"Death to Pennies": Hear, Hear!

It pleases me to no longer be the only guy complaining about the penny.

This anti-penny rant was quite good.

But this one is even better:

Seriously, it is a great little video — sharply produced, smartly written, and devastatingly well-argued. The man behind it, C.G.P. Grey, can be found here; he looks like an interesting fellow.

(HT: Tom)


After watching the video I am convinced it is time to nuke the penny. However, I found the comment about penny pinchers to be rather insulting. If I've got exact change handy that includes pennies, I will hand over the 1-4 pennies. Where you see time wasting is cashiers who don't know basic change counting skills. In fact, if every cashier knew how to count change up to the amount received lines would go considerably faster. (No, everyone paying with a card will not help much. Have you noticed how long the typical card takes to process? Cash is faster with a skilled cashier.)


We need a video to abolish the paper $1 note.

Ian M

Coinstar is a good way to get rid of pennies (OK, pennies are a good way to spite coinstar). We should all burden coinstar with them. When coinstar machines are full of money, they stop accepting coins. If were to stuff every coinstar machine with EXCLUSIVELY pennies, their operating costs would soar. This would certainly not put an end to pennies but if enough of us did it, it would put an end to coinstar.

Mike B

I will never understand your anti penny bias. It's your money that the stores will be taking when they all raise their prices up to the nearest $.05 It is a point of pride that our currency is valuable enough to still have a penny. Eliminating the penny is the first step towards hyperinflation as they are the only hard currency still in circulation. If you want to live in a country that only has high denomination currency I suggest your try Zimbabwe.


I don’t think you know what Hyperinflation is. If every vendor decided to round up instead of rounding fairly, that would be an average price rise of 2 cents. If we assume a mean transaction of $20 and 50% of purchases made with cash (made up off the top of my head, if you have better numbers let me know) that’s a one-time 0.05% rise in prices. I don’t know anyone who is paid wages in cash that is paid some odd amount and demands exact change to the penny so I don’t see a corresponding increase in wages or any continuing mechanism that would lead to a wage-price spiral necessary for hyperinflation.

Mike B

I'm making a thin end of the wedge argument. Once the penny goes next it will be the other coins, then dollar bills etc. We have to hold the line.


What signals to me that people will be willing to give up the penny is that we’ve developed a successful work-around in the Take-a-Penny-Leave-a-Penny tray. If you need pennies for exact change, you pay them from the tray, if you receive pennies as change, you put them in the tray so you don’t have to take them. From the customer’s perspective, prices get rounded to the nearest 5 cents and they never have to carry pennies around. As if the penny never existed.


If we got rid of the penny, cash registers would have space for the one dollar coin. Win win.

Mike B

What dollar coin? Are you referring to that Universal Parking and Transit Token the department of transportation has been trying to get people to use?


if they get rid of penny's will they have to round peoples paychecks to 5 cents a week?

Jamie Kennedy

The system we have here in Australia, as mentioned in the video, is that all *cash* transactions are rounded to the nearest 5 cents. Anything else - credit card payments, electronic transfers, bank interest, you name it - is still worked to the single cent. I suppose there are people who at the supermarket (or anywhere else) pay by cash if they will gain a cent or two, but use credit card or EFTPOS if they won't. I don't bother - it's not worth it. You gain sometimes and win others, on average it all comes out even, plus you don't have to lug around extra coins you got in change. We've had it for a while now; not sure exactly, but it would be 15 years at least, and I don't hear anyone complaining. Just my nothing (it was going to be .02 but I rounded to the nearest .05).


oh, i was just trying to make fun of the fact that our wages were less than 5 cents a week


Please send all unwanted pennies to the following address (and any other legal tender you may be tired of).....


This one, from author John Green, is quite good as well. Perhaps better.



The Regular Joe

I identified the small change problem a while ago. It is undoubtedly a pain to the economy and the consumer. Just dead money lying around (or in the couch). Here are some ways you can use small change.


Most transactions are electronic these days, so leave the penny and the dollar bill alone.


You know, Australia has not had a penny coin for quite a while now. From what I can tell, it all worked out fine for them.

They also moved to tougher material for their paper currency to make it last longer. Canada should be moving that way at this moment.


He mentions that some countries in Europe don't use the 1 Euro cent piece (soon to be the name for all Euro denominations), but it should be added that with almost every cash transaction is Europe, the vendor rounds to the nearest 0.05 or 0.10 and does so by giving you back more change that you expect. People should not take this as a call to eliminate any thing priced such that a cash payment would require pennies (we buy to many things on a continuous scale for that).

Mike MacDonald

You can use the same set of arguments to get rid of the $100 bill. The only place you can spend it without inspiring a 5-minute call to the manager to perform a microscopic examination is a casino. It's lost just as much purchasing power as the penny. It's primary purpose is drug running and money laundering, and Benjamin Franklin wasn't even a president.

Americans don't want chick-pity dollar coins, the Jefferson deuce, or quarters with the state bird of New Jersey on the reverse. We want our money made of worthless paper, the way Keynes intended.