Sunday, February 19, 2012

A penny for your thoughts?

How many pennies do you have in your pocket or purse? I'll bet you're carrying more pennies than you will actually use today, or tomorrow, or the next day...
I never pay with coins. I empty all of the change out of my pockets every day, stash it in a little plastic bag on a shelf in my office, and take a full bagful to the bank every so often to redeem it for genuine paper money.

It costs 2.4 cents to manufacture a penny, and the U.S. Mint is looking at changing the metal composition of a penny to reduce that cost. A Wake Forest University professor says that pennies keep dropping  out of circulation (too many penny jars on too many shelves in too many homes), so the Mint has to keep making more, and, anyway, it would just be cheaper to eliminate the penny as legal tender and price everything in terms of nickels, you know, $2.15, $39.95, $1,499.95 and so on.

In case you think that "all prices would get rounded up and I'd end up paying a couple pennies more for everything," Prof. Robert Whaples says it ain't so. He studied 200,000 cash register transactions at "a multistate convenience store chain" – maybe they'll change the name to 7-Fifteen – and concluded that the "round-ups" almost exactly equal the "round-downs, so consumers wouldn't even notice if we get rid of the penny. Let's do it.

On a side note:

The "Penny for your thoughts" epigram has been around at least since 1546, when John Heywood (c1497-c1580) published  "The proverbs of John Heywood"  in England.

Among his other gems:

Haste maketh waste.

Look ere ye leap.

Love me, love my dog.

Those were worth at least a penny......and considering that in 1546 a penny was really worth something, that says a lot. Keeping inflation in mind, today we should be saying something like: "A dollar and 49 cents for your thoughts"

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