Penny WTFs



  • Slashdot has a story. Summary: Due to inflation and skyrocketing zinc prices (blame Chinese industrialization), pennies are quickly becoming more valuable than one cent, in terms of raw materials (they're already worth at least 1.1c). An economist at the Federal Reserve bank of Chicago thinks that the laws against bulk currency melting aren't going to be enough, so he suggests.... "rebasing" the penny to be worth five cents.

    I really can't quite get how this is supposed to work... but, you know, we already have a five-cent coin. Why don't we just do something like, oh, the "Currency Overhaul for an Industrious Nation (COIN) act" which would have basically rounded all cash transactions to the nearest nickel. (The congressional session ended, though and the bill went nowhere...)



  • I would be all for getting rid of the penny. I'm tired of seeing "$1.99", "$2.99", etc everywhere. Also, they insist on giving me pennies as change, but then look at me like I'm a freak when I give them exact change for purchases. Heck.. do away with currency altogether! Let's use Big Brother implants and transfer funds by placing our hand on a sensor pad! Let the chaos ensue!



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    I would be all for getting rid of the penny. I'm tired of seeing "$1.99", "$2.99", etc everywhere. Also, they insist on giving me pennies as change, but then look at me like I'm a freak when I give them exact change for purchases. Heck.. do away with currency altogether! Let's use Big Brother implants and transfer funds by placing our hand on a sensor pad! Let the chaos ensue!

    Picture it: 100 people waiting in line the night before the PS4 is released with some unlucky person's cut-off hands in their pockets. It will be the new form of pickpocketing.

    Edit: F*$k coins, it's archaic and pointless. F*$k those people who charge $1.99 for something and after tax is $2.03, so I either have to bring pennies with me, or be prepared to get $0.97 in change that I'll forget to bring with me next time. Abolish the sales tax, charge me $2 for my sandwich, and everybody will be a lot happier.



  • @Manni said:

    Picture it: 100 people waiting in line the night before the PS4 is released with some unlucky person's cut-off hands in their pockets. It will be the new form of pickpocketing.

    Edit: F*$k coins, it's archaic and pointless. F*$k those people who charge $1.99 for something and after tax is $2.03, so I either have to bring pennies with me, or be prepared to get $0.97 in change that I'll forget to bring with me next time. Abolish the sales tax, charge me $2 for my sandwich, and everybody will be a lot happier.

    Sales taxes are based on the store's gross receipts - they're not per-transaction. The store is perfectly capable of setting things up so that you pay a nice round price ($2 even) after tax. But they don't, and I guess that's because it looks more expensive that way, compared to other stores.

    That said, yeah - the penny is worth 7 seconds of time at the federal minimum wage - more like 2-4 seconds for more average workers, probably more like 1 second or less for some of the better-paid workers in IT. Getting rid of it makes sense. Dimes, I'd keep. Getting rid of the nickel is a bit iffier - we have a 25c coin, and that makes a nickel somewhat useful... and quarters aren't going anywhere.

    An amusing WTF is how the penny is made of zinc and the nickel is made of copper. :)



  • In many countries, including Austria where I live, prices on the price tags must include all taxes that apply, if the shop sells to consumers.



  • Except the gubment.  But hey, the IT industry would get a whole new wave of Y2K-type work...




  • @Manni said:

    Picture it: 100 people waiting in line the night before the PS4 is released with some unlucky person's cut-off hands in their pockets. It will be the new form of pickpocketing.

    Edit: F*$k coins, it's archaic and pointless. F*$k those people who charge $1.99 for something and after tax is $2.03, so I either have to bring pennies with me, or be prepared to get $0.97 in change that I'll forget to bring with me next time. Abolish the sales tax, charge me $2 for my sandwich, and everybody will be a lot happier.

    And us lucky Canucks north of the border get stuck with $1 and $2 coins.  Hell, they almost decided to make $5 coins for us.  Gee thanks.  My pocket isn't weighed down enough, thank you very much! 



  • There was talk about getting rid of the penny 50 years ago when you could actually buy something for a penny.  According to an inflation calculator, 1 cent in 1955 was the equivalent of 6 cents in 1965.

     Here's a challenge for you:  Take a nickel.  Just five cents.  Go to your local mall and buy something with that nickel.  Find something somewhere that costs no more than a nickel.  (Plus tax if applicable; I'll allow one more cent for sales tax.)

    Come back and tell me what you bought.

     



  • @newfweiler said:

    There was talk about getting rid of the penny 50 years ago when you could actually buy something for a penny.  According to an inflation calculator, 1 cent in 1955 was the equivalent of 6 cents in 1965.

     Here's a challenge for you:  Take a nickel.  Just five cents.  Go to your local mall and buy something with that nickel.  Find something somewhere that costs no more than a nickel.  (Plus tax if applicable; I'll allow one more cent for sales tax.)

    Come back and tell me what you bought.

     

    Ah, an inflation calculator! Good man. But I think you've typoed with '1965', since 1 cent in 1955 is more like $.07 in 2005.

    On that note, I rewrote that (linked) inflation calculator I linked a couple of times while it was still hosted at EH.Net. Many fine WTFs there, once. Using PHP to execute shell commands like 'awk' to look through a text file to find the year... or wait, was that the historical exchange rate one? Bah. Whatever, it's all in databases now, and much happier for it.



  • @Manni said:

    @AbbydonKrafts said:

    I would be all for getting rid of the penny. I'm tired of seeing "$1.99", "$2.99", etc everywhere. Also, they insist on giving me pennies as change, but then look at me like I'm a freak when I give them exact change for purchases. Heck.. do away with currency altogether! Let's use Big Brother implants and transfer funds by placing our hand on a sensor pad! Let the chaos ensue!

    Picture it: 100 people waiting in line the night before the PS4 is released with some unlucky person's cut-off hands in their pockets. It will be the new form of pickpocketing.

    Edit: F*$k coins, it's archaic and pointless. F*$k those people who charge $1.99 for something and after tax is $2.03, so I either have to bring pennies with me, or be prepared to get $0.97 in change that I'll forget to bring with me next time. Abolish the sales tax, charge me $2 for my sandwich, and everybody will be a lot happier.

    Pennies could be cheaper. 

    What they should do is make the damned things:

    1. Out of a cheaper material.
    2. Thinner.
    3. Smaller
    4. all of the above.

    The great thing about sales tax is that there aren't as many loopholes. If you buy something, you pay an additional % in taxes.

    Income taxes you can get around by doing something like counting leastwise from the concurrent haberdashery over the last ten years, or having an annual salary of $1 with a large expense account.

    It's illegal in some places to include the cost of taxes in the price, so you end up with menu items like:

    Sandwich: 3.74 ($4.00 after taxes)
     



  • Australia got rid of its 1 and 2 cent coins quite some time ago, and I don't miss them at all.  Shops can still charge $1.99 for something - if you pay cash it gets rounded to the nearest 5c, but credit or debit cards (or cheques, but who uses those?) users will pay the $1.99.



  • Sweet merciful christ, can we please, PLEASE just kill the penny already? State that it will be deprecated, and that businesses have until 2012 to migrate their infrastructure, with minor tax incentives for every year sooner they're done by. Honestly, it'll be annoying to do the infrastructure changes, but it will end up being WAY LESS ANNOYANCE that constantly having fucking pennies.



  • @newfweiler said:

    There was talk about getting rid of the penny 50 years ago when you could actually buy something for a penny.  According to an inflation calculator, 1 cent in 1955 was the equivalent of 6 cents in 1965.

     Here's a challenge for you:  Take a nickel.  Just five cents.  Go to your local mall and buy something with that nickel.  Find something somewhere that costs no more than a nickel.  (Plus tax if applicable; I'll allow one more cent for sales tax.)

    Come back and tell me what you bought.

    Can't really do that at the mall, but at smaller stores you can get a piece of gum for a nickel, or tiny crappy plastic tchotskies (think plastic spider rings for 6 year olds)

    The penny, on the other hand, is completely pointless.



  • WTF!?  Doesn't anybody ride the horsies at the grocery store anymore?



  • @Cap'n Steve said:

    WTF!? Doesn't anybody ride the horsies at the grocery store anymore?

    Those cost a quarter.



  • @fennec said:

    ... pennies are quickly becoming more valuable than one cent, in terms of raw materials (they're already worth at least 1.1c)....

    Cool. I'm gonna sell all my one cent coins as scrap!

    I'll take that in pennies, please.

    (I'll bet someone at Slashdot has already made that joke, and been modded down for it.)
     



  • @AbbydonKrafts said:

    I would be all for getting rid of the penny. I'm tired of seeing "$1.99", "$2.99", etc everywhere.

    You don't get rid of the *.99 prices by removing the means of paying that exact amount.

    Here in Sweden we have gotten rid of the "ettöring", the "femöring", the "tioöring" and the "tjugofemöring", so the smallest coin is the "femtioöring", which is half a crown. Still you see prices like "13.98" in the stores.

     The "femöring" had about the same value as a cent, and we got rid of that like twenty years ago. It's a pity that the (middle-part-of-north-) americans has to be so far behind... ;)



  • The problem is, many Americans (and many Canadians) follow the old adage, "Every penny counts."

    The thing that disturbs me is that if I don't have a penny, there's a small stack of them next to the register so that the clerk can give me one.  It's not because they are being helpful--it's because their boss would be mad if they were out a penny.  I know from personal experience that places dealing in small transactions (think a fast-food restaurant) get edgy if your till is short a single dollar, even if the till has over $2,000 in it.



  • Speaking of coins, our country switched to Euro with the beginning of this year. Previusoly, the coin worth most in common use was worth about 20 euro cents (50SIT; there were also coins worth ~42c [100SIT] and 2,08€ [500SIT], but those were a rarity, and banknotes were in common use for these). Now I have to get used to my wallet weighting twice as much as it used to, thanks to 1 and 2€ coins.

    And on the topic of worthless coins, at one time we had coins with the nominative worth of 0,10SIT, 0,20SIT and 0,50SIT (approx. 0,04c, 0,08c and 0,2c). Even though these coins weren't really in use for quite a while now, stores still happily used fractions in their prices.



  • @ender said:

    Speaking of coins, our country switched to Euro with the beginning of this year. Previusoly, the coin worth most in common use was worth about 20 euro cents (50SIT; there were also coins worth ~42c [100SIT] and 2,08€ [500SIT], but those were a rarity, and banknotes were in common use for these). Now I have to get used to my wallet weighting twice as much as it used to, thanks to 1 and 2€ coins.

    In my experience, the 1€ and 2€ coins are not much of a problem. They go as quickly as they come. It's much harder to get rid of those countless 1c and 2c coins.



  • @RevEng said:

    The thing that disturbs me is that if I don't have a penny, there's a small stack of them next to the register so that the clerk can give me one.  It's not because they are being helpful--it's because their boss would be mad if they were out a penny.


    It's also because people don't want to tote the things around because they can't be used in a vending machine, so they toss them in the cup or whatnot. I've done it plenty of times. On the rare chance that I don't feel like breaking out another buck to cover $1.03, I'll dip into the "give a penny, take a penny" cup.

    Also, walking from the door of a big store (like Wal-Mart) to the car reveals 5c in pennies in the parking lot. People just toss the things like trash.



  • @fennec said:

    @Cap'n Steve said:
    WTF!? Doesn't anybody ride the horsies at the grocery store anymore?

    Those cost a quarter.

    Really? Here in Australia they're usually like $2.
     



  • @Guffa said:

    @AbbydonKrafts said:

    I would be all for getting rid of the penny. I'm tired of seeing "$1.99", "$2.99", etc everywhere.

    You don't get rid of the *.99 prices by removing the means of paying that exact amount.

    Here in Sweden we have gotten rid of the "ettöring", the "femöring", the "tioöring" and the "tjugofemöring", so the smallest coin is the "femtioöring", which is half a crown. Still you see prices like "13.98" in the stores.

     The "femöring" had about the same value as a cent, and we got rid of that like twenty years ago. It's a pity that the (middle-part-of-north-) americans has to be so far behind... ;)

    Do we live in the same Sweden? Last twenty years I've never seen the fraction part of a price in any other increment than .05. You see 19.95 etc, though 19.90 is more common, but NEVER fractions on the cent ("öre").



  • Luckily Finland decided to go without  1c & 2c . You can hardly get anything with 10c so who really needs those anyways.



  • @themagni said:

    @Manni said:

    @AbbydonKrafts said:

    I would be all for getting rid of the penny. I'm tired of seeing "$1.99", "$2.99", etc everywhere. Also, they insist on giving me pennies as change, but then look at me like I'm a freak when I give them exact change for purchases. Heck.. do away with currency altogether! Let's use Big Brother implants and transfer funds by placing our hand on a sensor pad! Let the chaos ensue!

    Picture it: 100 people waiting in line the night before the PS4 is released with some unlucky person's cut-off hands in their pockets. It will be the new form of pickpocketing.

    Edit: F*$k coins, it's archaic and pointless. F*$k those people who charge $1.99 for something and after tax is $2.03, so I either have to bring pennies with me, or be prepared to get $0.97 in change that I'll forget to bring with me next time. Abolish the sales tax, charge me $2 for my sandwich, and everybody will be a lot happier.

    Pennies could be cheaper. 

    What they should do is make the damned things:

    1. Out of a cheaper material.
    2. Thinner.
    3. Smaller
    4. all of the above.

    The great thing about sales tax is that there aren't as many loopholes. If you buy something, you pay an additional % in taxes.

    Income taxes you can get around by doing something like counting leastwise from the concurrent haberdashery over the last ten years, or having an annual salary of $1 with a large expense account.

    It's illegal in some places to include the cost of taxes in the price, so you end up with menu items like:

    Sandwich: 3.74 ($4.00 after taxes)
     

     

    They have been making pennies smaller by putting zinc in the middle instead of copper.  Currently only a thin layer of copper exists on a penny whereas they used to be entirely copper.  Making them thinner and smaller would not work since they have to match specs.  Otherwise coin sorting/counting machines would not work.



  • @tster said:

    They have been making pennies smaller by putting zinc in the middle instead of copper.  Currently only a thin layer of copper exists on a penny whereas they used to be entirely copper.  Making them thinner and smaller would not work since they have to match specs.  Otherwise coin sorting/counting machines would not work.

    Smaller, I dunno, but cheaper anyway.

    Still: saying "make them smaller" ignores the larger problem - people have no use for these things. Making them smaller and lighter will just make them seem that much more worthless, and that much easier to throw away.



  • I meant to say cheaper in that first line.  I don't know why I typed smaller.



  • I still remember the good old ha'penny (0.005 GBP) ;-p

    Personally, I could live without any bronze (1p, 2p) in my pocket. But sales tax of a few %? Try 17.5% in the UK *on top of* income tax of up to 40%, and compulsory NI (state health insurance - which you have to pay even if you have private health cover). Oh, and petrol prices of 0.95 GBP / litre (do the USD / gallon conversion yourself and weep). You yanks don't know you're born ;-p

     Marc



  • People still use coins? I only use my credit card, I currently have less than an euro in coins, dunno how I got them and no idea when I'm gonna use them either.



  • @ammoQ said:

    @ender said:

    Speaking of coins, our country switched to Euro with the beginning of this year. Previusoly, the coin worth most in common use was worth about 20 euro cents (50SIT; there were also coins worth ~42c [100SIT] and 2,08€ [500SIT], but those were a rarity, and banknotes were in common use for these). Now I have to get used to my wallet weighting twice as much as it used to, thanks to 1 and 2€ coins.

    In my experience, the 1€ and 2€ coins are not much of a problem. They go as quickly as they come. It's much harder to get rid of those countless 1c and 2c coins.

    You still have the 1c and 2c euro coins?

    My country (Netherlands) got rid of them amazingly quickly after it became universally clear what a %$^! nuisance they were.



  • @dhromed said:

    You still have the 1c and 2c euro coins?

    My country (Netherlands) got rid of them amazingly quickly after it became universally clear what a %$^! nuisance they were.

    Unfortunately, yes. Reminds me of an old joke regarding currencies:

    Q: What is the exchange rate beween Dollar, Pound and Rouble? 

    A: A Dollar equals a pound of Rouble.


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