been years since I had to deal with it.

    • Jessica Schwartz says:

      @NoO and A_GitEmSteveDave:

      I have the feeling it wasn’t rolled coins.

      • NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @Jessica Schwartz: Still, you can weigh $10 in quarters, and it will weigh half a pound. I’m just saying it can’t have been that hard. Even if you stack 25 pennies, then match each stack to the “base” stack, your counting would be very quick. You then stick a set amount into a envelope(say $1.00 for a standard envelope, $5.00 for a large manilla), and you’d buzz through this. I think someone was being hyperbolic.

    • kc2idf says:

      @NoO & A_GitEmSteveDave: Exactly.

      Silver coins and their descendants (i.e. the modern nickel-clad copper dimes, quarters, halves and large dollars) all are $20 per pound.

      Nickels weigh 5g each, making their value in cents equal to their mass in grams. For example, a $2 roll = 200¢ and weighs 200g.

      Cents weigh 2.5g each, making their value in cents 2.5 times their mass in grams. A roll of cents, then, would weigh 125g.

      Small dollars (Susan B. Anthony, Sacajawea, new presidential dollar) break the roundness, though. A pound would be $56, and a roll ($25) would weigh 202.5g or 7.2oz. I can’t say I don’t know what they were thinking, because I do and I agree with what they were thinking, but I don’t think they thought about it long enough.

      Of course, all of this assumes that a prospective scammer wasn’t filling the rolls with something else. That said, in the case of pennies, there is no point in using a substitute, because pennies are already worth less face-value than the raw materials to make them.

    • shepd says:

      @NoO & A_GitEmSteveDave:

      Bingo. The cost in manhours of counting it would have been less than just weighing it and telling him he’s “Paid in full” if the reading were within even as little as 90% of $350.

      Simply count 100 pennies, weigh them, multiply by 350, you’re done. The weights are even available on the internet, for chrissakes!

  4. noone1569 says:

    This was done months ago by a guy here in Indiana . . lemme see if I can find the link

  5. lilacorchid says:

    Why do that? I mean it’s one way to take out your frustration and get it some air time, but the clerk taking his money is not the person responsible for the rates set or the amount of consumption at home.

    I’m not saying he should bend over and take it, but there has to be a better way!

    • floraposte says:

      @lilacorchid: That’s kind of where I’m going. It’s not really much of a protest, either, since you’ve lost just as much money as paying any other way, and you’ve made it more rather than less likely that the rates will rise.

    • kc2idf says:

      @lilacorchid: In the case of a reasonably righteous indignation, paying in pennies is a viable way to exact revenge, because it consumes resources (man-hours) of the payee.

      That said, you point about controlling consumption at home is good. Renters are stuck up a creek, though. I used to rent an apartment that was uninsulated, and we couldn’t get the landlady to do anything about it. It was one of several reasons that we moved out.

      • Sparerib says:

        @kc2idf: The problem then becomes the debtors recourse. How does one recoup the cost of paying employees to count hundred of dollars in pennies? Raise rates. Of course this isolated incident clearly won’t raise the electric company’s rates, but it’s just a matter of logic.

        And I don’t believe it exacts revenge anyways because the board of the power company isn’t having their time wasted counting change. They pass it off to their employees to have to slog through the bullshit problem that the butthurt customer puts them through.

        I’d also like to know what caused the customer’s rate to be so high before I give him a pass on his high bill.

  6. FlyersFan says:

    Somebody actualy paid to go see “Confessions of a Shopaholic”? Wow people will blow money on anything haha.

  7. menty666 says:

    How is it that works fine, but this guy gets into trouble? [www.neatorama.com]

  8. Jesse says:

    I’m surprised the utility company is wasting labor to manually count all those pennies. They should have just taken the payment to their bank and had them deal with it.

  9. JRules says:

    umm simple math would say that $350 is 35000 pennies, not 29000

  10. legwork says:

    Ah, yes, something I might have done WHEN I WAS 14.

    As I recall, most public service deptartments have ways of discouraging this type of protest, such as late fees, counting fees, etc.

    Maybe that would explain their leisurely pace. Two hours? That’s approaching 3 seconds per penney!

  11. IamNotToddDavis says:

    I love the quote -“They said they didn’t have the manpower to count all those pennies and I said as much as BVU is billing its customers, they ought to have all the manpower they need.”

    No shindiggity.

  12. MyPetFly says:

    First, was the bill valid and were the prices reasonable? If so, shame on him.

    Second, legal tender doesn’t have to be taken for payment, right? I’ve heard that business have refused payment in all pennies, etc.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @MyPetFly: legal tender must be accepted for “all debts, public & private”. this is technically a debt since he was billed for the service after it was used.

      • Velifer says:

        @mac-phisto: Nope. Nobody has to accept cash. There’s a write-up about the details here: [www.slate.com]

        • Firethorn says:

          @Velifer:nope

          Except, from that very article:
          That means creditors are legally obligated to accept your crumpled-up ones and fives.

          The electric company is a creditor, since they sold you the electricity on credit. McDonalds can refuse to sell you a burger for $X in coins. A sit-down restraunt, on the other hand, would be on the hook if they’ve already served you.

      • madog says:

        @mac-phisto: there are many places that don’t accept cash.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @Velifer: actually, some people do have to accept cash. as in, people who are owed a debt.

          can merchants refuse your cash? certainly. can a merchant sell you something on credit & then refuse your cash? not at all. b/c this man utilized the services & was then billed for them, the utility company becomes a creditor & is therefore obligated to accept payment however they see fit, but not excluding legal tender.

          @madog: very true. & they may have that right (or they may be exposing themselves to the risk of having a debt absolved). that is the test. if you owe me money, i cannot refuse your payment in legal tender. if you want to buy something, i can refuse to sell it to you for legal tender & instead require payment in another form of tender.

  13. ash says:

    Yeah, going through the effort of paying the electric company will lower your bills. Totally!

  14. menty666 says:

    Incidentally, I don’t think BVU’s new payment policy would necessarily stop anyone. Anyone who’s got enough time on his hands to rustle up 35000 pennies can also get enough friends together to come in and make a line, all of which are making payments on his behalf with the maximum number of rolled coins each.

  15. codepage9 says:

    Perhaps his electric provider is owned by Scrooge McDuck? That vault of swimming cash needs to be refilled somehow.

  16. Peter_Betts says:

    I think the story is pretty funny but I agree with lilacorchid’s comment. What does this solve at all? If you are upset about the rates, investigate them fully and if you find something that doesn’t fly go through the proper channels to file complaints and enact change (pun intended). All this does is waste everyone’s time involved.

    This just wastes everyone’s time involved. For all we know these guys leave everything on.

  17. Nicole Glynn says:

    That’s kind of a dick move. His bill wasn’t the fault of the employee’s at the office stuck counting all that.

  18. your new nemesis says:

    First off, did the guy use $350 worth of electricity? Its well documented that leaving all your electric stuff on all the time will cost more to run. I couldn’t find anything that said they overcharged him, sounds like he is just upset they charged him for all the electricity he used. This is ridiculous.

  19. bogartbrown says:

    Ah, yes, I love the “a bill entitles me to be an asshole” mentality.

  20. Wombatish says:

    A first off and no secondly?

    This is ridiculous :P

  21. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    If anyone’s ever been in Hampton Roads…sigh.

    If this guy used $350 of electricity, he should just pay because it’s his fault. If he didn’t, he should take it up with the company in a civil way. What if it was a simple accounting error? Now you’re the jerk who made innocent clerks count out your change, AND you didn’t actually fix the problem!

    It’s not the company’s fault this guy used so much energy (if that’s the case). And if it was a mistake on the company’s part, it’s his duty to inquire reasonably and find out whether it was a mistake.

    Shame on this guy for reacting like this – there’s no reason for it, just because he’s throwing a hissy fit.

  22. MrsLopsided says:

    Merchants are not obliged to accept all legal tender. Many do not accept bills over $20. They don’t have to take all pennies.

    If they do then make the customer wait while they count it out. This customer gave up after it took 2 hours to count $26 (clerks must have done it as an aside when not busy) and paid the remainder in bills. He thinks he won.

    • shepd says:

      @MrsLopsided:

      Legal tender covers any debts. Unless you have an old electric meter that accepts coins (I have seen them) you may pay in anything that is legal tender since you have already used electricity and therefore have accumulated a debt to the electric company. The creditor then has the choice to either accept payment or nullify the debt.

      The decision not to accept legal tender may be made prior to sale, but once the sale has been made and the debt created, it is too late to *require* non-Legal Tender payments (of course, they can be optionally offered if the company chooses to, such paying your bills online).

      • NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @shepd: Check out [www.snopes.com]

        For the gist, All American tender is valid to pay a debt. BUT, the merchant doesn’t have to accept it. If the merchant wants you to pay in jelly beans, he can, and he can’t be made to accept the cash equivalent of those jelly beans.

        • triscuitbiscuit says:

          @NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave:
          NoO&A… I think you should read towards the end of your link. If you had actually read it, you would have noticed that what shepd said is true. Since he is in debt with them and they had not specified beforehand, he is allowed to do that.

          • shepd says:

            @triscuitbiscuit:

            Yup. It goes even deeper than that though. Legal Tender is intended to pay for any debt, no matter what the other options for payment were. This exists so someone is not bound to a contract that it isn’t possible to make good on.

            For example, let’s say you were an arms merchant in the US, and you decided you wanted to barter with another arms merchant. In 1985 you wrote up an agreement stating that you’d give him 2,000 machine guns a year for 5 years for 50,000 lugers up front.

            1986 hits, machine gun sales are banned, and you’ve only had two shipments of your machine guns. You’re out 6,000 of them! But you’ve already sold all those lugers. What do you do?

            You can repay the debt by paying him the cash value of the remaining machine guns. In pennies, if you so desire (God help you both if either of you trade in ammunition as well). As long as you don’t shoot each other, there’s no legal reason why you can’t fulfill the debt this way.

            That would make a very funny court case, I’m sure.

            This means that even if the electric company said you had to pay them in jellybeans, machine guns, or even something as simple as “MasterCard only”, you may take those ideas as strong suggestions only while retaining the right to pay in cold, hard, cash.

          • NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave says:

            @triscuitbiscuit: According to the last paragraph:

            However, even in cases where legal tender has been agreed to as a form of payment, private businesses are still free to specify which forms of legal tender they will accept. If a restaurant doesn’t want to take any currency larger than $20 bills, or they don’t want to take pennies at all, or they want to be paid in nothing but dimes, they’re entitled to do so (but, as mentioned earlier, they should specify their payment policies before entering into transactions with buyers). Businesses are free to accept or reject pennies as they see fit; no law specifies that pennies cease to be considered legal tender when proffered in quantities over a particular amount.

            But let’s go further, to the US Treasuries website [www.ustreas.gov] :

            This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

            I, for one, was happy when I worked overnight shifts that I couldn’t break anything more than a $50(The rule was $20, but I could get a “loan” from the safe of 10 $5 bills once every 10 minutes, so if it was the only way to get paid, I could bend the rules) , as it meant there was less incentive to try and rob me.

            @shepd: Now you’re entering contract law, which is different than simple transactions. For those, the jelly bean example, as shown here, would be more appropriate:

            If a shoemaker wants to sell his products for 8000 jelly beans per pair, he’s entitled to do so; the buyer cannot demand that he accept the equivalent value in legal tender instead.

            In your machine gun example, it would be a matter between the partners to either nullify the debt or agree on a value of said machine guns. Unless:
            A. There was a clause in the contract stipulating how the contract would be decided if a problem happened, or
            B. They bring it to court, then it’s up to the court to decide
            I’m sure there is a c,d,e, etc, but I never took contract law.

            • shepd says:

              @I♥Hannah_GitEmSteveDave:

              Mmmmhmmm. But you enter into a contract of sorts every time you make a debt. Eating at any restaurant where you pay *after* you’ve eaten is an example of making a debt. You’re in a verbal contract that you’ll pay the restaurant the price listed on the menu for the food you receive.

              If the restaurant wants to enforce a “we don’t take $100 bills” policy, they will need to charge for the food before you get it, like at a fast food joint.

              I’m 100% certain that if a cop were called to bust you for bilking a restaurant, and it turned out the place just didn’t like the size of your legal tender, he’d either arrest you and you’d end up embarrassing the cop in court, or he’d be smart enough to realize it’s the restaurant’s problem they don’t like your money.

              On a side note, the shopkeeper is never required to give you change. If you choose to pay for a $5 sandwich with a $100 bill and it gets to the point the cops are called, you could end up out $95 legally. This is something most places aren’t aware of–if you don’t trust the currency because it’s too much for the transaction, you can always offer not to give change.

              And yes, if you have a written contract, it’s likely you’ve put in provisions for cases where a party can’t make good on it. But hey, this is all theoretical anyways. :)

  23. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @me – Oops. I meant Bristol, not Hampton Roads. I’m not a fan of either, actually.

  24. MameDennis says:

    Wow, the article says he actually *unrolled* the rolled change he got from the bank. I have no sympathy for this jerk. The clerk had nothing to do with the size of his electric bill.

    Here’s a hot tip, absolutely free–if you don’t like the size of your bill, cut back your usage!

    • coren says:

      @MameDennis: And what did he do to the clerk? The clerk is not hurt by his actions – the company which had to pay said clerk for doing work that wasn’t what they wanted him to is hurt

  25. frodolives35 says:

    I am a coin collector and if I was the teller counting this change I would yell out hey this is a 1877 mint indian head its worth about 3000 dollars. If the guy asked for it back I would mix it in with the rest and tell him you can serch for it yourself. Serching coins takes alot longer then counting.

  26. wallspray says:

    OK, I don’t really think this is a great way to “get back” at the company, but I do not want to hear anymore “poor employee who had to count the coins.” Employee’s are representatives of the company, and therefore if this customer had an issue with the company, being a pain in the neck of one of it’s employee’s might have been the payback he wanted.

    And Pennies are legal tender for any and all debts, that is the rule. If you wish to buy something, a store is allowed to refuse the sale of said product if you are choosing to pay in pennies. However, if you owe a debt (say to a electric company from whom you have already used the electricity, and now have to pay them for it) the only form of payment that they MUST take is cash (bills or coins). I believe if they refuse it, the debt can be considered exonerated, though that would be tough to prove.

  27. shepd says:

    The ‘states still allows this? Other countries have maximum payment amounts for coinage. I believe in Canada if you are attempting to pay with over 20 pennies for an item the government/shopkeeper doesn’t have to accept payment and still retains the recourse to pursue you if you are late on your bill.

  28. milk says:

    My parents’ house is 2000 square feet, and when it’s 100+ outside their bill has been as high as $500. I just turn down the A/C and suffer when I don’t want to pay.

    A woman paid $25 at our office in pennies once and was mad we wouldn’t give her a receipt until we counted it all. It took 20-30 minutes to count them because we have a counter as opposed to a scale, and it’s not even a very good counter. I wish they could understand it’s not sticking it to the man; the people responsible never even knew it happened. I just lost half an hour of my day because I was the only one in the office at the time who knew how to operate the counter.

  29. oghelpme says:

    NOw, I can’t click through on the article, but how does 250,000 pennies equal $350?

    Not happy with the high cost of his $350 electrical bill, John Almany of Virginia decided to pay it entirely in pennies, all 350,000 and 170 pounds of them. It took two men with two large duffel bags transport them to the billing counter, and took Bristol Virginia Utilities two hours just to count up to $26. That’s certainly one way to go about it.

    Virginia man pays his $350 electric bill in pennies [HamptonRoads] (Thanks to Mike!) (Photo: C.Barr)

  30. dingdang says:

    Step 1: Request coin bags from your bank.

    Step 2: Dump all coins into bags.

    Step 3: Take to bank with the usual deposit.

    10 minutes. The fee the bank may charge for coin bags would be far cheaper than paying an employee do it.

    And personally, I try to avoid pissing off clerks who have access to my home address. Call me paranoid.

  31. natrix964909 says:

    Since an electric bill is paid after consumption (a debt) the new “policies” the company has enacted are illegal. One is obligated to accept any legal tender as payment for a debt. You cannot limit how many coins a person can pay their bill with.

  32. edwardso says:

    That bill seems really high. I get my power from Dominon VA power and it’s really inexpensive, I have a hard time believing that rates vary that much inside the same state

  33. Anonymous says:

    I once paid a debt of $10K in single bills. I had to go to 3 banks to get all the cash. The person who got the money told me it took the bank 3 hours to count all the money and the best part was the newer bills bill would jam the automated counters. All said and done it was $1 short.

  34. tc4b says:

    The people setting policy, or in charge of billing, are not going to be the ones counting coins. Nor, if it’s like most companies Ive worked for, do the higher-ups give a rat’s ass about the suffering of the peons who had to do the counting. I sympathize though.

  35. John Farmer says:

    They don’t have to let you buy something with legal tender, But all debt can be paid with legal tender. If you show up with the money (coins) in hand and they want to charge you for counting it fight it. You will win. They can’t charge you for any form of payment when another form doesn’t have the same charge.

  36. atomoverride says:

    hey if they refuse payment thats their fault

  37. fatcop says:

    I say he should use nickels next time.

  38. Hoss says:

    What an ass. Management should have told him to leave the premises with the pennies, or forfeit them without any credit to his account. I also don’t see why the utility should be obligated to keep him as a customer. No judge would find this to be funny or acceptable.

    • coren says:

      @Hoss: Forfeit without credit sounds like stealing. Refusing payment would have put the company out the 350.

      And it depends on who the judge sympathizes with – they’re not all huge big business fans.

    • Ilo says:

      @Hoss:
      Naahh. If I’m the power company, I will accept the pennies. The catch:

      1) You have to stay while I count them
      2) I’m charging $10/min “counting fee” for my employee’s work.

      See? I’m going out of my to meet my customer’s demands.

  39. kimdog says:

    Hah… that’s my hometown.

  40. Josue Ramirez says:

    EPIC WIN!

  41. Anonymous says:

    They don’t have to take it.

    from http://www.ustreas.gov/education/faq/currency/legal-tender.shtml

    “…There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services…”

  42. maestrosteve says:

    This guy thinks he made a statement and is getting back at the Electric Company. His actions were about as useful as me deciding to not fill my car with gasoline for 2 weeks to get back at the oil companies. I’m sure they’ll be hurting real bad.

  43. Ninjanice says:

    What douchebaggery! First of all, nowhere in this article did it say that this guy was overcharged or that BVU did anything wrong. His actions didn’t really hurt BVU that much; they still got their money. Really the only people that were put out by this are the banks that he wiped out of pennies, the customers at the bank that wanted pennies after he left and the people in line behind him at BVU that had to wait longer because this guy is a jackass. Oh, and whoever had to carry that change to the bank.

  44. kwsventures says:

    It takes quite awhile to count that much money. A friend had $14,000.00 in $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills stashed in a dresser drawer (yeah, he has issues). We dumped the drawer full of paper money on his bedroom floor. It took about 1 hour to stack and count up that paper money.

  45. RB_Bhoy says:

    can i do that for my $736 gas bill?

  46. David Brodbeck says:

    Huh. The comments up there noting that an electric bill is a form of debt are interesting; I’d never thought of it that way.

    I wonder how the people who say “I refuse to get a credit card because I don’t like going into debit, even a little” feel about that? Do they pre-pay their power company? ;)

  47. c_c says:

    Good thing he wasn’t trying to buy calzones at Paisano’s. They do cook a mean shirt though!

  48. Kaellorian says:

    I think it’s a stretch to hold out every low level functionary of a company to be a representative or ambassador of that company. Sticking it to them isn’t sticking it to the company. It just makes you look like a crybaby. The company was paid. It may have lost a bit of an opportunity cost, but I’d say the opportunity cost was substantially outweighed by the smug jerkoff quotient exemplified by the payer.

  49. shepd says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    Sure, it would probably be for weighing their outgoing mail though. But even if it could only do a few ounces at a time, it would be a good start.

  50. nakedscience says:

    TWO HOURS to count $26? Even in pennies that is pretty bad.

  51. 8minutemiles says:

    Ken Griffey Jr approves
    [sports.yahoo.com]

  52. tc4b says:

    @NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave: Maybe they were taking their sweet time on purpose, especially if they required him to wait while they did it. Sort of a battle to see who can be the least mature. He could have countered by singing all of Free Bird (including the guitar solos) over and over at the top of his lungs while they counted. Since they have his phone #, I guess the logical rejoinder to that would be for them to write “For a good time call Mrs.Almany [dude’s number]” on bathroom stalls around town.

    • NoO&A_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @tc4b: This is the reason I keep the soundtrack to “Joesph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat” on my iPod. Cross me, and I’ll sing it all. EVEN the Narrators part in falsetto!

      @Rectilinear Propagation: A postal/Pitney Bowes/UPS machine all have scales on them which can be used to weigh. Just saying. It’s quicker to find a scale than to take 2 hours to do $26.00.

      @tc4b: True, but don’t advertise that. It made it seem like it was take your kid to work day, and they let the pre-k kids count out the pennies.

  53. failurate says:

    If 100 pennies equals $1, wouldn’t 350,000 pennies equal $3,500?

  54. coren says:

    Also, note that dude only made them count for two hours before he took mercy on them.

    The company’s “policy” is against the law, I think. Or whatever it is that says if you owe someone a debt, they must accept legal tender or the debt is discharged. Looks like an easy way for free electricity!

  55. johnarlington says:
  56. Scoobatz says:

    If it took the bank 2 hours to count $26 dollars worth of pennies, just how long did it take the guy to roll $350 worth? What a colossal waste of time and energy!

    Suppose it took him 2 full days to prepare the pennies. The bank could have easily told him to get lost in 30 seconds and bring back some cash.

  57. sapere_aude says:

    I did this to a pizza delivery guy once. The pizza took so long to come that my friend and I had enough time to scrounge up and count out exact change in pennies. He sat in his car and counted it all.

    • chocolate1234 says:

      @sapere_aude:

      That’s pretty mean. Did it ever occur to you that the pizza delivery guy has relatively little control over how long it takes? If it’s busy, it’s going to take awhile to get the pizza out – NOT the driver’s fault. If you were that upset, you should have complained to the pizza place, as they were the ones taking too long to make your food. That may have been constructive, and you might have gotten a free coupon out of it. Instead, some minimum wage earner wasted his time counting your money, and all the people who were still waiting for pizza had to wait even longer. Very mature.

    • dingdang says:

      @sapere_aude: The pizza deliverer is last in a chain of people who put together your meal. They take the fall for everyone behind him/her who screwed up. Way to be a bully.

  58. dopplerd says:

    ****Consumerist Calculator Failure****

    It is only 35,000 pennies not 350,000.

  59. chauncy that billups says:

    Kramer: Hey, are you Gak?

    Gak: Yeah?

    Kramer: Here’s your MONEY!!

  60. Jack Doyle says:

    I paid a medical bill using multiple checks written in different amounts.

    The bill was $40, but I was pretty peeved at the place. I wrote them about thirty-seven different checks totaling that amount…. well, Wachovia wrote them the checks.

  61. chatterboxwriting says:

    $350 is the highest I’ve seen for an electric bill, so maybe this guy should check to make sure it wasn’t an error. If not, then he should check into cutting down his usage. My house is heated with natural gas and the bill has been $450-$600 every month since November. However, the house is poorly insulated, so we weren’t totally shocked when that first $500 bill came.

  62. docrice says:

    I did that to an Amish store by us, because every time you’d go in the store they would talk about you in Dutch and crack jokes about you. The clerk didn’t like counting $10.00 in pennies, nor did he talk about me while he did it.

    That said, I was 15 at the time. He’s old enough to know better. Grow a pair and find a more effective way to protest if your bill is not legit.

  63. captadam says:

    Perhaps he should turn off some lights or stop running the dryer so much or something. He has nobody but himself to blame. And, why inconvenience the clerks sitting at the service counter? They had nothing to do with the rates OR with his level of usage.

  64. drjayphd says:

    Oh, come on, pennies? Why not make things more interesting and pay it off in assorted change? And then, to be polite, I’d bring along my coin sorting bank to help ‘em count. Mind you, it’ll only hold enough of each coin for one roll. And you have to push a spring-loaded lever to eject the coins and roll ‘em up. Did I mention it ejects them one at a time?

    If you’re gonna be a dick, no reason to half-ass it…

  65. HPCommando says:

    No you don’t have to take cash, but if you do, you do not have to accept more than twenty-five pennies or nickels in payment, rolled or not.

    There’s argument over the “nothing over $20/$50″ in bills issue; the way around it is to indicate that you “have no more than $X in change available”. This way, you can still buy the $40 item with a $50, so long as you don’t expect more change than is available.

    This came up in a court hearing locally when the idiot tried to pay his $5000 small claims debt in pennies and nickels, and the court gave him until close of business to get proper denominations for payment, or face contempt charges. The banks wouldn’t take it unless it was all rolled, or they would charge him $50 to sort and roll it due to the sheer amount he had.

    Ah, good times, good times…

  66. Costner says:

    Yea the guy is just being a jerk and taking it out on the clerks who have to count the money. Personally I’d make him stand there while I counted it before I would accept it as payment just as you would do with any other amount.

    Might as well ruin his day if he is going to ruin theirs. Maybe the chucklehead will learn to use less electricity in the future.

  67. jharrell says:

    Online payments: maybe you could just send $10 a day for 30 days… 30 transaction fees? maybe a few extra dollars in processing and you guaranteed maybe 1 more person had to keep there job processing your checks each month.

  68. chocolate1234 says:

    This guy’s a jerk, and immature to boot. I agree with everybody here who has said that he hasn’t accomplished anything – the company still got it’s money. And anyway – heating costs have gone up for everybody.

    One of my customers was trying to pay a small bill with the city in rolled pennies (it was probably about $20 worth), and they wouldn’t accept it. It wasn’t even loose coin, but I can’t say I blamed them. They don’t need rolls of pennies laying around. Makes me wonder if they weren’t legally supposed to turn him away though, since he had cash and all.

  69. chocolate1234 says:

    *its

  70. Stream Of Consciousness says:

    Ha ha ha…classic!!

  71. MissPiss says:

    Wouldnt things be SO much easier if we all had some sort of…say…RFID chip implant that carried all our bank account info? Just walk in, scan wrist, & you are on your merry way? =P

    (sarcasm)

  72. Beth Coccaro says:

    $350 is easy in Winter months if your heat is electric. If you rent your apartment, there isn’t a choice. Available apartments are becoming more scarce as folks lose their homes and move into apartments…

  73. xrmb says:

    next time just send them $350 checks over one dollar…

  74. theycallmetak says:

    BVU rates are $0.085 per KWh for the first 1000 and anything over is $0.09 per KWh. For the $350 he was using almost 4000 KWh for that billing cycle.

  75. Costner says:

    So make him stand there while you count it. That just goes to show him if he is going to waste their time, they can waste his too. Otherwise they don’t have to accept it as payment until they prove he is giving them the proper amount.

    What a douche.

  76. Keter says:

    $350 is a high bill? Mine was $650 in February: I live in Texas, and have NO IDEA why the bill was that high — and I use two woodstoves to heat the house, so the AC wasn’t running much. My previous high bill was $500, during a time that was nonstop sub-freezing weather and was before I got the woodstoves. Since I got the woodstoves, my high bill was $400 when I had two houseguests. $650?! WTF?! Did they hear I was out of work and needed a monstrous bill to push me closer to the edge?

  77. EinhornIsAMan! says:

    Well, they can’t refuse legal tender as payment. And last time I checked pennies were legal U.S. currency for all debts, public and private. Even if how much electricity he uses is his own fault, I think he proved whatever point he was trying to make very well.

  78. Tom Ryan says:

    I would yell out random numbers as they count so screw them up.