Coming to work this week, I saw a penny on the ground...then another...and another.
I saw people passing the money, and instead of picking it up, they kicked in off the curb.
That's even worse than throwing them into the fountain where at least you might get some good luck from it.
Thus, the state of our minting of coinage--it's essentially worthless.
After getting a pretty basic Venti Java Chip at Starbucks for a whopping $5.45, I quickly calculated, I would need 545 pennies,109 nickles, 54.5 dimes, or 21.8 quarters o pay for this--how ridiculous!
And uh, how many of these would you need to pay someone one hour at the new proposed minimum wage of $10.10 if you did it in coins?
Otherwise, I could just give them a credit or debit card--yes, sort of a no brainer, right?
Why do we keep making coinage that no one wants or needs in the digital age?
We have direct deposit for payroll, automatic deductions for many expenses, online banking, ecommerce , credit and debit cards, paypal, and even bitcoin...let's just be honest and admit it, traditional money is basically obsolete.
At Starbucks, I see many people now just use their Smartphone App to pay and get rewards--another advance.
Someday soon, we will have embedded chips that simply add and deduct payments as we go along and live life--it's really not all that complicated.
The funny thing also is that it costs more to make many coins then their intrinsic worth--and hence the drive towards making coins with cheaper materials.
According to Business Insider, in 2012, a penny cost 2.4 cents to make and a nickle 11.2 cents--quite a losing proposition.
While there truly are some valuable coins out there and I appreciate that there are many coin lovers and collectors--numismatists--perhaps there are alternate hobbies to consider.
A colleague once told me that "If you watch your pennies, the dollars will follow"--and that may be some good investement advice, but in a 24/7 society and after decades of inflation, there isn't enough time or room to collect all the pennies we would need to make much of a difference.
ABC News reports that while our northern brother, Canada, got rid of the penny in 2012, we still make something like 5 billion of these useless things a year.
Full disclosure: my first job in Washington, D.C. was for the U.S. Mint, and while there were good things about it, I could never feel good about the mission--it just had no purpose. ;-)
All Opinions my own.
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Maura Teague)