8 Weird Money Stories from Around the World

What extremes would you reach for the things money can buy? Would you sell a kidney, pay a hospital bill in pennies, or cough over a thousand for your own stolen jewels?

Here are 8 of the weirdest money stories from around the world:

# 8: Theft Victim Must Pay $1,150 to Recover Stolen Jewels

Theft victim Wendy Kliment

Theft victim Wendy Kliment.

Theft victim Wendy Kliment of Florida was relieved to find her stolen jewelry at a Fort Lauderdale pawn shop.

But she felt like insult was added to injury when the pawn shop owner handed her a bill for $1,150 to reclaim her stolen goods.

“I feel like I’m being victimized twice,” Kliment told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The paper reports:

For his part, pawn shop owner David Selzer said his biggest mistake was “being a nice guy” by showing Kliment the jewelry when she came searching for it the day after her home was ransacked on Valentine’s Day. It’s something he didn’t have to do.

“I felt sorry for her,” said Selzer. “I’ve been a crime victim myself. But why should I be out the $1,150 I paid for the jewelry? I’ve followed the law.”

Kliment later told United Press International that she simply can’t afford the hefty recovery fee:

“If we could afford the $1,100 we’d pay it, but we live paycheck to paycheck,” Kliment said. “We’ve got two mortgages, a 3-year-old in day care.”

#7: Bank Robber Tips the Teller

A man who robbed a South Bend, Indiana bank shocked the teller by handing her a few tens before he fled.

South Bend police say the man in his early 20s told the teller “Here’s some of the tens back … you gave me too many tens” before he ran out of the Fifth Third Bank on Wednesday.

The teller told police she “knew something was wrong” when the robber walked into the bank wearing a sweatshirt, despite the 80 Fahrenheit (26 Celsius) heat, AZ Central reports.

#6: Payday Can Kill You

You might love getting paid — but a new study in the Journal of Public Economics shows that a paycheck can be hazardous to your health.

Economist William Evans from the University of Notre Dame found that mortality rates jump the week after paychecks appear in people’s mailboxes.

Evans and his team studied four demographics: seniors receiving Social Security checks, military families, families getting tax rebates, and Alaskans receiving state government dividend checks, according to MSNBC’s weird health news segment, Body Odd.

“After getting paid, people are just more active — they go out to dinner, head to the store, drive more, go to bars, etc.,” said Evans. “Some of this behavior is inherently risky, like drinking too much or driving drunk. Some of the activity will naturally increase risk — if you drive more, the risk of being in a car accident has increased.”

The three causes of death with the biggest payday spikes are accidents, heart attacks and substance abuse.

#5: Wall Street Manager Keeps $99 Million in Low-Yield Savings

A receipt left at an ATM in East Hampton revealed to the world that hedge-fund manager David Tepper keeps a $99 million balance in his savings account.

According to the Wall Street gossip paper, Dealbreaker, Tepper’s receipt also showed that he paid a $2.75 service charge to withdraw $400 from his $99 million account.

MSNBC reports:

Interest on a savings account is less than one percent, meaning that the account holder is making virtually nothing on his pot of $100 million. He could get at least 3 percent in a Treasury account.

When contacted by the New York Post, Tepper dismissed the story saying he’s too sophisticated a man to leave so much cash in a low-yielding account.

The FDIC only insures up to $250,000 per depositer, per insured bank, for each account. So leaving your ATM receipt at a bank at 10:41 p.m. isn’t exactly the smartest way to protect your account information, which is something you’d think a smart money manager would already know.

#4: Don’t Let God See You Without Mascara

A London company has started selling makeovers to the deceased.

With prices starting at 450 British pounds ($740 U.S. dollars), the “Final Act of Self-Expression” makeover package will apply eyeshadow, fake eyelashes, and even hair highlights to corpses.

So how do you market to the dead? Partner with undertakers, of course! The “Final Act of Self-Expression” is a joint venture between a cosmetics company, Illamasqua, and a popular chain of London undertakers, Leverton and Sons, according to The (London) Sun.

#3: Man Cited for Paying Hospital Bill In Pennies

Remember that famous scene in Confessions of a Shopaholic, in which the main character pays her outstanding debts in coins?

Apparently, you might get arrested if you try that in real life.

Jason West of Vernal, Utah was cited for disorderly conduct after paying a hospital bill with 2,500 pennies. For those of you quick at math, that’s a meager $25.pennies

West apparently disputed the $25 charge and paid in pennies as an act of protest. Assistant Vernal Police Chief Keith Campbell said the action was disorderly because pennies were strewn about the counter and floor — not neatly placed in wrappers.

“We will not tolerate pennies or any other objects being thrown at our employees,” said a statement from the Basin Clinic, which issued the $25 charge.

But West says his protest has been mischaracterized.

“I didn’t at any time yell at them,” West told the Salt Lake City Deseret News. “I didn’t go on a rant. I wasn’t irate.”

West maintains that he calmly asked the billing clerk, “Do you take cash?” …

“She very haughtily said, ‘Well, yes we do,’” West said. “So I said, ‘Lucky for me, I happen to have it on me.”

Some of the coins, he acknowledges, spilled onto the desk below where the receptionist was seated and onto the floor.

“That’s just the nature of pennies,” he said. “They’re round.”

West could be charged with a fine of up to $140, or 14,000 pennies.

#2: Man Gets $330,000 Home for $16

When Kenneth Robinson discovered that a sprawling $330,000 home in a landscaped, wealthy suburb in Flower Mound, Texas had gone into foreclosure, he decided to use a little-known law to his advantage.

Kenneth moved into the living room and filed papers claiming “adverse possession” of the home. For a $16 filing fee, he now has the legally protected right to continue camping in the home, which currently has no electricity, gas or other services.

If he continues to stay there for 3 years, he can file for total ownership of the home.

The neighbors, according to MSNBC, are miffed. They call him a “squatter” and form neighborhood meetings about how to get rid of him.

But everything he’s done is perfectly legal.

#1: Teenager Sells Kidney for iPad 2

Yikes. This one takes consumerism to a whole new level: a 17-year-old in the Anhui Province of China sold his kidney for an iPad 2.
iPad weird stories
The teen, known only by his last name, Zheng, “wanted an iPad 2 but could not afford it,” according to Shanghai Daily. The boy contacted a “broker” (a black market organ dealer) online, who promised him $3,400 for one of his kidneys.

Zheng then traveled to Chenzhou City in Hunan Province, where his right kidney was removed. He earned $3,400, part of which he used to buy an iPad.

When he returned home, though, his mother questioned how he bought the tablet. He confessed to his mom; she (predictably) called the cops. The police are unable to track down the broker. Meanwhile, Zheng is suffering from post-surgery health complications.

According to PC World:

The hospital … was reportedly not qualified to perform an organ transplant. The hospital also claimed they had no knowledge of the surgery, though they did admit to contracting out the urology department to a Fijian businessman. That’s not sketchy at all.

The case remains under investigation, and Zheng’s health continues to deteriorate. Needless to say, Zheng now regrets selling his kidney for an iPad 2.


Want More Fun Stories?

Thanks to bfishadow for the iPad photo.


  1. says

    Those are pretty amusing stories. I had a friend who got a bill from the university for $0.24. Her dad was so annoyed he wrote a note that said something like, “The money you spent on the stamp for this bill could have covered the 24 cents.” and he taped 24 cents to the note. My friend walked it over to the bursar. I thought it was hilarious!

    • says

      @Miss T — thanks!! “Thank the Academy” is a fairly new (a few weeks old) regular feature. Consider it practice for my eventual Academy Award … do they hand those out for blogging yet? :-)

  2. says

    Shouldn’t homeowner’s insurance have covered the cost to recover the jewellery from the pawn shop owner? And really, why shouldn’t the pawn shop owner be paid for the jewellery, assuming he purchased it not knowing it was stolen? He still has a business to run, too. That’s why you buy insurance!

    • says

      @femmefrugality — Make them into BULLETS? Like, for killing people and/or hunting? What a strange thing to do with your ashes … I guess maybe if you were a real hunting enthusiast in your life ….

    • says

      @Alysa – I certainly didn’t expect him to say he wouldn’t do something so — quote — “unsophisticated” as keep all that money in a savings account. What a kick-yourself thing to say right after the world finds proof that it’s exactly what he’s done!

    • says

      @Ashley — LOL! That sounds fun! I once had a server who commented, offhand, how much she loves finding quarters in her pockets right before she’s doing her laundry, because it gives her the sense of “finding free money.” We left her a large tip — all in quarters! (We placed it on the table, though … throwing it would have been more fun!)

  3. says

    I’ve read about #6, with the increase in mortality rates after paydays. I theorize that there are enough people out there who view payday as “reward day”, and go out and treat themselves to crazy activities. Who knows?

    I also heard about item #2 in the list above. Mixed feelings on that one, but the guy appears to have his head in the game – so credit to him for that!

  4. says

    Great crazy stories (the kidney for an iPad 2 tale had me rubbing my eyes for a little while and I’m a little creeped out by the make-up for the deceased enterprise that’s sprung up over here!)

  5. says

    Great and interesting post. I would have thought that owning stolen goods would have required the pawn shop to give up the jewels. I guess the law must not say that in Florida.

  6. says

    So basically, I don’t want to get paid anymore for fear that I’ll die, and I should become a legal squatter to score a $330,000 house. Good advice 😉 Seriously, though, I loved this article!

  7. says

    I had fun reading your article. The first one is an epic. He sells his own organ in exchange for a gadget. Yes, some people are just crazy.

  8. says

    I remember reading about the kidney story, that is crazy and sad that he’s not doing well post surgery. And I feel bad for the woman who lost her jewelry, found it, and then couldn’t afford to get it back. What a burn! -Sydney

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