The cashier said “Two ninety nine,”
and I handed him three bills.
He handed me back the milk
and, when I hadn’t left,
asked, “Do you want a receipt?”
“No,” I said.

“Do you need a bag?”
“No,” I said.
“You gave me three dollars,” he said.
It took him another minute
to wonder, “Do you want your change?”
“Yeah,” I said, and received my penny.
He chuckled
as if I was small
but why should I
pay more than I need to
further fill Seven Eleven’s coffers
and leave him an uneven till at the end of his shift?
It seemed dumb all around.

I think the businesses are conspiring
to cheat us more
than they ever were.
I will not be called petty
in my quest for a penny.
I deserve it.
It is only in this way
I can be
a member of the One Cent.

About Jonathan Berger

I used to write quite a bit more.
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