The Selfish Hippie realizes that Canada isn't so bad

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/04/selfish-hippie-realizes-that-canada.html
For all the flack Canada gets, it's actually a pretty cool country.

The most recent news to come out of the "great beyond" is about money, and was rousing enough to stir this selfish hippie into writing something to get the word out. It's a topic that has weighed on me for several months now, ever since I cleaned out and organized my room. It's something that nearly every civilized country with similar currency has already taken care of, and like usual, for this progressive movement we're at the back of the pack.

It's the penny, and it makes hardly any cents, and absolutely no sense.

Canada is trying to become the next country to do away with the penny, instead just rounding prices to the nearest five cents. Before anybody starts shouting about how we'll be getting screwed out of pennies on the dollar, think about this. You might buy a hamburger for $2.98 with tax. Rounded up, it's $3, costing you an extra two cents. However, perhaps after your hamburger, you buy a milkshake for $1.97. This time, the price is rounded down to the nearest five cents to $1.95, so you save two cents. So, on average, you wouldn't lose any money and you wouldn't gain any.

It makes cents/sense. (And don't worry, I'll only make that joke a couple more times.)

I'm not the only one that thinks this; far from it. Besides several bloggers and newspersons ranting, many countries have abolished their one cent pieces because they cost more to make than they are actually worth. Consequently, there's the risk of people melting the coins down and selling the material and turning about a 170% profit. For some more information on the debate over whether or not to trash the coin, check out the wikipedia article, particularly the portion about other countries that have done away with small change.

Of course, you all know why I'm in favor of getting rid of the penny. Not only does it free up some time, energy and money for the government, as well as use fewer resources manufacturing pennies, which I would then hope (perhaps naively) they use productively in a way that benefits me somehow, but it simplifies my life and frees up a few hours every couple months that would normally be spent rolling my pennies and depositing them at the bank. Although, to be honest, I do feel that rolling coins can be a somewhat zen experience.

In the meantime, I encourage everyone to use your common sense/cents. Use your pennies as much as possible. Nobody seems to like pennies, so when you get some, keep them in your pocket, and use them the next chance you get. Push those nasty little coppers off on someone else, saving yourself time, energy and money.

After all, that's what the selfish hippie is all about: saving money while saving the world.
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