No Change for Ray

Nov 24, 2003

RAY: Last week, we had just finished the show, and Tommy and I were leaving the building. We were walking by the official NPR-sanctioned vending machines, with granola bars and the like. I had a hankering for a candy bar. I reached into my pocket, and, luckily, I had a dollar bill.

As I approached the machine with my crisp dollar bill, I notice the thing says, "Exact Change Only." The candy bar I wanted was 95 cents.

I turn to Tommy, and I say, "Can you break a buck?"

Tommy reaches into his pocket, and says, "I know I have 6 coins. The 6 coins add up to $1.15. But I can't make change for a dollar."

I say, "Huh? Can you make change for half a dollar?"

Tommy says, "No."

I then ask, "Can you make change for a quarter?"

Tommy says, "No, I can't do that either."

"How about a dime?"


"A nickel?"


So, I say, "Can you just buy me the candy bar?" To which Tommy replies, "No, I can't do that, either."

The question is, what were the 6 coins in Tommy's pocket?


RAY: Before anyone gets his tights in a bunch, I just want to say that these are all American coins, currently in circulation and there were no subway tokens involved.

You need to know that vending machines do not take 50 cent pieces.

Tommy has a 50 cent piece, a quarter and four dimes. You can't make change for a quarter. You can't make change for a dollar. You can't make change for a nickel or a dime.

I will admit, I haven't checked every vending machine on the planet but I did check several, and none of them would take a 50 cent coin.

TOM: I will give you a little hint though. They will take 50 cents if you turn them upside down.

RAY: Who's our winner?

TOM: The winner is Sandy Warner from Fish Haven, Idaho.

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