On Sunday we were over on 125 St so I stopped by the Jamaican beef patties place but they were closed. Jesus Taco was next door so I went there instead. What a mistake! I don’t know what Masanao and Yu-Sung could’ve been thinking. Anyway, then I had Jamaican beef patties on the brain so I went by Monday afternoon and asked for 9: 3 spicy beef, 3 mild beef (for the kids), and 3 chicken (not the jerk chicken; Bob got those the other day and they didn’t impress me). I’m about to pay and then a bunch of people come in and start ordering. The woman behind the counter asks if I’m in a hurry, I ask why, she whispers, For the same price you can get a dozen. So I get two more spicy beef and a chicken. She whispers that I shouldn’t tell anyone. I can’t really figure out why I’m getting this special treatment. So I walk out of there with 12 patties. Total cost: $17.25. It’s a good deal: they’re small but not that small. Sure, I ate 6 of them, but I was hungry.
A half hour later, I’m pulling keys out of my pocket lock up my bike and a bunch of change falls out. (Remember—the patties cost $17.25, so I had three quarters in my pocket, plus whatever happened to be there already.) I see all three quarters plus a couple of pennies. The change is on the street, and, as I’m leaning down to pick it up, I notice there’s a parked car, right in front of me, with its engine running. There’s no way the driver can see me if I’m bending down behind the rear wheels. And if he backs up, I’m dead meat.
It suddenly comes to me—this is what they mean when they talk about “picking pennies in front of a steamroller.” That’s exactly what I was about to do!
After a brief moment of indecision, I bent down and picked up the quarters. I left the pennies where they were, though.
P.S. The last time I experienced an economics cliche in real time was a few weeks ago, when I spotted $5 in cash on the street.
That particular branch of the Jamaican beef patties place closed a couple years ago, but they have another branch on 125 St that I go to sometimes.
A couple months ago I noticed a 20 euro bill on the street and picked it up. Take that, economists!