Ban the Penny — but bring back the mil

The Eclectic Econoclast has been pushing to ban pennies and nickels in Canada. All well and good, but as it is I’m already trying to figure out how to buy anything other than an exact multiple of ten gallons of gas without getting ripped off for a tenth of a cent a gallon here in the US. And what would we put in the take-a-penny/leave-a-penny dish? Seriously though, he suggests that Canada would save a fair amount by following this plan and I’d guess the US savings would be even more significant.

So the total costs of using pennies and nickels in the Canadian economy are roughly $44m per year at a minimum! and very easily could be much more.

What an outrageous waste.

Come to think of it, the take-a-penny/leave-a-penny thing may be one of the best arguments for what he’s suggesting. I’ve walked away as a cashier dug for anything less than 5 cents several times in the last few months, occasionally prompting a shout of “Hey, don’t you want your change?” My response, if I took the time to make it would be something like, “No time for change, Dr. Jones.” The study he quotes estimated this cost in transaction time – the time spent making change and the time spent waiting for change – at almost $65 million a year (Canadian) based on an hourly wage of $16. Of course, that’s high for cashiers, but could be very low for the person waiting for his change.

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