Well-known billionaire cashes 13-cent check

Back in 1990, Spy magazine conducted an experiment in "comparative chintziness." Its goal was to find out "Who is America's cheapest zillionaire?" Or, put another way, "how cheap are the rich?"

To determine this they sent various rich people each a check for 13 cents, and then waited to see who would actually cash such a tiny check. Two people did: Donald Trump and the Saudi Arabian businessman Adnan Khashoggi.

And yes, they made sure to send the checks to the home addresses of the rich people, and not to their accountants. So that the recipient would have to do a little bit of work to cash the check.

Springfield News-Leader - June 6, 1990

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 28, 2016
     Category: Money | 1990s

Now that is the type of penny pinching we need in the Goverment.
Posted by RobK on 09/28/16 at 10:32 AM
How do you think he got to be a billionaire? He understands the value of money. Every government worker and career politician I've ever met has absolutely no idea of its value. It's just something they file a another form to get. If my choice is electing a penny-pincher or a proven thief, I'll take the former every time.
Posted by A Nonny Mouse on 09/28/16 at 12:13 PM
Did they think rich people open their own mail, even at home? It probably never got within 30 feet of him.
Posted by Phideaux on 09/28/16 at 12:22 PM
(Let me begin by saying that I will not vote for Trump in the coming election.)

Just think: getting paid 13 cents to sign your name.
Say it takes the average person 4 seconds to sign their name. That's 15 signatures per minute, 900 per hour. 900 x .13 = $117.
Who in their right mind would pass up and opportunity to earn $117 per hour, sitting down in the comfort of their own home?

Smart people cash all their checks, no matter the amount.
Posted by Jessica on 09/28/16 at 12:23 PM
So... Donald Trump values his autograph at 13 cents?

Well... With inflation 25 cents now a days.

I mean, I'll take a quarter to sign my name but this is a guy who claims to be making (476 million bucks a year divided by 525,600 minutes a year) 906 dollars every minute he is breathing, which is 60 dollars every 4 seconds.

Spending that 4 seconds for that quarter is a terrible return on his time when he could be making $59.75 more by just doing what he normally does.
Posted by Fluffy Bunny Slippers on 09/28/16 at 03:22 PM
It was said that Israeli General Moshe Dayan, hero of the Six-Day War, would buy antiquities, and pay by check. Many of the store owners would rather have a Moshe Dayan autograph than the money, so they didn't cash the check, and, in effect, Dayan got an ancient artifact in exchange for a few seconds of his time.

I'm sure we all can see eye-to-eye on that.
Posted by Joshua Zev Levin, Ph.D. on 09/28/16 at 04:07 PM
@Fluffy Bunny Slippers - The article specifies that Kashoggi personally endorsed his check, implying that Trump did not. Trump no doubt had someone who opened his mail at home, takes anything that needed his direct attention (personal correspondence and the like) and directed it to him, takin anything else and forwarding it where ever it needed to go. Checks would go to accountants. Post 9/11 (and particularly after the 2001 Anthrax attacks) most well known people have their mail sent to clearing houses and don't receive anything at home that hasn't been thoroughly checked first.

Even Kashoggi was probably handed a stack of checks and just endorsed them without bothering to turn them over and look. Just a different way of doing business for him than for Trump. There's really nothing to read into this little experiment except that it's amusing and interesting.
Posted by PupTentacle on 09/28/16 at 05:38 PM
I once got a refund check from Bank of America for $0.02 on a closed account. I kept it instead of cashing it since it was so ridiculous.
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 09/28/16 at 06:14 PM
Leon Hess, owner of Hess Oil Co. and the NY Jets, Mets, and Nets, one day ran the calcs like Fluffy Bunny Slippers did (above), and was suprised to find out how much $ he was losing unwrapping his cigars. So he found someone else in his Manhattan office to do that for him. Years later, I ended up working with one employee that did that task, a very qualified engineer. He said that part of his job was dumb, but I should have seen the seats he got at any sporting event, the symphony, or NYC restaurant -- and the tickets were always free, of course.

Posted by Virtual on 09/28/16 at 10:24 PM
The Moshe Dayan story reminds me of a story I heard about Picasso. Later in his career he lived in a small town. He often paid for groceries, car work, home repairs with small drawings he did on the spot. Recipients were glad to take them as a drawing by Picasso was likely worth far more than the bill.
Posted by Jim on 09/29/16 at 08:56 AM
I've got no love for Trump, but for the record, actors cash tiny royalty checks like that all the time. I know the situation is different, but this was a bit of a hit piece. Plus I guarantee if you sent the Clinton Foundation a 13 cent check, they would totally cash it. LOL
Posted by GUEST on 09/30/16 at 09:26 PM
Joshua: "Eye-to-eye"? Really?
Posted by tadchem on 10/03/16 at 04:03 AM
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