Ditch the penny – yea or nay?

Canadian Penny  20100526Canada’s getting rid of the penny, and all I can say is it’s about blooming time.

I’ve experienced what I consider two sides of fiscal portability – one year in France, and two years in New Zealand.  In 2004 France, post-franc, the euro coin existed as 1 centime, 2 centimes, 5 centimes, 10 centimes, 20 centimes, 50 centimes, 1 euro, and 2 euros.  And that’s just coins. I don’t know about you, but that’s just ridiculous.

Then three years ago, I went to New Zealand.  10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cent, 1 dollar, and 2 dollars.  That’s it.  So much easier on the wallet, and less of a headache at the cashier.

So the news that Canada will soon be ditching the penny, reducing the number of coins to five (nickel, dime, quarter, loonie, and toonie – that’s one and two dollar coins to any neighbours down south), came as very, very welcome.  I hate the penny.  It adds nothing but trouble.  It weighs down my wallet.  And according to the government, who announced this measure as part of federal budget cuts, it cost 60% more to make the stupid coin than it’s worth.

In this matter, I’m not afflicted by nostalgia.  Nope.  Bye-bye, penny.

Would you miss the penny if it disappeared?

– Jean AAR

8 thoughts on “Ditch the penny – yea or nay?

  1. Tee

    Jean AAR: I hate the penny. It adds nothing but trouble. It weighs down my wallet.

    Exactly my feelings. I hate pennies and wish they’d get rid of them here in the US. I’m not sure how that would work with pricing and change returned to a customer, though. Would they round out a final cost figure of an item after sales tax is applied? I’m sure it could be worked out, but pennies are a nuisance.

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  2. Jean Wan

    In Canada, cash transactions will be rounded to the nearest five. Electronic will remain the same. I think in the fall businesses will no longer receive rolled pennies – they’ll be sent back to the bank and melted down. But customers can still use them.

    As far as I can tell, very, very few Canadians want the penny to remain. Inflation has meant that the penny is losing increasing value. Heck, I still remember when I picked up pennies from the street, because every little bit counted. Now, I rarely bother.

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  3. Tee

    Jean Wan: Inflation has meant that the penny is losing increasing value.Heck, I still remember when I picked up pennies from the street, because every little bit counted.Now, I rarely bother.

    That is so true. As I was reading your blog, that’s exactly what popped into my mind. As a child, I remember passing a couple of candy stores on the walk to school. Couldn’t wait until after school, when they were opened, to buy candy for pennies. So it’s time to move on.

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  4. AARPat

    Thanks for the memories! My uncle owned a general store in rural Louisiana when I was growing up. He had a penny candy section with everything from huge gumballs (1 penny) to tiny hard candy (5 for a penny). I remember my grandmother (Nana) giving each of us kids a penny and us walking to the store debating the merits of buying one gumball which lasted a little under forever or five pieces which could be stretched to all day if you had patience and could withstand temptation.

    My second penny memory is of my mother sitting at penny slot machines feeding coin purses filled with pennies into the machine one at a time. She got an entire afternoon’s enjoyment from leftover pennies.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents worth on this discussion!

    (Memories aside, I think the penny should go too. Sigh. Alas.)

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  5. LinnieGaylAAR

    Another vote for having the penny go. I used to keep all my pennies in big jars and then once a year lug them to the bank and cash them in. Now I can’t be bothered and just add them to the “penny box” or add them to my tip.

    I was recently in Canada and was reminded again how pretty the toonies are! I saved a few this time :)

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  6. Susan/DC

    So will amounts be rounded down as well as up or will, for example, $4.32 become $4.35? My husband never bothers to give exact change for things, so he comes home at night and empties his pockets into a bowl beside the bed. I take all the change and use it, even the pennies — it’s almost like found money for me. I hate the dollar coins. I know they are less expensive in the long run, but they weigh a ton and don’t fit in the zipper compartment of my wallet very well. Although maybe if there are no pennies there would be more room.

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