Hey, feel free to pitch in

Have you ever – strictly for fun, of course – tossed a coin into a wishing well or fountain? And, if so, have you wondered how much cash accumulates in such water in the course of a year? The folks at Teamspirit, a financial services marketing agency, decided it was time to find out. Now, Teamspirit is based in London, and its study was confined to Britons, 1 in 5 of whom (on average) "regularly" tosses or drops a coin when the opportunity arises, according to what may be history's first report on the subject. Running the numbers, Teamspirit's researchers, have come up with an estimate of $6 million as the combined value of all that money, at least at tourist sites such as the world-famous Trevi Fountain in Rome. But it wasn't enough just to undertake the study. Because that's no small change, the company also called for the "profits" from all those wells and fountains to be used for "good causes." It would be "very rewarding," a senior executive said, if the "thrill of making a secret wish" were combined with "the knowledge that your money is going to help others." Well, it turns out that it already is. Roughly $4,000 a day is fished out of the Trevi Fountain, and the city, a charity, and a supermarket chain jointly have announced plans to use it to fund a project in which the city's poor can shop free of charge.

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