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Not such a lucky penny after all

by Christina Rowan February 12, 2013 0 comment
Not such a lucky penny after all

Image via Flickr.

The saying goes “find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck” but as of Feb. 4, 2013, it looks as though the penny has lost all of its luck.

The Royal Canadian Mint announced last Monday that the penny will no longer be produced and distributed throughout Canada. It’s dying age: 155-years-old.

In my opinion, this is a good thing. Someday, hopefully in the near future, pennies will have disappeared completely and no longer have a place in our wallets taking up unnecessary room.

The fact of the matter is that things today aren’t cheap enough to keep around a coin of such low value. Back in the day, it would mean the end of the world to get rid of the penny. For two or three cents a person could get a bag full of candy, but today, that kind of situation is unheard of.

It actually costs more than a penny to make a penny; to be exact, 1.6 cents for every penny made.

Businesses across the nation have been notified of the situation. From here on out, pay attention to your transactions as you will most likely be given change that ends with either a five or a zero.

Natasha Woytiuk, a store manager at Fairview Pointe Claire shopping mall explained the new measures she must take.

“It was our head office that sent us directions about how to start the process of eliminating pennies. Basically, we have gotten rid of all the pennies in our cash. We do accept them if a customer chooses to pay with pennies, but we no longer return pennies as change to customers,” she said. “What we do now is round up or down depending on whether it’s below five cents or above five cents.”

This certainly will be an adjustment for cashiers across the country testing their math skills. NDP member of Parliament Pat Martin hopes to test their skills even further by terminating the other coins as well, with his sights currently set on the nickel. The MP has made it publicly known how satisfied he is with the discontinuation of the penny having said, “one down, one to go.”

What Martin plans on doing in the future is change our currency to multiples of 10s, with 10, 20 and 50 cent coins as well as $1, $2 and $5 coins.

Personally, I think he is a little overzealous. Just because the penny has been eliminated from our currency doesn’t mean the other coins have to go with it. There are probably billions of nickels, dimes and quarters floating around the country, and to collect and replace all of them with different amounts is a farfetched idea at this point in time.
It would mean millions of dollars spent on new production, and not to mention a copious amount of time spent gathering the remaining coins from circulation.

Think about all the vending machines, parking meters and pay phones that would have to be changed in order to fit the new coins.

The only logical thing that could be done with a shift in our currency would be to eliminate cash altogether and rely solely on credit and debit transactions. But, I don’t see that happening for quite a few years.

For now, cash-in your piggy banks and say goodbye to the copper coin. Or, better yet, keep them. Who knows, maybe someday they’ll be worth a lot.

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