Disgruntled man delivers 298,745 pennies to DMV

Workers at the Department of Motor Vehicles can expect more than a penny for this Virginia man's thoughts.

Nick Stafford made a spectacle in the DMV office in Lebanon, Virginia, when he carted in five wheelbarrows of pennies to pay a sales tax on two vehicles.

"If they were going to inconvenience me, then I was going to inconvenience them," Stafford told the Bristol Herald Courier.

Stafford was peeved with the DMV, he told the local paper. Back in September, when he reached out to the Lebanon DMV for information about which of his four houses to file for licensing his son's car, he was rerouted to another office in Richmond.

Related: 30 surprising ways to use pennies

30 surprising ways to use pennies (GOBankingRates.com)
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30 surprising ways to use pennies (GOBankingRates.com)

1. Fix a Wobbly Kitchen Table

A kitchen table that wobbles at the slightest touch can make a meal anything but enjoyable. Stack a few pennies underneath the table leg triggering the problem.

“I use pennies to keep our kitchen table even,” said Garrett Mehrguth, CEO of the digital agency Directive Consulting. “I found that a penny is a lot cheaper than a new table.”

Photo credit: iStock.com/stevecoleimages

2. Donate a Jar of Pennies to Charity

If you can't remember the last time you made a charitable donation, then you're probably overdue for one.

“Save pennies in a large container, and when it is full you can donate the money to a charity,” said Jacqueline Frances Brownstein, a freelance copyeditor, proofreader and indexer. “It might not be much, but many charities would appreciate a donation in any amount.”

Related: 16 Money-Saving Apps for 2016

Photo credit: iStock.com/SensorSpot

3. Check Your Tire Tread

Checking the condition of your tires is easier than you think. Simply hold a penny with President Lincoln's head facing downward and place it in the groove of the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln's face, the tread depth is too low, and it is time to replace your tires.

Photo credit: iStock.com/buyit

4. Create a Makeshift Screwdriver

If you don't have your toolbox handy, grab a spare penny to use as a makeshift screwdriver. The penny comes in handy for tightening or loosening screws. You can also use this coin to open the battery compartment of electronic toys and other items.

Photo credit: iStock.com/davewhitney

5. Frame a Mirror

Get creative and frame a boring mirror with pennies. Simply glue clean pennies to the frame of a mirror — or onto a frameless mirror — and add a touch of elegance to your space.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Bans Muratoglu

6. Decorate a Vase

Pennies can also add style and texture to a bland vase. You can leave each penny as-is or prime and paint the coins to add a touch of color.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Sveti

7. Fill a Sock for Self-Defense

If you want to protect yourself without a pocketknife or firearm, fill a sock with pennies and carry it around in your purse or backpack. The weight of the pennies will deliver a painful blow.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Stanislav Fadyukhin

8. Preserve Your Flowers

There's an easy and affordable way to extend the life of that supermarket bouquet. Simply drop a clean, pre-1985 penny and a sugar cube in a flower vase filled with water. The copper in the penny will inhibit the growth of bacteria and keep your roses beautiful longer.

Photo credit: iStock.com/chinaface

9. Keep Curtains Straight

To stop your curtains from swinging wildly when the windows are open, make a homemade curtain weight by gluing a stack of pennies to a paperclip. Place the pennies in the open hem of your curtain and use the paperclip to secure them in place.

Photo credit: iStock.com/JackF

10. Make Your Own Washer for Home Projects

You can easily turn a penny into a washer for home repair projects. Use a metal drill bit to punch holes in the pennies and create all the washers you need for a fraction of the cost of buying them in hardware stores.

Photo credit: iStock.com/SensorSpot

11. Open a Soda Can

Don’t break a nail while opening that soda can. Instead, use a penny to pry open the top. Sliding the coin underneath the pull tab will provide enough leverage to open the can with ease.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Ekaterina Minaeva

12. Create an Ice Pack

Place pennies in a sock and tie the end closed with fabric. Keep the sock in the freezer. After an injury, remove the sock from the freezer and use it as a handy ice pack.

Photo credit: iStock.com/JackF

13. Use as Tile Spacers

Home improvement projects can be more expensive than anticipated. However, you can cut costs by using pennies in place of plastic tile spacers when installing tile in the home.

Photo credit: iStock.com/AndreyPopov

14. Save a Bottle of Wine

If your wine develops an unpleasant smell, don't pour the bottle down the drain. Instead, drop a penny in a glass of the wine and stir for a few minutes. The copper produces an odorless compound called copper sulfide, which saves your wine by eliminating that burnt, rubbery or rotten egg smell.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Petar Chernaev

15. Make a Penny Ring

If you're crafty and like DIY jewelry, consider turning a single penny into a cocktail ring. You only need wires, small pliers, superglue, rhinestone trim and, of course, a clean, shiny penny.

Photo credit: iStock.com/AnnaMariaThor

16. Make a Penny Necklace

If you love your penny ring, consider creating a necklace to match your creation. You can rest assured knowing the pieces you make will be one of a kind.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Cronislaw

17. Replace Your Old Kitchen Countertop

Laminate and granite aren't the only options for coating your counters. For a unique look in your kitchen, design a penny-covered countertop or even a penny tabletop. Simply attach a piece of wood to the original counter surface and then glue clean pennies on top. Once the glue dries, apply a coat of epoxy.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Cronislaw

18. Design a Backsplash

You can use pennies to make a unique and attractive backsplash in your kitchen. A custom design will command attention while protecting your wall from cooking splatter.

Photo credit: iStock.com/-Oxford-

19. Make a Doorstop

Make a decorative doorstop using pennies and a pretty sock. Fill the sock with pennies and then tie the end with eye-catching fabric or rope. You can even dye or paint the sock for a unique design.

Then place the sock in front of a door to keep it open.

Photo credit: iStock.com/scpist

20. Get Rid of Carpet Indentations

After rearranging your furniture, spray the carpet with a little water and rub it gently with a clean penny. The rubbing motion will loosen the carpet and remove any indentations caused by the furniture.

Photo credit: iStock.com/AndreyPopov

21. Make a Coaster

Protect your table from spills and beautify your living space with penny coasters. All you have to do to make these knick-knacks is layer pennies on a cork frame and glue them down.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Paul Bastin

22. Create a Garden Ball

Pennies can also liven up your garden. Just glue pennies to an old bowling ball and then display the shiny creation in your yard for all to see. You can also prime and paint the ball for a more colorful design.

Photo credit: iStock.com/fotolinchen

23.  Design Wall Art

Using old pennies, you can create a design on a blank canvas. Glue the pennies in place and, once the art dries, frame and display the piece in your home or office.

Photo credit: iStock.com/andresr

24. Create Fun Party Favors

If you don't want too much sugar in your party favors, wrap small stacks of pennies in plastic and tie the ends with a bow. Give the pennies to your child's friends as gifts, assuming they are age appropriate and not a choking hazard.

Photo credit: iStock.com/vitapix

25. Play a Penny Stacking Game

If your kids are bored, consider teaching them to play a penny stacking game. Grab a jar of pennies and have them take turns stacking pennies on top of one another. The person who causes the tower to fall loses the game.

Photo credit: iStock.com/vgajic

26. Search for Buried Treasure

Bury a bunch of pennies in a sandbox and have your children search for buried treasure. This is also an excellent game to play at a birthday party. Give a prize to the kid that collects the most pennies.

Photo credit: iStock.com/Vladimir Popovic

27. Take Pennies to an Amusement Park

Grab a handful of pennies if you're planning to visit an amusement park or zoo. Once you reach your destination, search for a machine that elongates pennies and stamps them with the name of the attraction. You'll have a great, affordable souvenir to remember your visit.

Photo credit: iStock.com/AleksandarNakic

28. Pay a Debt

If you owe someone money, and you want to get under his or her skin, pay the person back in pennies. While the individual might make a fuss, there’s no rule that says you have to repay a debt with dollar bills.

Photo credit: iStock.com/-zlaki-

29. Make Tap Shoes for Your Kids

Surprise your kids with their own tap shoes. Grab an old pair of shoes and glue several pennies to the bottom of the soles. Then, start dancing.

Photo credit: iStock.com/nata_zhekova

30. Invest in the Stock Market

Invest your pennies in the stock market using an investing app such as Acorns. After linking up a debit or credit card, you can authorize the app to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar. Acorns will automatically invest your spare change.

Related: 10 Good Investments for Risk-Takers

Photo credit: iStock.com/NexTser


So, he filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to receive a direct number for the Lebanon office. He contacted the office to find that the number wasn't intended for public use. Still, after several calls, his licensing question was answered.

Stafford then requested the direct numbers to the other nine local DMVs - which he says the Lebanon office denied him.

He went to court to obtain the other numbers.

After filing three lawsuits against the actual DMV, and two specific employees at the Lebanon DMV, Stafford's lawsuits were dismissed by request of the state once a representative provided him with a list of the requested numbers.

"The phone numbers are irrelevant to me," Stafford said. "I don't need them. I told the judge 'I think I proved my point here.'"

SEE ALSO: Man uses common cents, pays for speeding ticket with 22,000 pennies

"I think the backbone to our republic and our democracy is open government and transparency in government and it shocks me that a lot of people don't know the power of FOIA," he said.

But the cherry on top was Stafford's final game move. Stafford paid eleven people $440 to help him scatter hundreds of rolls of pennies into five wheelbarrows he purchased for $400.

He then rolled the 1,600 pounds of pennies into the Lebanon office to satisfy his $2,987.14 sales tax debt to the DMV.

And workers at the local DMV had to spend hours counting the pennies by hand after jamming the coin counting machine.

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