When you are young, people will often tell you: "look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves". This is a stupid phrase invented by parents to stop children spending their money on anything fun.
As you get older, the value of a few pence is presented in more emotive terms. Pennies can, we are told, change the world. Lenny Henry will say "ooh three pence can help build a well so that some people in Ethiopia can have water for a cup of tea". Someone like Annie Lennox will hold a little dying baby and tell you that "three pence could buy some of a donkey for a village", oblivious to the fact that the kid needs a doctor not a bloody ride up and down the seafront.
For those of us not schooled in the ins and outs of third world economics, it is sometimes more useful to consider these things in 'real terms'. What does three pence actually buy us in the real world?
Well, there is nothing more real than this shocking photograph from a south London branch of Tesco.
'Walk This Way' by Girls Aloud vs Sugababes — £2.97.
'What Will The Neighbours Say?' by Girls aloud — £3.00.
Show'. You get a mention of a gift-wrapped kitty cat on 'Love Machine'.
You also get the alliterative genius of deadlines, diets and devious,
er, men. You get the "ERGHGEGRGEGHHGEGRGHGH" riff in 'Jump'. You get
"listen to the noise that I'm making not the boys on my answerphone".
Any one of those little bits of pop genius is worth three pence in its
It certainly makes you think.