Example: [Collected via e-mail, June 2009]
Origins: While most Christians appear to take 666, the putative "number of the Beast," with a grain of salt and even feel quite comfortable making jokes about it, there are those to whom it's no fit matter for levity. Those of such persuasion will, as a matter of course, spurn (or at least think twice about) transactions that would require them to handle sums of money totaling of $6.66.
According to traditional interpretations of the Bible, 666 is the mark of the Antichrist, a figure who will appear at the end of times to lead an army of followers into battle against the faithful:
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred, threescore and six.
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Consequently, some people are reluctant (even extremely so) to handle sums of $6.66, either as amounts they're disbursing or as change being received (e.g., the residue of a
While such trepidation may be far from commonplace, it does exist, as these examples demonstrate:
Well, i used to work as a checker at a supermarket in Pennsylvania. Sometimes i'd ring up an order that totalled $6.66, and often the customer would tell me to add a packet of gum or something... anything to change the total!
[The New York Times, August 1997]
The other day I was in that agora of Southern life, the
[Collected on the Internet, January 1998]
heh, funny thing was at my job, there was this freaky bible thumper woman who worked as a cashier, she was so into Christian Supremacy it was starting to scare me. Then one day she got a total of $6.66 on an order and had a nervous breakdown.
[Collected on the Internet, April 2000]
About 12 years ago, when I was a cashier in a
[Vallejo Times Herald, June 2006]
Take it from a guy who grabs a box of
[Collected on the Internet, June 2006]
I was in a supermarket check-out line and the total bill of the woman ahead of me came to $6.66 US and the poor dear nearly flipped. She immediately made another purchase so that it was over seven dollars and not those bad three sixes.
The grocery bill was 36.66 and the mother said "Quick! Add on something else". and grabbed some gum to alter the total.
It's a seemingly little thing to do, and possibly quite laughable to many. Yet there will always be those who will not feel comfortable taking any sort of gamble where the Antichrist is potentially concerned.
Barbara "speaking of gambling, the sum of the numbers on a roulette wheel (1 to 36) total 666" Mikkelson
Last updated: 8 June 2009
Heinen, Tom. "6-6-06: More Superstition Than Premonition." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 5 June 2006 (p. A1). Judge, Dan. "Three Numbers and Our Reaction." Vallejo Times Herald. 11 June 2006. Plunket, Robert. "Where Sin Is Taken Seriously." The New York Times. 17 August 1997 (p. D15).