You don't normally tell the TSA agent, “Keep the change,” since government pat-downs fall pretty short of an actual massage. But, in fact, those coins you leave behind gotta go somewhere -- and all that orphaned money added up quite handsomely for the government agency last year.
In 2014 alone, the TSA collected $675,000 in spare change, and that cash flow has been steadily increasing. The previous year, TSA pocketed just $638,000, making for a year-over-year increase of about 6%. But where does all the money go?
According to the Huffington Post, all spare change is documented and then goes directly to the TSA Financial Office, which means absent-minded travelers are basically buying rubber gloves and those weird hand swabs, but definitely not more smiles. Those were not in the TSA's budget.