Is it Time for Kingston To Go Penny-Less?

one cent, penny, 1 cent, Canadian money, coinWhile picking up some provisions for the long weekend last Friday, we stopped in at Pasta G on Wellington Street.  This little Italian grocer is legendary, not only because of their fresh pasta and pizza dough, but also because they are a cash-only operation. Typically I don’t carry real currency, unless I’m making a Pasta G run, or getting my ears lowered; that’s Grandpa speak for getting a haircut. While I was counting out pennies and holding up the line last Friday afternoon, I got thinking about the ultimate value of our one-cent coin.  Let’s face it, not much can be purchased for a cent nowadays, while most people prefer to store their pennies in pickle jars.  Accordingly, this week’s poll asks:
[poll id=”73″]
When I sat down to research what others were saying about the penny, I was surprised to discover that a Senate committee recently recommended that the Canadian government do away with our one-cent piece. The committee’s report states:

Canada’s one-cent coin has lost 95% of its purchasing power since it was first produced in 1908. What used to cost a penny now costs twenty cents. This loss of value is a key point in the debate on the costs and benefits of the one-cent coin. Pennies today have little utility, as they are no longer accepted in vending machines, have virtually no purchasing power individually, and cannot legally be used more than twenty-five at a time to pay debts, including to retailers and service providers. Many consumers no longer use pennies at all, preferring to hoard them, give them away, or even discard them.

Do you think it’s high time we moved to retire the germ-ridden penny, and as the report recommends, round purchases to the nearest five cents?  Should we consider taking it one step further, and do away with the nickle as well?  Penny for your thoughts, please drop off your valuable comments below.

Thanks to Steveleenow for today’s photo.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

5 thoughts on “Is it Time for Kingston To Go Penny-Less?

  • No change for the penny! On paper, all signs point towards abolishing the penny but I seem to have a soft spot for the one-cent coin. I collect pennies and other small change until there are enough to roll. Sometimes I leave the bank with over 100 dollars in return.

    Also, if purchases were rounded up, we would lose a small amount of money each transaction. As I mentioned pennies can add up! The penny costs more to produce than it is worth, maybe they should look into cutting cost in production. My mother always said, take care of your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

  • It's time for the penny to go. .01-.04 – round down, .06-.09, round up.

  • A penny saved is a penny in that bowl on your dresser that you swear you'll get to rolling one day and oh forget it the coinstar machine is easier even if it takes 5%.

  • Considering I've almost entirely stopped using cash, it's really a non-issue for me.

    It's funny you mention Pasta G, because I actually rarely go there anymore simply due to the fact that I don't often have cash to do so. Downtown Kingston is still full of several places that have a minimum for non-cash purchases, and a handful of others that are cash-only. It's shame, since they may be saving that 2% fee, but I've got to wonder how much business they're losing..

    • I share the sentiment re: Pasta G. My craving must be really strong, and well thought out in order for me to shop there. As I mentioned, same thing goes when I get my hair cut. Places that don't do debit have become increasing difficult to do business with simply because I don't carry around any physical currency.

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