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This is a Comedy Trope where a character or characters try to buy some item (which is normally at least somewhat expensive), and tries to do so with nothing more than a few pennies of spare change, or lint, or some sort of ineffectual barter. Usually this trope is invoked just after the seller has told the character all he has to offer, all the options and all the flexibility in deal making. Either out of desperation or out of a literal interpretation of the idea of making a deal, the character then makes his own pitch, almost ALWAYS starting with the phrase, "What can I get for..."
Generally, the seller then either kicks them out of the store, or sells them something that wasn't in his list of options he gave before, and the item in question is either of questionable quality or is a poor facsimile of whatever product he was selling.
Not to be confused with lint as an actual, valuable commodity.
- In a commercial for the McDonald's Dollar Menu, a guy goes to various places to find out what he can get for a dollar.
- In the movie of The Little Rascals, the gang tries to buy materials from a lumber yard to rebuild their clubhouse, but run into a small snag- they only have a few dollars (which they assume is more than enough) which is enough for a piece of wood the size of a dollar note.
You know what they say; wood doesn't grow on trees...
- In I'm Gonna Git You Sucka Chris Rock appears at Hammer & Slammer's BBQ joint. Since an order of ribs costs $2.50 and you get 5 ribs, he orders 1 rib for 50 cents. They reluctantly agree, then Rock pulls outt a huge roll of cash and asks for change for a $100 bill. Rock later recycled the character when he was on In Living Color and Saturday Night Live.
- In the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy and her Valley Girl friends watch Pike and his buddy deposit a handful of change on the table at a diner and ask if the amount is sufficient for pie.
- In Bubble Boy, as Jimmy tries to get a bus ticket with a small amount of change, the man at the ticket booth tells him to take a step back to show that it's all he could afford with it.
Live Action Television
- In an homage to the above, the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Two premiere "Anne" showed Buffy working as a waitress; two young runaways who spent all their money on matching tattoos deposit a handful of change on the table and ask if it will get them anything.
- In the song "One Meatball", a man has fifteen cents, and buys one meatball at a restaurant. He is refused bread to go with it.
- Seen in the Brawl in the Family strip where Bowser gets his flying clown car.
- Subverted in Awkward Zombie here.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang, who only has three copper pieces, tries to haggle with a pirate who is selling a waterbending scroll for 100 gold pieces. He offers one copper piece. Then, okay, how about two copper pieces? (He gets kicked out of the shop.)
- Implied in an episode of Family Guy where the family is stranded in another country without money--they go to the black market to be smuggled back into America, where there's a sign already posted that they do not except lint or bits of string as payment.
- In an episode of Camp Lazlo, Scoutmaster Lumpus attempts to pay a restaurant bill with the contents of the Bean Scouts' pockets: buttons, lint, string, a frog...