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$1 for $5 is a good deal, right?

My 7-year-old nephew wants to get a pop out of the machine at the store next door. He comes racing in the house with two $5 bills crumpled in his hand.

“Do you have a dollar bill, the machine won’t take these?”

I tell him that’s because you can’t buy a pop with a $5 bill. He really wants that pop though, because his next question is, “Well, do you have two dollar bills I could trade?”

I try to explain to him that not all dollar bills are created equal and if I trade him two $1 bills for his $5 bills, he will actually lose money. But he really wants that pop. Eventually, I just give in and hand over a dollar for him and a dollar for his brother (so much for the eating on $1 idea, right?)

The whole situation reminded me of a Shel Silverstein poem:

Smart

My dad gave me a dollar
`Cause I’m his smartest son
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
`Cause two is more than one!

And then I took the quarters
And traded them to Lou
For three dimes — I guess he don’t know
That three is more than two!

Just then, along came old blind Bates
And just ‘cause he can’t see
He gave me four nickels for my three dimes,
And four is more than three!

And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
Down at the feed-seed store,
And the fool gave me five pennies for them,
And five is more than four!

And then I went and showed my dad,
And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head —
Too proud of me to speak!

Luckily, he asked me not someone who would rip him off.

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