I decided to poke around online to see what people think of eliminating the penny in Canada. The main thing I learned is that there are many opinionated math- and spelling-challenged people in the world. There are also many people who are very unhappy about dropping the penny. While there may be some good reasons to object to dropping the penny, I didn’t find any.
Let me go through the main arguments that I encountered.
I like saying “a penny for your thoughts.”
Saying this to a sweetheart is still permitted. When we are old enough to be great-grandparents, maybe we can explain to our families the meaning of that funny word “penny” that gets used in so many expressions.
What if retailers all round prices up to the next nickel?
I think this would enrage customers. If some retailer were bold enough to try it, we could shop elsewhere. However, I suspect that almost all retailers will follow the government’s guidelines to round shopping totals ending in 1, 2, 6, and 7 down to the nearest nickel and round totals ending in 3, 4, 8, and 9 up to the nearest nickel.
What if retailers are very clever to choose prices that always round up by 2 cents?
This won’t work if we buy 2 or more things at once because the rounding doesn’t happen until after the prices of all the items are totaled. Retailers may still be clever enough to choose prices that lead to rounding up more often than rounding down. Let’s suppose that retailers manage to average an extra half-cent per transaction due to rounding up more frequently than down. Even if I make 100 cash transactions per month, that’s only 50 cents. Big deal.
Even if the rounding is fair, bad luck might make the rounding go against me.
If the rounding amount is randomly chosen among -2, -1, 0, 1, or 2 cents one hundred times each month, the odds of being up or down by more than $10 after 50 years is less than 1 in 200.
The government is a bunch of thieves.
Even if that were true, keeping the penny wouldn’t help.
If there are some good reasons for keeping the penny, I’d like to hear them.