A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 08, 2009
“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”

"if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” means that if you pay a small amount ("peanuts"), you don’t get very good workers ("monkeys"). “Peanuts” has long been in American slang, meaning “a small amount.” “Monkey” has had several slang meanings, often representing “nonsense.”

Despite the American slang origins of these words, the phrase’s earliest citations in the 1960s and 1870s are mostly from England. the phrase is first cited in print by Leslie Coulthard in 1966.


The Free Dictionary
If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
something that you say which means that only stupid people will work for you if you do not pay very much
‘This company is full of incompetents!’ ‘Well, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.’
Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006.

Answers.com
Proverbs: If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys
Peanuts in the sense of ‘a small sum of money’ (esp. when considered as inadequate payment) originated as mid 20th-cent. US slang.

Shareholders want the best available businessmen to lead the companies and recognise that you get what you pay for. If you pay in peanuts, you must expect to get monkeys.
[1966 L. Coulthard in Director Aug. 228]
‘That’s forty thousand we’re giving away. Seems an awful lot.’ ‘If you pay peanuts,’ said Ashman, ‘you get monkeys.’
[1979 P. Alexander Show me Hero iii.]
The companies’ chief negotiator‥was greeted with shouts of ‘if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’.
[1979 Guardian 11 Sept. 30]
‘How much is‥this photo-enhancement going to cost my client?’ ‘A bundle. ‥But in my experience, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.’
[1994 S. Reuben Origin and Cause xvii. 107]

Google Books
Wordsworth Dictionary of Proverbs
By George Latimer Apperson and M. Manser
Published by Wordsworth Editions
2003
Pg. 448:
If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
The saying is said to be English, although “peanuts” was originally American slang for a small amount of money—or, in this case, the low wages that will only attract low-grade workers.
1966: L Coulthard, in Director, Aug., 228, Shareholders want the best available businessmen to lead the companies and recognize that you get what you pay for. If you pay in peanuts, you get monkeys.

3 September 1966, Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada) Free Press, Saturday Magazine, pg. 26, col. 8:
If you pay in peanuts, you must expect to get monkeys.
-- Leslie Coulthard, writing on directors’ salaries.

Google Books
The Nationalized Industries: An Introduction
By William Thornhill
Published by Nelson
1968
Pg. 88:
The colourful remark, “If you pay peanuts you’ll get monkeys,* expressed a good measure of truth.

30 December 1968, Ironwood (MI) Daily Globe, pg. 7, col. 2:
Their policy: “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”
(Marks and Spencer, a London retailer—ed.)

New York (NY) Times
DO LIFEGUARDS DO WHAT THEY’RE PAID TO DO?
By TOM GRIFFITHS; Tom Griffiths, Ed. D., is director of aquatics for the College of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.
Published: Sunday, July 19, 1987
(...)
“When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys,” explained Jim Turner, lifeguard captain at Ship Bottom, most of whose guards make minimum-wage salaries.

Sticker Giant
Text On Product: You pay peanuts, you get monkeys
Copyright: Duck And Cover, 2004
Button buttons pin
Size: 1.25x1.25 inches
Product ID: dcb1812

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Friday, May 08, 2009 • Permalink