Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pennies - The Bane of My Existence

Ah, Abraham Lincoln. So stoic with his manicured immediately-recognizable beard. One of America's most beloved president's and hero to slaves all over the south. I wonder, did he realize what a bane his visage would become a century and a half after his death?

President Lincoln's face first appeared on the penny in 1909 in honor of his 100th birthday. (The history of the Lincoln cent is actually somewhat fascinating.) Since then, he has graced purses, wallets, pockets, cup holders, and parking lots all over the world with his presence.
According to the US Mint, the penny is the only coin whose portrait faces to the right
 Yet while the penny is likely the most plentiful coin in the US, I would say it's also the most useless. I hate pennies, with a passion. If I want to spend them, it takes forever to count them out and you always get "that look" from the cashier and all those customers who are behind you in line waiting. And they're so small, they disappear among the other coins. I have 9 pennies in my wallet at this time. How long do you think it took me to find those 9 pennies? A lot longer than it took me to find 1 dime, that's for sure.

So maybe my wallet isn't that bad. Only 9 pennies. Let's take a look at the bottom of my purse, because as you know, you'll get more glares if you actually try to put your change away, so it just gets tossed into the bottom.
  • 18 quarters
  • 14 dimes
  • 6 nickels
  • 28 pennies
I thought about heading out to count the pennies in my cupholders, but I have two of them and I think that task may take all day, not to mention how icky it would be.

And those are just the pennies I can keep track of. I'm always finding pennies in random places, too. On the floor, in the washer, under the couch, in water fountains, in every parking lot I've ever been in. They're everywhere. And you know that those pennies sitting on floors and parking lots all over the place aren't being used.  In fact, they're being junked. An estimated 1.2 million pennies are tossed every year. That's 1.2 million dollars being thrown away.

And guess how much it costs to actually make the penny? $0.0179. Yep. It costs more to make it than it does to spend it. But hey, all those pennies in my purse keep me in shape. Guess I can't complain too much. And on that note, I'm going to go wash my hands because I always feel horribly dirty after messing around with change.

Take a look at the Great Penny Debate and let me know what you think. Do you actually use your pennies or do they sit around collecting dust? Do you think the penny should be done away with as its equivalent has in many countries? Do your pennies always make your hands feel like they have an invisible layer of ick on them?

Images courtesy of Wiki Commons

1 comment:

  1. I actually use pennies! But mostly so I don't get a bunch more returned as change. Interesting link - compelling arguments on both sides. But I think with our national debt, I'm up for whichever solution will cost us less - which is probably on the side of elimination.


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