February 12th marks National Lost Penny Day in the US, a strange thing to celebrate - but hey, no one's getting the day off, so no big deal. Canadians would miss out if it was a holiday, though.
Why? Because Canada did away with pennies back in 2013 - interestingly, barely a week before National Lost Penny Day! Although it seemed odd to many Canadians at the time, it was a decision borne of common sense. Here's why!
More Trouble Than They're Worth -- Literally
At the time they were phased out, pennies cost the Canadian Mint 1.6 cents to produce. Doesn't make much cents, does it? Getting rid of them ended up saving taxpayers up to $11 million a year, which is advantageous.
But even though the US has considered following suit (along with a dozen countries which phased out their one-unit currencies ages ago), they have a problem. The US penny costs 2.4 cents to produce, which isn't great - but the nickel costs 11.2 cents per coin, so it would be even worse with the penny gone and more nickels floating around!
People Are Hoarders
The penny is notoriously bad for recirculation. Most people don't bother carrying them if they don't have to, and so they wind up languishing under beds or car seats, at the bottom of cupholders, and other less savoury locations. Hoarding tendencies make it seem stupid to throw out anything that is perceived as valuable - and so they were being stockpiled and never used! The Canadian Mint produced more to make up for the lost coins, continuing the cycle until they melted down the remaining pennies in their possession in 2013.
Most Transactions Don't Require Them
Besides those of us who get an endorphin rush from the occasions where we lay down the perfect coinage to pay for something, exact change in Canada is now a matter for electronic transactions only. Now, cash transactions always round up or down to the nearest 5 cents. Meaning that customers will take a loss if they wind up paying $3.00 for something which cost $2.98, but receive a benefit if they pay for a $3.02 purchase with just $3.00! The now-departed rush of to-the-penny payment can now be replaced by gaming the system to save by paying via credit, debit, or cash, depending on the price - thank goodness.
Wishing Wells Aren't Picky
Finally, although science has yet to prove any correlation between tossing coins into bodies of water and increased luck (or proof of luck as a natural phenomenon at all), the placebo effect can be achieved just as easily by tossing nickels, dimes, or quarters. Come to think of it, wouldn't a nickel bring five times as much good fortune as a penny anyway?
What do you think? Do you miss the little coppers? Glad they've gone the way of the $2 bill and the English half-penny? Wish that the States would follow suit and drop the penny and nickel? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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