Lion of the Blogosphere

Yes, pennies are useless

with 54 comments

It was pointed out in the comments about the dollar coins that the penny is the most useless unit of currency.

Yes, let’s get rid of the damn thing, and round all transactions to the nearest nickel. Combined with a law that requires all bricks-and-mortar retail prices to INCLUDE sales tax.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 19, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Business

54 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Don’t build in the tax to the price: people should know how much they are contributing to government at all times.

    GMR

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Tax should be included in the price. Nobody looks at the receipt anyway, Don’t you think Europeans know what the VAT is?

      ttgy1

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

      • Euros don’t. Socialists fought to include taxes in the price to make tax less visible and since then have greatly raised taxes.

        The higher taxes actually lessen revenue. The purpose is to mess up capitalism then call it ‘market failure.’

        Robert

        November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Having lived under both systems, I keep vacillating on which style I prefer.

      I think what I like best is what Japanese merchants (and producers of goods with a fixed price)used to often do: display the pre-tax price, but with the post-tax price being a round and convenient number. So what the sales tax was 5%, a paperback book might have the price “476 yen plus tax” printed on it, meaning that what you paid at the register was a nice even 500. (That’s the world’s highest-valued single coin, IIRC.)

      Then in 2012 the rapacious Liberal Democratic Party got back into power and, committed to raising taxes and inflating away the value of our savings, implemented an 8% consumption tax, soon to be 10%. Merchants responded by changing the prices from (irregular number + 5% = round number) to (round number + 8% = irregular number), and so now we’re fumbling for 1-yen coins again while also paying 8% more for everything we buy.

      Kyo

      November 20, 2018 at EST am

    • In Canada there are two sales taxes. Each province can set their own. For years there was no federal tax but some years ago a federal Goods and Services tax was introduced. Neither are included in the store list price.

      There are a lot of items excluded, like food and children’s clothes (the latter is BC policy, don’t know about other provinces). I think it was the exclusions that the governments wanted people to know about.

      The paper receipts always show the two taxes as two different items.

      That said, there are large hidden taxes on some things: gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes, for example.

      Frau Katze

      November 20, 2018 at EST pm

  2. The zinc industry doesn’t think pennies are useless, and they have a lot more lobbying dollars to spend on it than you or I.

    I refuse to acknowledge the penny’s existence in my daily life.

    Some Guy

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • You are absolutely correct why the US cent coin is still produced. It used to be the copper lobby fighting any effort to stop production, but since pennies are now 97% zinc (since 1982), the zinc people have a good thing going and they know it. Personally, I usually throw the damn things out after I get them in change.

      sj2001

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  3. Good point about including sales tax. I hate the stupid $9.99 instead of $10.00 chicanery and would be happy to never see it again.

    Hermes

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • $9.99 winds up costing $10.85 or something like that.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • $9.99 is done for psychological reasons to increase sales. It has nothing to do with tax and won’t change.

      PerezHBD

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

      • They can change it ti $9.95 and give you a nickel change.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 19, 2018 at EST pm

      • I know that. But why won’t it change? Do you think retailers will modify prices to make them end in 9 with sales tax included? I.e., the state has 6% sales tax, so they’ll price an item at $9.42 so that the tax-included price will be $9.99?

        Hermes

        November 20, 2018 at EST am

    • They dumped in Canada a few years ago. I pay for almost everything using my debit card, or if online, a credit card. I have next to no cash in my place.

      Frau Katze

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  4. “It was pointed out in the comments about the dollar coins that the penny is the most useless unit of currency.”

    Given that the penny is the smallest denomination of any unit of currency (in the US), isn’t this a tautology?

    anon

    anonymousse

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Strictly literally speaking, “most useless” is redundant, because if something is useless, then it has no use at all, so there can’t be varying degrees of uselessness. But that’s the point, that the penny is completely useless, because there is literally nothing you can buy for 4 cents or less (at least as a whole purchase in a retail establishment where you’re paying cash.)

      Hermes

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • The mill is the smallest US unit of currency. It would make sense to rename cents mils, dimes cents, and return to the dollar to it’s original definition of an ounce of silver or if less to 1/20th oz of gold plus something to account for fluctuations–making the dollar cover today’s $10. And forbid deficit spending and inflation via government bonds–hidden taxation.

      Robert

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

      • I would devote my life to compaigning for any president who resolved to return the dollar to a silver (or any other) standard and end inflation.

        Kyo

        November 20, 2018 at EST am

      • I don’t know enough about economics to understand all of this money Printing and Federal Reserve stuff, but I’ve always heard that the reason we have inflation is that we went off the gold standard to fiat currency. But the Gizmodo article someone posted elsewhere in the comments states that we retired the half penny because of inflation before that ever happened. Anyone who understands that care to explain?

        Hermes

        November 20, 2018 at EST am

      • This gold standard stuff is lot of Ron Paul nonsense.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 20, 2018 at EST am

      • What are you calling nonsense: the argument that we should go back to the gold standard, or the idea that the reason we have inflation is that we went off the gold standard? I would completely buy the that the former is unrealistic and will never happen, but can the latter be dismissed out of hand?

        Hermes

        November 20, 2018 at EST am

      • Minor inflation is a good thing, it keeps the wheels of commerce spinning. Fiat currency is good. It works.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 20, 2018 at EST am

  5. Iterations of.99 are successful price points. You’re more likely to sell something for 9.99 than 9.95 (why I don’t know). In that respect the penny is very useful.

    I use cash for groceries and always pay exact change. So if I see a penny on the ground, I pick it up!

    Once I walked into stop and shop with exactly $17 and the groceries, which I’d roughly but not exactly tabulated, came to exactly $17. Strange right?

    Another time I went to Costco with a friend and our respective tabs came to exactly the same amount down to the penny despite the fact we bought completely different items. It’s the grocery twilight zone!

    toomanymice

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • It’s a smart move to always pick up coins you see on the ground- you might save yourself a heart attack somewhere down the line.

      Vipltd

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Also, a mental exercise to count exact change.

      My 2¢

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • ‘”Iterations of.99 are successful price points. You’re more likely to sell something for 9.99 than 9.95 (why I don’t know). In that respect the penny is very useful”

      Everything in Switzerland is priced to 5 cents and they sell things. Just like the UK all taxes are added to the price.

      You can still price to the penny just round up at check out. 145.46 worth of groceries would be 145.45.

      ttgy1

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Explanation why $9.99 price is better than $9.95 is simple. It is the maximum price the item can be sold at while still looking like $9. It is not about selling better, it is about maximizing price (and profit).

      My 2¢

      November 20, 2018 at EST pm

  6. Dissatisfied, just use your plastic money or pay by cellphone. Visa and Mastercard are happy with the 2 to 3 pennies you pay them for each transaction and make billions. I like cash and coins.

    cesqy

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Merchants don’t always charge a fee to you for processing your credit card. I think for most large chains they don’t. Which means for those chains the cash-payers are subsidizing the credit-payers.

      Lowe

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • I never noticed a charge for using a credit card. The merchant pays them.

      If I go to Mcdonald’s it’s the same price for cash or charge.

      ttgy1

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

      • “I never noticed a charge for using a credit card. The merchant pays them.
        If I go to Mcdonald’s it’s the same price for cash or charge.”

        Spoken like a true economics retard. The customer pays for everything. You think the merchant has a pile of cash moldering out back from whence he pays credit card fees…. Imbecile.

        hard9bf

        November 20, 2018 at EST pm

  7. Cash is in general pretty pointless now. Chinese have it right, they skipped credit cards and went straight to mobile. Even street stalls and beggars take Alipay/Wechatpay.

    The Chinese are Coming

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Cash is more important than the second amendment. Of course China is leading the way in another method of totalitarian social control.

      I use pennies all the time. Pennies are great and the government should be forced to continue making them. If they stopped inflating away the value of money then there’d be no problem. That’s the real solution. That they have to make pennies and nickles that cost more than face value is another check on their desire to inflate.

      bobbybobbob

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

      • Amen, bobbybobbob!

        JamesJames Mormont

        November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Real Americans would never accept the gov’t abolishing physical currency, because physical currency gives you the freedom to hide a lot of your purchasing activity from strangers, and from the gov’t.

      Of course the state will be able to do this if it imports a critical mass of fake Americans from the third world and other places with no tradition of individual rights and liberty. Probably only a matter of time.

      Lowe

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Chinese system stinks, especially for foreigners who have no access to government ID card (which is now integrated in to WeChat). As for Chinese, it is only a matter of time before they link your bank account to your social credit score and either deduct money or limit access to your money as punishment for whatever. So much nicer in Thailand and Vietnam where credit cards generally aren’t accepted and everything is cash.

      PerezHBD

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  8. In the UK, adjusting for decimalisation we’ve withdrawn the one-tenth of a penny (1956); the one-fifth of a penny (1969); and the half-penny (1984). Withdrawal of the UK penny seems overdue. And your one-cent penny of course is worth about 25% less than ours.

    lioncub

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • I think I have a few half-pennies that I found when I was in the UK (89-91). They were more curiosities than anything else.
      I can see the penny going that way at some time.

      Half Canadian

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  9. But if they withdrew the penny people might start to question why…

    Why is my money worth so much less today than 50 years ago? Does it really have to be this way?

    Inflation doesn’t have to exist. It’s a socially engineered phenomenon by macro economists to keep you running on the treadmill.

    Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lap Dog

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Even 50 years ago a penny would just buy 1 piece of bubble gum. But it came with a comic.

      Rosenmop

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • “Inflation doesn’t have to exist. It’s a socially engineered phenomenon by macro economists to keep you running on the treadmill.”

      It’s how Uncle Samantha repays xirs bonds without producing anything of value or raising taxes. If you could print money to pay your debts, you’d do the same. Inflation (money printing) pays debts by stealing from dollar hoarders — AKA, stealing from people with savings in the bank.

      hard9bf

      November 20, 2018 at EST pm

      • They could just raise taxes but inflation is an easier way to steal from proles.

        Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lap Dog

        November 21, 2018 at EST pm

  10. lolbertarians say pennies are useful to confuse dumb people in grocery stores with prices ending in $0.99.

    i’d like to hear autistic economists explain why there are so many good with prices ending in 99.

    suicide by libertarian overdose

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  11. We (in Canada) got rid of the penny, and no one misses it. It’s funny, I actually found one today while cleaning.

    S.J., Esquire

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Wow, I didn’t know that. It explains why i haven’t seen one amid my US change in a long time.

      Steverino@Steverino.com

      November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  12. They say it better than I do:
    https://gizmodo.com/the-u-s-killed-the-half-penny-when-it-was-worth-what-a-1639266183
    So get rid of pennies, nickels, and dimes.

    Kosher Kowboy

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  13. Japan is interesting with this. Most people always pay with cash there, and they have a 1 yen coin, which is the same as a penny. I found this to be annoying, but not nearly as bad as the US for a few reasons:

    1. The list price is always the price that you need to pay, so you can collect the coins as you’re getting ready to pay. In the US paying with cash is obnoxious because you have no idea what the precise price is until all your items are scanned.

    2. If an item costs 991 yen, then you can pay with a 1000 yen bill and a 1 yen coin (penny) and get back a 10 yen coin as change. So it’s not so hard to keep your balance of 1 yen coins small.

    3. The 1 yen is really small and light, so it’s not so bad to have a lot of them, and it’s easy to identify coins by feeling them (they all have different sizes and weights, with higher value coins being larger and heavier).

    4. 50000 yen bills are not uncommon at all, and many japanese carry around hundreds of dollars in cash (also basically no crime).

    Overall it’s easier to just use credit cards but I didn’t find cash to be too bad in Japan. One of the nice things with cash is that it’s a bit easier to intuit how your money is being spent and how expensive things are.

    Alex2

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

    • Alex, since 2012-13 they have abolished the “list prices include tax” convenience (and raised the tax while they were at it), so now you pay the list price plus 8% when you get to the register. Some shops have the post-tax price in tiny print below the pre-tax one, but not always.

      Also, I don’t think they issue 50,000-yen bills. I’ve never seen one above 10,000 — though no one will blink if you use that to buy something under 100 yen and get over 9900 in chance.

      Kyo

      November 20, 2018 at EST am

  14. I think I already commented on this on this site, but was ignored by Lion.

    There should be a 10, 20 and 50 cent coin. I would settle for 5 cents, but 10 cents is better,

    You would only have 3 coins. You might want to have 1 dollar coin at this point, but I am not sure.

    If you keep the dollar bill , the 2 dollar bill should be given out by merchants. Also, there should be a 2 dollar coin if you go with coins.

    If the change is 4.40, you would get 2 2 dollar bills and 2 20 cents coins.

    Now you get 4 bills and 3 coins. You carry 8 more pieces in your pocket.

    For 9:69 we get back 5 bills, 2 quarters, a dime, a nickel and 4 pennies. That’s 13.

    9:70 would be 3 bills and 2 coins. a five , 2 dollar bills , a 50 cent piece and a 20 cent piece.

    A dollar is equal to about what 10 cents was in the 50’s.

    Or you could have any price you want like 5.99 but round up to the nearest 10 cents after everything is added in.

    ttgy1

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  15. Agreed. There should be coins for 20 cents and 1 dollar. And bills should start at 5 dollars. Having a bunch of little coins and bills doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s just a nuisance.

    destructure

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  16. You can both get rid of pennies and keep prices ending in 99 cents. One example is gas prices. They use fractions of a penny. The other example is 99 Cents Only Stores. They price to the fraction of a cent. Many products are priced at 99.99 cents.

    My 2¢

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  17. “It was pointed out in the comments about the dollar coins that the penny is the most useless unit of currency.

    Yes, let’s get rid of the damn thing”

    They did it in Australia. They did away with 1 cent and 2 cent coins decades ago.

    chris

    November 19, 2018 at EST pm

  18. I havent read the comments, so I dunno if this point has been made or not. A penny is a tradition and tradition is under attack so we should keep it. When you pay cash the tax is included. For example $150 in cash includes the tax, but a check is $163.125. This is what i tell my customers and it’s the only thing that is fair and makes sense to me. Why shouldn’t a customer have options?

    Yakov

    November 20, 2018 at EST am

  19. 1982 and before pennies are mostly copper and nickels are still mostly copper and also real nickel.

    The wise retain both in old coffee cans. I’ve seen copper pennies go for 10 cents each on coin sites. Nickels usually have 3 cents worth of metal value, sometimes more. Both coins will skyrocket in value when pennies and nickels removed from circulation. Any day now ….

    Paul Rise

    November 20, 2018 at EST am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: