Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Pinching Abe's argument for getting rid of the penny

Rainy Day fund?

Pennies --- I love to pinch them!  But do we really need them anymore?  Here are my arguments for retiring those copper colored coins that are now showing up on people's floors as a unique accent to a room instead of in circulation.

1.  There's no ¢ key on a keyboard anymore.  Back when I was typing on a manual typewriter, there was an actual key for a cent sign.  Not on modern computers!  Computer companies don't want pennies either.  Just adding that cent sign in this post took me having to open Word, get to a font that had the cent sign where I could type Alt + 0162, and then I had to copy and paste.  That's a lot of work for one character. 

2.  Kids are the only ones that pick them up off the ground.  I recently watched a show where pennies were dropped at an intersection and no one stopped to pick them up.  When a gallon of gas or milk costs close to $4 a gallon, a penny just doesn't go far enough to be worth bending over for.  Older kids are pretty smart too --- if the Tooth Fairy put a penny under their pillow, they'd feel ripped off. They want dollars these days.  Inflation has made the penny nearly worthless.

3.  Economic sense dictates we stop minting them.  It costs 2.4 cents to make a penny, according to this article over at CNN Money.  (A nickel costs 11.4 cents to make --- yikes!)   When you lose money making a product in the normal market place, you go out of business eventually because you simply cannot sustain the loss.  If it costs you twice as much to make something as it is worth, you should probably consider getting rid of them all together.  Even Canada has gone penny free --- perhaps we should follow our Northern neighbors' lead on money.  

4.  Pennies end up in donation jars (a good thing!) and piggy banks.  One of the main reasons my dad never minded us taking the pennies out of the change he dumped on his dresser each night is because even way back then, pennies weren't worth much to him.  Do you really need more than 4 pennies to give exact change?  Cashiers aren't thrilled when you whip out your pennies to pay for goods at the grocery store.  Customers roll their eyes when the little old lady plops down her change purse and starts fishing out pennies because it will lighten her purse the fastest if she uses them to pay. They have become a nuisance.  When I worked retail, I hated counting pennies at the end of the day.

5.  You can't use them in pop machines or virtually any other machine other than those penny squishing machines at tourist sites (plus you must pay in addition to providing your own penny to have a picture of Niagara Falls embossed on the permanently flattened (and no longer usable) penny.

6.  Rather than mint more, I'd rather have have banks beg for me to raid my piggy banks than to have our government waste funds making more of something that will likely just end up in a.... piggy bank. A quick search of "penny shortage" brings up articles from 1999 like this one.  Nothing more recent.  If there's no shortage, let's try not minting more or at the very least, asking Americans to pony them up to banks to get enough into circulation so that we don't need to be making more.

7.  What costs just one penny?  Back when I was a kid, there actually was penny candy.  Now?  Not so much.  I can't remember the last time I saw a gumball machine that took pennies.  If you can't even spend a penny on one item, you don't need it anymore.

What's your take on pennies?  Pinching Abe admittedly does have a rather large collection herself.  I've saved my birth year pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters since high school --- so over 20 years!  Early 70s coins are getting harder to come by these days, though!

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