MAKING MONEY IN THE DORM:
Our particular dorm wing at BYU seemed to have an inordinate number of non-Mormons. We often wondered amongst ourselves if that had been planned to keep an eye on us and to have us close at hand for proselytizing. Some of us were less than serious students and others were at the school because of its academic reputation. Two roommates were from The Bronx, New York. They seemed to be much worldlier than the other non-LDS boys and they were always broke. In fact, the one who was mpore blatant about hustling money was given the monicker, "Benny the Leech." (in photo: Second row from top, sixth from the right - next to the guy with the sport coat). They regularly tried unconventional methods of providing for spending money, from hanging a cigar box on their door with a note that read, “Feeling That Financial Squeeze. Please Donate,” to finding their way down into the basement storage room where the dorm residents stored anything and everything that would not fit in their dorm room. The Utah boys were a trusting lot and rarely checked up on their property. At year’s end when they went to retrieve bicycles, lamps, or just about anything else that could be pawned or sold, and found them missing, Benny and his roommate were long gone and there was no actual proof that they had been the culprits.
Benny and his roommate discovered another interesting way to literally make money. They collected pennies, mostly donations from the box on their door. Pennies have a small ridge around the edge and somehow the Boys from the Bronx discovered that by filing the ridge off then filing a little from the face and the tail of the penny, it would become roughly the size and shape of a dime. Of course, nobody, not even the most naïve country boy from Utah would confuse a filed down penny for a dime, but the vending machines would.
Vending machines in the lounge area of each dorm, as well as those in the dining center commons dispensed milk and snacks. Each item cost a nickel so if a person inserted a dime they would get a product as well as a nickel change. I’m not sure how long the scam worked but many is the night that the Boys from the Bronx circulated amongst all the dorm study areas selling milk and snacks two for the price of one. The scam continued undetected – or at least unsolved, until the end of the school year. Campus Security only figured it out after Benny’s dorm room had been vacated and the cleanup crew reportedly walked into a room that was ankle deep in copper dust.