Canada to stop issuing pennies, businesses told to round off to nearest 5 cents, or "work it out for themselves"

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167 Responses to “Canada to stop issuing pennies, businesses told to round off to nearest 5 cents, or "work it out for themselves"”

  1. mtdna says:

    Of course, they’ll always round down. Right?

    • traalfaz says:

      If they did it wouldn’t be “rounding” it would be truncating.

      This isn’t difficult, and in the end it makes no difference.  There may be some businesses that engineer their pricing structure so that totals tend to be rounded up, but it’s probably just not worth it.

      The NICKEL is worth less now than the half-penny was when the US discontinued that.  IMO we should dump nickels as well.

  2. vickytnz says:

    New Zealand  got rid of their 1 and 2 cent coins in 1990, and so every supermarket checkout ever since has had an explanation of Swedish Rounding (1,2,6,7 go down, others up). In 2006 they even got rid of the 5c coin, and the government advice is to round 5c down.
    However, I have heard exceptions to do with very cheap items like a single mushroom: apparently a guy in Australia ran huge scams by buying mushrooms and the like one at a time and letting the machines round down, so now nothing will round down to zero cents (i.e. free). Could be wrong though.

    • ChicagoD says:

      You mean 1-4 down, 6-9 up, figure 5 out for yourself? Do the Swedes do something different?

      Wiley Swedes.

      • Alex Mauer says:

        No, remember you’re rounding to 5 not 10.  So 11 or 12 cents would go to 10; 16 and 17 would go to 15. Others would of course go up.

      • vickytnz says:

        Sorry, that was badly written. The smallest denomination in Sweden and Australia (and NZ from 1990 to 2006) is a 5 cent coin, so that system is known as Swedish Rounding.
        When NZ got rid of the 5c coin, retailers had to decide whether the 5c went up or down (the rest is fairly self explanatory). Most go down.

        • JonS says:

          Most people in NZ just use eftpos, and that still accepts 1c amounts. And, of course, there are very few prices now that aren,t in round 10c amounts anyway.

          • First Last says:

            Paying with eftpos when I would be rounded up and with cash any time I get rounded down makes me feel a bit August Gorman even if it’s literally only a few cents.

      • Nick Bonzey says:

        They round to the nearest 5, so 1 and 2 round to zero, 3 and 4 round up to 5, 6 and 7 round down to 5, 8 and 9 round up to zero.

    • mtdna says:

      Judging from the comments here, it’s clearly a convenient system!

    • Ian Wells says:

      its made easier here in new zealand because most transactions are on Efpos, not with cash

    • J_france says:

      Still hoping Australia will get rid of the 5c coin.

      Although I cashed mine in recently and got a sizeable amount of cash. But that was after years of putting them in a jar.

      And since most people do use EFTPOS these days, with no minimum limit, it really wouldn’t matter. 

  3. Sarge Misfit says:

    The nickel is our new penny. This move by the government is also a comment on the purchasing power of our currency. I haven’t seen anything being sold for less than a nickel in …. I can’t remember. In fact, can we buy anything now for only a nickel?

    • Sparg says:

       I know stamps can be bought for less than a nickel.

      • Sarge Misfit says:

        Postage stamps? Those are something like 57 cents. … whups, just checked, 61 cents.

        I’ve also realized that this killing of the penny has collateral damage. The penny-loafer. And there’ll be no more penny pinching. And no more buying of cheap thoughts, either. I know mine aren’t worth a nickel.

        Oh, and its going to effect all those kids out there. They’ll never know what “A penny saved is a penny earned” means.

        • J says:

           The cost to mail a letter is 61 cents and while that may be the most common stamp you can certainly buy stamps of a variety of denominations. 

        • freshacconci says:

          You can buy 1 cent stamps. And 2 cent and 5 cent. Depends on what you need to mail and what kind of old stamps you have kicking around. I have all sorts of old stamps and I’m just now combining them for the few actual mailings I still need to do, so I don’t actually have to buy new stamps.

        • You can still buy penny candy in my home town. The general store takes a hit by doing it, but it’s for the kids who are willing to count out the number of pieces they’re buying. If you pay by the pound, it’s much more expensive.

  4. Shane Harvey says:

    What is this ‘cash transaction’ thing you speak off?

  5. Graysmith says:

    Sweden got rid of the last öre coin a couple of years ago, and even though öre still exists on price tags, the sum is either rounded up or rounded down to the nearest whole krona depending on your total. I.e. if you end up with a total of 3.35 SEK it’s rounded down to 3, and vice versa if it’s 3.60 SEK it’ll cost you 4.

    • digi_owl says:

      Norway it doing the same this year. 

    • Aloisius says:

       Interesting. What happens if the price is 0.49 SEK? Is it free?

      • IkeRoberts says:

        That’s seven cents. I don’t think a vendor could afford to offer products that require a seven cent cash transaction. It would be cheaper for them to give it to you for nothing.

      • Graysmith says:

        I don’t think I’ve seen anything cost less than 0.50 SEK since I was a kid, which was a long time ago. The only thing I can think of would be buying by weight, like loose candy or nuts. Then you could arguably buy so very little that you’d get below 0.50.. But I imagine the store would simply say no.

  6. Kevin Pierce says:

    I hope the U.S. follows this example.  

    • traalfaz says:

       We need to ditch the nickel as well.

    • keplers says:

      i wish but i think it’s too progressive for the united states. there’d be a backlash from people sentimental about pennies, people who don’t understand economics, people who support the copper industry, et al. 

      • bcsizemo says:

        Copper…?

        Other than that light spray tan of copper on the outside they haven’t been made out of copper since 1982-ish.

      • Clemoh says:

        You guys are still making copper pennies?  I figured you were like us Canucks, we make them out of steel with a copper plating. For a while in the 90′s and into the 2000′s, we made them out of almost pure zinc, which seems pretty crazy now.

        • traalfaz says:

          Us pennies have been zinc with a copper plating since 1982.
          We wouldn’t go to steel because the US is pretty strict that when coins are re-designed, they maintain the same size, weight and magnetic qualities, so that coin mechanisms don’t have to be replaced (much).  In this case the zinc pennies weigh less but it would be a real problem if they were magnetic since coin mechanisms all exclude magnetic coins.

          • zarray says:

            Which is funny since only old tyme arcade entertainment machines are the only penny accepting machines I can think of.

    • ChicagoD says:

      I would like the U.S. to just have prices include any taxes or fees and have prices all end in 5 or 0. No rounding is really necessary then. Let the merchant and gubmint do it at the back end when taxes are paid by the merchant.

      • bcsizemo says:

        Exactly.  If I owned a business I’d just have all the prices setup to round to nice whole numbers, or include tax and make everything nice and easy.

        For most places the tax rate is straight across the board.  Grocery stores are probably the hardest (at least in NC because we have varying tax rates on goods.)

        • traalfaz says:

           This is actually illegal unless a special waiver is granted.  I don’t know why this is, maybe someone can enlighten us but that’s what I understand to be the case.

      • Joshua Ochs says:

        If you build in the tax, then it starts looking like VAT, and people will be up in arms about “hidden taxes” and freedom and somehow someone will say you’re coming for their guns. I guarantee it.

      • MichaelWalsh says:

        “I would like the U.S. to just have prices include any taxes”

        The above should read: “I would like the 7500 jurisdictions in the 45 states in the U.S. with sales taxes to just have prices include any taxes” 

        Sales taxes are a state issue and the states are not likely to give that up for a national VAT.  And the folks in the 5 states without a sales might get cranky about a national VAT.

        ” when taxes are paid by the merchant.”   Actually, the merchant collects the tax from the customer and then remits it to the appropriate government agency.

    • Jorpho says:

       I’m still waiting for them to finally drop small-denomination paper bills.  That’s almost on par with the Imperial system as far as absurdities go, I rekcon.

      • doug rogers says:

        There are no longer one or two dollar paper bills here in the Great White North, but coins we call Loonies and Twonies (Toonie)

        • Jorpho says:

          Yes, an example the U.S. should follow. When I lived in the U.S. briefly I even made a habit of carrying around whatever small number of dollar coins I could get from the local bank.

        • zarray says:

          How do you ‘make it rain’ with out mass injuries? How do you pay strippers*? Lube up the loonies and shove them up the ass?

          *stripper is gender neutral, I’m not being sexist here.

      • digi_owl says:

         Heh, the Norwegian central bank was recently considering replacing 50NOK notes with coins. This because they need to print new ones all the time to replace those worn out.

        Btw, are the US notes still the same size and color across the range?

        • Joshua Ochs says:

          Same size, same color, but somehow even uglier. Except for the $1 bill, which hasn’t been changed largely because it would break all of the vending machines.

          • digi_owl says:

             There seems to be a whole lot of “remain the same because it would break a whole lot of X” holdovers.

      • traalfaz says:

         I think they might do well to drop the $10 bill.  1, 5, 20 and 100 only.

        • zarray says:

          Wouldn’t be the first time Hamilton got killed by govt people.

          Actually I get 10s semi-frequently, there’s some vending machine at my school that’ll take them but 20s. 50s are the ones I rarely see. 

  7. Christopher says:

    As a coin collector with a special interest in Canadian coins (mainly because they turn up so often in my loose change, but also because I just like ‘em) I’m sorry to see the penny go. It puts a sad cap on my collection. I know I’d never be able to find Canadian pennies to have a collection going back all the way to the first year they were minted, but I did take pleasure in knowing that I’d be able to keep adding to the collection every year.

    Since it will be the last one my 2012 Canadian penny will have to take a special place of honor alongside the 1967 penny.

  8. Suburbancowboy says:

    For the sake of convenience and time many delis I go to NYC always round in the customers favor to the nearest nickel or dime.

    I remember going to a bagel place by my house, and my bill came to $3.26 I gave her 4 dollars and she gave me 74 cents change. 2 quarters. 2 dimes and 4 pennies. It infuriated me. So much so, that I never went there again. If they do that 100 times a day, that is 100 times where they count out 74 cents, wasting their time and the customer’s time, and probably pissing off a lot of customers in the process. Not only should she have just forgave the penny, but if we take it back a step further, the owner should price everything so it comes out to a nice round number when tax is added in.

    I used to work at Nobody Beats the Wiz, a New York based electronics chain. They priced their CDs at $11.98, not $11.99. With NY State sales tax figured in at the time, $11.98 plus tax came out to $13.00 even, that 13.01 means a customer has to find a penny, or the cashier either has to let it slide or give 99 cents change. If he/she forgives the penny several times a day, the register is a little off at the end of his/her shift. It just made everyone’s live easier.

    A little common sense goes a long way.

    • Steve Pan says:

       Maybe because everything happens slower in the Midwest, people always give me exact change even when it’s stupid to count out 93 cents or so. I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m in NYC.

      • ChicagoD says:

        Come to Chicago and you’ll get a mix. Particularly when the owner works the register, you get rounding pretty often. Employees don’t seem to have that authority (read in Cartman voice).

      • Suburbancowboy says:

        I live on Long Island, but work in NYC. While Long Island is still way faster than pretty much everywhere I’ve been, it is way way slower than NYC.  i’m so used to getting food in the city that the speed of delis and bagel shops on Long Island drives me nuts.

        Long Island: Wait on line for 10 minutes even though there are only 6 people on line….Ok,…..what can I get you……
        Me: Super Onion. Cream Cheese.

        ok….oh what was that again?

        5 minutes later…ok let me ring you up..takes gloves off…..

        Me: Wait, that’s not what I ordered….. shoot me.

        NYC: (20 people on line, I’m up to order in 2 minutes)..Next? Next?
        Me: Super onion. Cream cheese. Cinnamon Raisin butter. Sesame with low-fat vegetable cream cheese.
        NYC: Guy slices each bagel in one swoop. grabs big wad of cream cheese, or butter. Slaps it on bagel. Wraps each one in  one precise motion and hands them to me. He never had to ask you to repeat your order and didn’t get it wrong. You then take the bagels to the cashier (who only rings you up, does not prepare food), who rings up everyone rapid fire and is never thrown by things that cashiers need to know like basic math.

    • bcsizemo says:

      Perhaps  it’s a regional thing…in NC this rarely happens.  For a time I worked for a large grocery chain and we were allowed to be off up to $10 per day.  So most of the time I’d round up to whole nickles (only from 4 cents). 

      Of course a lot of people pay with cards now, so really money should be lasting longer anyway.

    • Nancy55 says:

      Some poor schmuck going properly about her job “infuriates” you.  Seriously.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Don’t stores there have a little dish on the counter that says Leave a Penny, Take a Penny?

    • JoeCrow says:

       Yeah, and every time her register is “a little off”, the head office makes a note and adds it to her file, and Loss Prevention starts looking at her harder, and her job gets just a little more precarious. But hey, what does that matter next to the inconvenience YOU suffer from getting correct change?

      • Agreed. Where I worked you could only be 2 dollars out per shift. O_o  So you could hand out the extra penny once or twice a day, but you still risked that being the 2 cents that put you over the $2 mark. Cashiers (at big chains esp) have very little discretion. 

    • miasm says:

       To be fair, someone with your temperament could become infuriated whatever side that coin comes down on.
      Contrast: “She didn’t even care that she was handing out free money to the customers! If I run the business, I would fire that thief on the spot.”
      With: “It infuriated me. So much so, that I never went there again.”
      You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake, lots of people are as crazy as you.
      Better to err on the side of caution, methinks.

    • IndexMe says:

      Maybe owner’s spouse’s birthday was March 26 or some such.

  9. Bonzo McGrue says:

    I hope the US follows this example. Pennies are a waste of everyone’s time. In fact, let’s round everything to the nearest dime and be done with it.

    From Wikipedia, Penny debate in the United States:

    There has never been a coin in circulation in the U.S. worth as little as the penny is worth today. Due to monetary inflation as of 2007, a nickel is worth approximately what a penny was worth in 1972. When the United States discontinued the half-cent coin in 1857, it had a 2008-equivalent buying power of 11 cents. After 1857, the new smallest coin was the cent, which had a 2008-equivalent buying power of 26 cents. 

    • Alex Mauer says:

      How does that work? shouldn’t the buying power of a ½ cent coin be half of the buying power of a 1-cent coin? Instead it’s 11 vs. 26. Did the buying power of the penny somehow go *up* after 1857?

      • digi_owl says:

        Inflation math, seems to play mind games with just about everything.

        The basic thing is that if you compare what you had to pay for something back then with what you pay today, you get these oddities. Never mind that the economy has basically exploded since then, with all kinds of new products and services (and more than a few going bye bye for the same reason).

        The mind trick is that the denominations read the same, but the total has increased, making the individual piece a smaller part of the whole.

        It may be easier to envision if for each time period one define the total money in circulation as 1, and then divide that by the total number of bills and coins out there for the period (never mind all those numbers on various bank ledgers).

  10. signsofrain says:

    Just the first, easy to accept step on the road towards a cashless society. (i.e No more undeclared income, stricter regulation of commerce between individuals, etc) 

    • Bob Dole's Commie Doppelganger says:

      I’m not a fan of cashlessness, but I’m not sure how eliminating an all-but-worthless unit of currency is a step towards a cashless society.

      And if it is, the first step would have been when they eliminated the half penny.

      • Bonzo McGrue says:

        The first step was when a caveman decided to accept an IOU for a mammoth burger.

      • Navin_Johnson says:

        Or the two dollar bill…

        *edit*
        which is still in circulation! F- me!

        • Ambiguity says:

           I get my morning coffee at a shop where the owner likes to give artisan change — Susan B. Anthony dollars, two dollar bills, etc. Not always, but I think he occasionally goes to the bank and asks ‘em “whaddya got?”

          • Grant Hamilton says:

            What a great idea! I would frequent such a place.

          • Brad H. says:

            An Ethiopian V60 please. Make sure change is all in legal tender commemorative coins.

          • Bevatron Repairman says:

            I think Kenya has a 40 Schilling coin, too, which was made in 2004(?) to commemorate the 40th anniversary of independence. 

    • Sparg says:

       I hate getting stuck behind cashless yahoos at the checkout.  Fumble with wallet/pocketbook for card, mash numbers or try to recall PIN, scribble screen, worn out mag strip.  Almost as bad as check writers.  My twenty goes to checker, change comes back, I’m out the door.

      • Navin_Johnson says:

        Pulling a card from your wallet takes more time than pulling a twenty?  A twenty which will often times elicit a: “Do you have anything smaller” from the cashier….

        Yeah, waiting the seconds for somebody to swipe a card and enter their pin is much worse than waiting for grandma to dig around in her coin purse, and  slowly count out several dollars and cents in coin change for the grocery cashier.

        • matlockexpressway says:

          The person you reply to at no point implied that everyone who pays in cash pays faster than those who pay in plastic, nor that it takes more time to pull a card out of a wallet than a bill.

          On the other hand, sarcasm and false dichotomies are real crowd-pleasers, so I can’t blame you for trying.

      • Ambiguity says:

         I don’t know… ever get stuck behind someone buying a pack of cigarettes with pennies and nickles? Or — more often — someone who spends two minutes searching their purse for painfully exact change?

        Seems to me that yahoo-ish-ness knows no ideological bounds. You have card-carrying ones, and pocket full ‘o pennies ones…

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          It’s also sad how many cashiers don’t understand the concept of overpaying a bit to get a solid bill back instead of a bunch of coins.  I’ve gotten in a number of confrontations because of this..

          • matlockexpressway says:

            Try:

            “I have a hole in my pocket, you insensitive clod!”

            or:

            “The coffee machine at work only takes bills, and lack of caffeine makes me even whinier than you!”

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Setting aside the absurdity of it taking longer to retrieve a card than a bill, most stores now have an expedited process for sales under a certain amount.  At Target, for example, all I have to do is swipe my credit card for purchases under $50.  No signature, no confirmation.

        The person in front of me counting out exact change takes for-fucking-ever.

    • I’m sure we could still pay for certain things *some other way* 

  11. http://youtu.be/y5UT04p5f7U
    CPGray says we should get rid of the penny nickle and dime. check his vid out for very concrete reasons.

    • JeffF says:

       Yea, that seems about right to me.  There are things that cost 50c now (kind of rare, but it happens), so a 25c coin gives us reasonable resolution around buying a single minimum item.

      Should probably turn $1 and $5 bills into coins too, and eliminate $10 bills.

      Quarter coin, Dollar coin, 5 Dollar coin, 20 dollar bill, 100 dollar bill.

      Sounds about right.

      IMO you ought to be able to buy lunch with coins.

      • RadioSilence says:

        That’s how it is in the UK, we used to have £1 notes (bills) when I was a kid but they did away with them 25-or-so years ago. We have £1 and £2 coins and the lowest note is £5.
        Is your highest denomination coin 25c? that’s ridiculously low! That’s less than 16 pence over here :)

        • Greg B says:

          There are 50-cent USD coins, but they’re extremely rare. There are also $1 coins, but nobody likes to use them because they’re almost the exact same size as our quarters – the only way to quickly tell them apart is by color (quarters are silvery, dollars are gold) or the edges (quarters are reeded, dollars are smooth).

          • zarray says:

            I hate when I f’up and have to use a 20 bill in the ticket machine for light rail, and get back 17 coins. At least it isn’t in quarters though.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Yeah, three weeks in the UK and I had to stitch up holes in all my pockets.

        • Joshua Ochs says:

          I’ve always been a huge fan of the British Pound. Small, yet thicker and easy to distinguish in a pocket, and a weighty and solid feeling that a currency should have. And it took up less space in my pocket than US quarters and was worth six times as much (based on exchange rates at the time).

          And yet every time the US introduces a new dollar coin, it ignores that and creates another quarter doppelgänger that fails for the same reason as the previous one.

          • RadioSilence says:

            The first time I went to Ireland, pre-euro, the coins there felt too insubstantial; very light and not at all like the hefty British money I was used to.

          • Sparg says:

            Yes, the heft of the coin is important.  I’m a collector and wish we’d go back to something like the Morgan or Peace dollar coins.

            I was stationed in West Berlin in the mid-80s and remember the first time I got change in East Berlin.  Those aluminum pfennigs really threw me off!  I guess as light as RadioSilence’s pinginí.

  12. Steve Pan says:

    Another sign that socialist obama government is eroding our freedom’s!!!! !1

  13. Bob Dole's Commie Doppelganger says:

    Personally, I think we should eliminate everything but the hundred dollar bill and round everything $50+ up to $100 and anything $50 or under would be free. 

    It would probably even out in the end but it would be hell on the dollar store industry.

  14. Listener43 says:

    Frankly, it’s time to simply move the decimal point on all values and use “new dollars” in the same vein as 70′s Britain going to new pence.
    No more $4 / gallon gasoline – it’s only $0.40  huzzah!

  15. guanto says:

    In Europe (Eurozone, to be precise) a couple of countries have gone back and forth on this. Some countries never minted one- and two-cent coins, others switched to rounding to the nearest 5 cents at some point, some switched back again. A local drugstore chain rounded down for a couple of years (rounding up is not legal in my country, we’ve always used 1- and 2-cent coins) but recently started giving exact change.

    I’m kind of torn on this; on the one hand, yes, those almost useless copper coins are annoying. On the other hand, as long as stores insist on using -,99 prices, I don’t want them to round up. Give change or be honest and adjust your displayed price. I always do manage to spend my 1-cent coins though, paying 99 cents in exact change on occasion.

    • vickytnz says:

      The real answer on that is to go cashless. Pay by card and you can pay 99c. Kiwis and Aussies figured this out ages ago (it helped us that by 2000 most shops accepted  debit cards and had no minimum fee for free transactions). I used to pay for a 79c pack of sweets with my debit card with no shame!

      • guanto says:

        Oh, absolutely, everybody has an ATM card that you can use to pay even the smallest amount at almost any store at no extra cost, just enter your PIN and confirm. (That card also works as a rechargeable debit card if you want; there’s no advantage for the consumer though so nobody uses that function.)

        Also, no checks/cheques here anymore, there are much better ways to transfer money in the Eurozone…

        Still, cash is legal tender for now, so sort it out. ;-)

        • vickytnz says:

          To be fair, the UK is still using pennies, and also has some incredibly stupid minimum transactions: some only accept a minimum of £5, others charge 80p for anything less than £7.50! Then again, pretty much everything relating to the UK is anacronistic :)

          • guanto says:

            Yeah, the UK’s banking system seems… I don’t know, somewhat cumbersome and American.

            Dunno, life’s just much easier when you can pay for anything and everything out of your bank account/with bank transfers (and instantaneously) instead of relying on PayPal/credit cards/checks. But to each their own.

          • zarray says:

            @boingboing-64b08c66dfe324e82234564082866900:disqus That sounds weird. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say the US banking system is somewhat cumbersome from being based on the UK’s system?

            Also checks are irritating, but there are some neat tricks to them: like being able to float one for weeks at a time (mostly just person to person though), or having fun with the memo line, because what’s on there HAS to go on record. I was at a house party and the redneck-ish owner accused me of breaking something I didn’t, so to make peace I went to my car and wrote him a check but put ANAL PLAY PAYMENT on the line. Dude never cashed it.

    • spejic says:

      In America we already have rounding. 45 states have sales tax, which produces an end price that isn’t evenly divisible by pennies and thus has to be rounded up or down. No one cares for that. No one will care about this either.

      • guanto says:

        Oh yes, people care. ;-) Psychological barrier; a penny is something tangible, real money IOW. Examples abound all over the world.

  16. GlenBlank says:

    When the cost of minting currency exceeds the coin’s face value – especially with a thoroughly-debased coin like the copper-plated steel Canadian penny – you’re doing something wrong.

    “It costs too much to mint (cheap copper-plated steel) pennies” is a euphemism for “We’ve so completely inflated the value of our fiat money that it’s now worth less than even the debased non-precious metal coins.”Inflating the value of a fiat currency is a really handy way for the government to take money out of your pocket without needing to persuade you to vote for a tax increase. They just print more fiat currency and the money in your pocket automatically loses value.  Value is thus transferred from your pocket to the government coffers with no need for messy, unpopular  taxes.

    When the government tells you they have to debase the coinage because precious metals cost too much, you know they’ve been inflating the currency.

    And when they tell you they can’t even ‘afford’ to mint the *debased* coins, you know they’re out of control.  

    Just wait.  Eventually, even paper bills will be worth less than face value, and then they’ll start trying to devalue the paper currency so they can trade you one ‘new’ dollar bill for a hundred (or a thousand, or whatever…) ‘old’ dollar bills. 

    Because, they’ll tell you,  “it costs too much to print the old bills.”

    And if you believe that, I know where you can buy a great bridge… 

    • Ambiguity says:

      “We’ve so completely inflated the value of our fiat money that it’s now worth less than even the debased non-precious metal coins.”

      I think you have that backwards. The value of the currency has been deflated, ie, it ain’t worth much.

      Inflation in prices is mathematically equivalent to deflation of the currency’s value.

  17. scruss says:

    I guess everyone’s jumping on the penny story and missing the big story that you and everyone you know will be working a couple of extra years now that retirement’s 67. Thanks, guys. Just don’t forget who will be in charge of changing your diapers in the rest home …

    Could we please have prices with sales taxes included? It’s inane that we don’t pay the price we see.

  18. doctorrosenrosen says:

    Assuming that prices exhibit exponential growth (i.e. inflation), the Benford distribution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benford%27s_law suggests that prices would be rounded down the majority of the time.

  19. suburbanhick says:

    I’ve said for years we ought to ditch the penny. I can’t believe The Harper Gov’t ® has actually done something I agree with!

  20. keplers says:

    well done canada! australia hasn’t had a one cent coin since 1992. 

  21. deadbot says:

    Damn. My private-member’s bill to bring back the half-penny stands no chance of passing now.

  22. theophrastvs says:

    [over corrosion-clad wire-hanging civil-defense style loud-speaker]  “As of midnight tonight all pennies are to be valued as 10 pennies!  All other monetary units similarly advanced ten-fold.  End of message.”  [repeated in French, Esperanto, and an odd clicking dialect]

  23. mabajada says:

    We’ll just import american pennies!!

    • penguinchris says:

      In Buffalo, NY we seem to import Canadian pennies. If you use cash you’re guaranteed to end up with several Canadian pennies in change each week. And you can use them interchangeably… cashiers either don’t notice or don’t care, especially now that the exchange rate is essentially even.

      Even back when CAD was worth 60% of USD, Canadian pennies were interchangeable here because it’s been so long since pennies were really worth anything.

      It always gives me a smile to receive Canadian pennies as change (it’s rarely any other coin because they’re more obvious), and I’ll miss it. But I suspect that the Canadian pennies will remain in circulation in Buffalo (and other border towns) longer than they do in Canada :)

      • Sparg says:

         I also used to get the Canadian nickels and dimes in change.  When I got back from West Germany I used to use the D-mark coins as quarters in the 80s.  I was in college then and a cheap f*cker.  D-land über alles, baby!

  24. Alex Burr says:

    The UK should get rid of the penny too. And the 2p. Then we should rename the 5p to ‘one shilling’…

  25. Jorpho says:

    Y’know, Japan still has one-yen coins, last time I heard.  They’re made of aluminum, and if I’m not mistaken, worth about a tenth of a penny.

    • Brad H. says:

      Ugh don’t get me started on those. I guess the good thing is that they’re light (light enough to not break surface tension on a glass of water) and doesn’t weigh you down. I either deposited them at the bank or chuck ‘em in a charity box. 

  26. Kludgegrrl says:

    I read that some shopkeepers here *already* stopped using the penny because their registers lacked enough coin compartments.  Remember, we have $1 and $2 coins, eh?

    • putty says:

      I was a cashier in Canada when the Toonie came out.  They had all kinds of little adaptors you could use to convert bill holders into coin holders in cash drawers.  Another option was a little thing that would split one of the coin bins into two.

  27. Paul Renault says:

     Nice article from the Ottawa Citizen with a clickable selection of various Canadian cents.
    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Photos+Canadian+Penny+1858+2012/6381634/story.html

  28. Donald Petersen says:

    I like that if the size of a coin reflected its actual value, then the picture of the 1920 cent above would be pretty close to correct scale compared to the modern penny.

    I avoid pennies.  I like cash and coins, but pennies are a waste of my not-very-valuable time, so I tend to leave them in little stacks on the armrests of public benches or the outside ledge of drive-thru windows, just outside the view of the cashier.  Feels like littering, but some people still find them worthwhile.

    I’m reluctant to embrace a cashless society.  Too often I might want to make an “off-the-record” (though perfectly licit) purchase, and sometimes I want to buy something off a private citizen without needing to write a check or arrange some kind of bank transfer.  Our smartphones can handle that for us these days, but occasionally it’s nice to be able to buy a gift for my wife without her being able to check a bank statement to see how much I spent on it, for example.  (And not because I’m a cheapskate, guys, but she doesn’t like me to spend too much on her.)

    • guanto says:

      Agreed on the privacy implication but I have to tell you, paying with contactless smart cards like they’ve been doing for years in many Japanese businesses and vending machines (mostly near train stations) is freaking convenient. Almost makes paying fun. Pay in one second, never run out of change. Sometimes things work so well you are fully willing to forget about all possibly negative aspects. ;-)

      • Donald Petersen says:

        Yeah, I certainly don’t want to discourage the use of such things.  There’s one physically outside the drive-thru window of my local Jack-In-The-Box, and it was pretty cool to just tap my card against it and be handed my Ultimate Cheeseburger and Large Onion Rings just like that.  But it only worked for a few weeks.  Still there, but now you have to hand your card to the cashier, and they hand it back a few seconds later.  Don’t know why they stopped using the outside dingus.

        Anyway, convenience is fun, but I just don’t want it supplanting cash entirely. Cash is too convenient for some purposes, and absolutely essential if we want to maintain some fig-leaf of privacy in our commercial dealings.

        • KanedaJones says:

          Wow.
          I wonder what the story is there. You’re American and it’s fast food, so it’s clearly not related to union rules. But how could it be abused I wonder? Provided it wasn’t just a technical failure.

          Never mind, it’s the lawyers again, betcha.

          • zarray says:

            American and fast food? Someone broke it. 

          • Donald Petersen says:

            Could be it’s busted, but with no moving parts and no obvious external damage (not even graffiti) on it, I’d be mildly surprised if it’s broken.  I think it’s designed for outdoor use.

            Still, I don’t think they stopped using it for security purposes either.  They don’t take your card for more than 5 or 10 seconds, never check a second ID, and don’t even need your signature or a PIN anymore.  In other words, the external doohickey should work just as well as the cardscanner inside.

  29. Harvey says:

    What advantage do dollar coins give to a consumer over paper bills?

    • theophrastvs says:

       They last longer.  (that is, need to be replaced less often.  (now is the added cost of a metal disk * longevity greater than a fancy layered cloth paper sheet * longevity, worth it?  Canada says ‘oui’))   So is there really no way of making plastic …uh… heptagons hard to counterfeit? (the credit card companies seem to think so [shrug])

      • Lupus_Yonderboy says:

        But what advantage do they give to a *consumer* (i.e. a citizen who is using the money, not the government who is making it)?  Beyond, of course, some future savings in taxes because the Mint is spending less money (as if).  Personally, I hate coins, I keep my money in a clip in my pocket and any coin change that I get tends to just drift around down there and annoy me.

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      You could have polymer notes (bills) as in Australia and New Zealand, Singapore, etc. and in an increasing number of countries.

  30. llazy8 says:

    In Argentina, the smallest coin is currently 5 centavos.  So you round, and there’s a law that says that rounding should always be in the customer’s favor.  But there’s also a shortage of coins, so shopkeepers often can’t give you precise change.  So, when you get rounded out of more than 5 or 10 cents, you get a candy.  Which really IS in your favor.   

    Say your total is $17.88.  You give the clerk a twenty.  You should get $2.15 back (by the law) but you’ll get a two peso bill and a fruity candy.  I do hope this is what Ottowa is suggesting by ‘work it out for themselves’.   

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      This is the ‘traditional’ solution in many countries when inflation corrodes the value of the currency or the government cannot mint enough coins, it would seem, as in Italy or Kenya for instance.

  31. billstewart says:

    There’s a much cheaper way for Canada to get pennies than minting them themselves – import American pennies!  They cost a bit under $0.01 Canadian, and they’re the right size.

    • zarray says:

      Canadians would complain that their culture is being eroded, and American AM talk radio would be in hysterics that this is the first step to establish the Amero and that all currency will be minted with the face of Obama so all good white christians won’t be able to conduct business without praising the antichrist.

  32. Brad H. says:

    I would love to see Australia follow NZ’s lead and get rid of the five cent coin. Things don’t seem to break down to a point of accumulating a lot of 5c coins but is annoying nonetheless. 

    I wouldn’t mind having a 5 dollar coin too but that’s just me.

  33. pebird says:

    But let’s keep gasoline pricing to the tenth of a cent. The public needs to maintain their math skills.

  34. Why not just get rid of change and have everything cost whole dollar amounts?

  35. alexb says:

    Can I just take a moment to wonder what happened to the quaint old art of talking to customers, passing the time of day and just, you know building a relationship, or even (gasp) flirting between customers and sales staff.
    Or doesn’t anyone in the US have time for that any more?

    • Sparg says:

       I come out of the kitchen to talk to many of my customers all the time.  Good idea to build rapport and receive feedback that may enhance their dining experience.  I cook with love so they don’t feel as if they eat at a automat.

      • zarray says:

        I like that. But having an automat would be awesome.

        I asked my sister next time we go to LA if she’d take me to the cupcake ATM and she said no because that street is full of hookers.

  36. bigdave323 says:

    But, but, what about my penny candy?

  37. jclaytonshaw says:

    A penny is a natural outgrowth of the decimal system.  It works fine.

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