Sunday, May 03, 2009

Penny Protest

I hate pennies. Some might even call me a rabid anti-pentite (not to be confused with anti-dentites). Nothing makes me madder than to come up a penny short and have some numbnuts sales clerk force me to break out another dollar. Sweet, 99¢ in change!

John Fund writes:

Pennies are a nuisance that is proliferating. This year, the Mint will churn out nine billion of them. That exceeds twice the annual output of all other coins combined. Production is up in part because of hoarding, in part because more and more people are throwing them in jars or drawers and never taking them out again. Few people now bother to pick up a penny when they see it on the street. It's simply not worth the effort. More and more litter on our streets now consists of pennies.

A growing number of experts are concluding the penny is too picayune to bother with.
Yeah, I would total agree with that if only I knew what picayune meant.

A penny now costs more than a 1¢ to make and a penny costs more than a penny for retailers to handle. You cannot legally pay someone to pick pennies up as a full time job for if you were able to spot and pick up a penny every 5 seconds for an hour you would have just $7.20, less than the new minimum wage.

Thankfully Greg Mankiw points out a potential solution to end this national nightmare from Al Lewis:
Retailers should simply round down the total checkout tally for cash purchasers and not handle pennies at all. There will be no need for pennies in change and anyone who wants to use pennies to pay, can put them in a charity jar instead. The first retailer to do this will reap a PR bonanza and others will quickly follow. Within a couple of years, retailers who don’t round down will be as rare as those who don’t accept credit cards. Not getting pennies in change, like being able to pay with credit cards, will be considered a birthright.
Sounds good to me. They should put a sign in their window: Anti-pentites welcome. I would go way out of my way to shop at such merchants.

Even better than the concept is the news that the penny protest has become a reality in Concord, MA.
Among the other West Concord businesses to join the Penny-Anti Protest are Concord Outfitters, Reflections, Phillips Fine Paint, West Concord Supermarket, West Concord Liquors, Walden Italian Kitchen, Twin Seafood and The Barber Shop. Others are considering it.

Early this week, the protest began to spread to Concord Center as well, with Anderson’s, Sally Anne’s, The Concord Flower Shop, and Country Kitchen also on board.
Time to check on airline prices because I am going to have to move.

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