If you offered me 1 cent to bend over and pick something up, I’d slap you – or – Put an end to Pennies.

a pennyWhile visiting other countries this summer I was amazed at how useful other currencies can be. While sometimes you need a 100 of a given currency to buy some bread, most countries just don’t bother printing/minting units of cash that can’t buy you, say, a piece of candy or one nut. If you can’t buy anything with ‘one’, then the lowest denomination should be 5. For some reason, Canada (and the U.S.) just ignore this, and force us to deal with worthless pennies in the name of keeping transactions accurate to 0.00. I mean, do you really want pennies? Is your life improved by them? Would you feel less rich if you didn’t get pennies back whenever you buy things?

It turns out the Canadian NDP party agrees with me, and has actually proposed legislation to ban the 130 million dollar penny creation and distribution infrastructure. What a good idea, imagine what we could do with 130 million dollars of NOT PENNIES!

Heard about it from this Yahoo News article about a cafe in halifax that has declared itself penny free, rounding transactions up and down as appropriate:

Each purchase is rounded to the nearest five cents – so a coffee that comes to $1.32 would have the customer pay $1.30, while a muffin that costs $1.73 would see the customer shell out the extra two cents.

Perfect. To those who worry that prices will go up to accomodate the new system all I can say is that a price increase of (even) 5 cents on anything you buy is so small that the energy you spent thinking about it is probably worth more.

With the Royal Canadian Mint pumping out about 760 million a year, Aubrey said pennies are a money pit.
“The reason there are so many is because the penny is not used,” Aubrey said.
“Consumers put them in buckets in their houses.”

And because I, like Yahoo News, am not too proud to end with a cheezy one-liner:

“I suggest we hold a birthday party and a funeral simultaneously and not issue any 2009 pennies,” Martin said.
“Making cents just doesn’t make sense anymore,” he said.

(via. mira, CC photo by Dystopos)

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