Opinion: Insert penny pun headline here
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as paying in exact change at the store, right?
The thrill of knowing that you have now rid your pockets of those relatively useless, dirty coins is both mentally and physically relieving. Less annoying jingling in your pocket, less weight in your pocket and less of that strange metallic scent clinging to your fingers.
That is unless you don’t use change.
I rarely do.
My debit card is the ultimate convenience in giving exact change and it silently sits in my pocket at a fraction of the weight of my bank account.
And it doesn’t smell.
I do keep some hard cash on me sometimes, but only a few quarters and a two-rupee coin from India. The quarters are for the outdated parking meters at Kent State and the rupee serves as a great flat head screwdriver to screw cameras onto tripods.
In fact, until I received the rupee as a spring break novelty from my friend, I’ve found that I use American coins more for camera accessory mounting than as actual currency.
That is for quarters, dimes and nickels.
Pennies though? Not so much.
Pennies pose as a predicament to my portable utility philosophy. First, no parking meters accept them; second, pennies are too thin to use effectively as a screwdriver; and third, pennies are the dirtiest and smelliest of all coins.
They are the homeless drifter pieces of the United States’ monetary system.
But the pennies’ days are numbered.
Just like how Rudy Giuliani got rid of squeegee panhandlers from New York City in the 90s, some countries are pulling pennies from the streets as we speak. The “Land Down Under” and several Scandinavian countries have pinched the life out of their one-cent coins, and, as of this past weekend, our neighbors to the North are following suit.
If you happen to be a resident Canuck, a hoser that makes trips to Windsor or Toronto on a regular basis, or if your name is Laing Kennedy, you should be happy to know that Canada is ditching the penny.
Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty cited that the biggest reason for exorcising the Maple Leaf pieces is that it costs 1.5 times their worth to produce them. Additionally, when senate committee hearings discussed the change in monetary policy last year, no one opposed phasing the coins out.
How does that translate to the United States’ currency?
There’s no immediate plan, but President Obama stated in the past that he would consider the elimination of the penny. I hope he does.
But not before I can clear out my sofa and car seats and run to the nearest Coinstar.
In defense of the penny, I suppose I left out one exceptional repurposing of the coin.
A Cutco salesman can demonstrate his bone-cutting scissors and make you the cheapest corkscrew you’ve ever owned.
But let’s be honest, that’s just a novelty and you’ll probably never use it.
Forget the penny — the rupee is where it’s at.