Years later, Batten reflected on the founder's eccentricities with money. "He could give away millions, yet leaving a reasonable tip was just something Mr. Penney couldn't do. He had built his company on thrift, and waste was anathema to himwhich blinded him to certain civilities. In the little day-to-day things he was very tight, some would say cheap.
"There are a lot of stories like this one I heard from Walt Neppl.  In 1952, when Neppl was first man at the big, new Denver store, Mr. Penney showed up early one morning for a program in his honor . He was carrying a satchel and said to Walt, ˜They charge too much for laundry at the hotel. Where can I get this laundry done? So, in the middle of this gleaming new Penney department store, they start honoring our founder as Walt sends somebody out with his laundry!
"But the big picture? Remember, Penney was the godfather of profit sharing. If you produced, you did very well. He was ˜The Man with 1,000 Partners, and they all got rich. So in the really important things he was completely open and very generous.
"And, oh my, what a judge of character. I've never known anyone who was more interested in people, really interested in learning about people than Mr. Penney. Nor have I known anyone I thought was a better judge of character than Mr. Penney. He almost seemed to have a sixth sense evaluating people."
 Penney president, 19771982.