Pennies from nowhere

In my lifetime I’ve seen a steady retreat of cultural icons into the history books. The rotary phone is gone. The 8-track tape player is gone. Space food sticks are gone. Even dear Pluto is gone. I don’t miss the rotary phone, never owned an 8-track, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Space Food Sticks. I did and still do have an affinity for Pluto and still count the little orb a member of my own personal solar system.

And so I am feeling a bit nostalgic regarding the penny and the talk of its demise. Columnist John Fund in a recent article on says its time to kill the penny. And for a lot of reasons I totally get. First, it costs more to mint a penny than its actual value, even as a less than all-copper coin. Second, no one picks
up a penny off the pavement, or carries pennies in their pockets, and few people make change with them. They get them back in change, but they throw them into a jar at home which places them out of circulation, prompting the minting of more at a loss of $100 million a year to the Treasury. 

I confess that I carry few pennies in my purse. I don’t pick them up off the pavement. I toss them in a dish at home. I take them out of circulation without so much as a care.  I even throw away the disgustingly ugly ones – you know, the ones that look they’ve been in the back pocket of a zombie the last twenty years. So I don’t deserve to have the penny anymore.

And apparently, we wouldn’t lose much by retiring the penny and even letting retailers round up every price tag to the nearest nickel, because they would definitely round up, not down – less than $20 year for the average consumer.

So I get it. It just seems a little sad. Just a little. And even that seems sad; that it’s only a wee bit melancholy to lose it for good.

Nickel for your thoughts?

Author: Susan

This post has 3 Comments

  1. Cherry Odelberg on April 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I pick them up. I wash them if they need to be washed. I throw them in a canning jar and save them for a rainy day. They are God's (or the Universe's) penny for my thoughts each day, some sign that God really does care about me and the little things in life.
    Pennies add up. For instance the brain and math teaser, “how about if I hire you and pay you a penny a day and double it?” Yes, yes, yes. I would be a millionaire in a short space of time.
    And then, there are those of us who write online for approximately a penny per view. The pennies add up in so many ways.

  2. Susan Meissner on April 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Oh, Cherry, I love this. You have reminded me why I love Pluto…

  3. carla stewart on April 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I pick up pennies, and if they're face up, I feel a little surge of good luck for that day. My dad (at age 85) still picks up pennies, and last year when he was using a cane, he would point them out to me so I could snag them for him.

    I carry pennies in my purse, but we also throw them in a jar with other change, and when the grandkids come, we “cash” it in and take them to Wal-Mart.

    Sad to hear about the penny. Totally understand the logic. Sad for Mr. Lincoln.

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