Friday, March 11, 2011

No pennies for your thoughts

Just so you know - I blame you.

Again they are talking about phasing out the penny. Since it costs more than a cent to make a penny and they have to keep making them every year. Like all coins, the penny doesn’t wear out as fast as the paper bills do. This is why we changed from paper ones and twos to the coin loonies and toonies. The problem is people aren’t spending the pennies and putting them back into circulation so there is always a draw on them. This hasn’t been helped by the revisions to the currency act which only allows you to pay up to $0.25 in pennies at a time.

So where are the pennies ending up? Some people keep them in jars or plastic tubs. Some people keep them in big bottles. Some people drop them into penny campaigns or donation boxes.
Me? I keep them in a film canister with my nickels and dimes and use them when I make purchases to ensure the change that I get back works out to even quarters. This usually confuses the clerks who can’t do simple math but often they understand when they punch in the amount and the cash register tells them how much to give back.

I’m also older, so I have memories of the folks getting together to play Michigan Rummy for pennies. This was back when people smoked so I have memories of the top half of the room being filled with blue-grey smoke. We all kept tubs of pennies to be able to use to play. I keep meaning to get people together and play again – it’s more an excuse to hang out and chat but the money kept it fun. We had tried it with nickels two decades ago when we were younger but losing up to $2 in pennies wasn’t that much while losing $8 in nickels was more noticeable.

The concept on phasing out the penny only affects those people who pay by cash. People paying by cheque, credit cards or debit would pay the actual total. People paying cash would have their total rounded down to the nearest nickel if the total ended in .01, .02, .06, or .07 and rounded up if it ends in .03, .04, .08, and .09.
If you are for this plan then you don’t have to do anything. If you’d rather that they don’t phase out the penny, then start using some of yours. Or roll some and cash them in to the bank. Or, at the very least, get a baggie of 20 or 50 or so and donate them the next chance you get – most stores and malls have a bin for some cause, as does the zoo, museum, planetarium, and so on. It’s not that hard to get rid of them if you really try.

I’m doing my part. If we lose the penny, I blame you.

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