Or, The People, my insane fellow countrymen, reaffirm that low-value paper currency is the way to go. “That’s right,” they say…we’ve almost achieved a monetary system where you not only paper money is needed for all purchases. But we’re not stopping there. We hope to see a day when all change will come back in paper as well. We’re confident that three-percent annual average inflation will take care of that for us.
By now you will have guessed that I am referring to today’s reports that the Mint will no longer make Sackies. I saw this coming because I still haven’t seen a 2001. I had such hopes that I would live to see a non-pauperized currency system in my country, but it appears it’s not going to happen.
The only way the dollar coin will stick is if the government gets rid of the paper dollar. Only then will be be forced to use it. After a little bitching and moaning, it will become part of the culture
Everyone was hoarding them. I used to go to my bank and get a roll or more a week, and spend them all over. Used to spend 'em like nobody’s business. Got in huge fights with people who were excited to receive them because they were “saving them” for their grandchildren. Please. I probably spent close to $1000 in Sackies, and never got one back as change, either.
I started thinking that maybe if they hadn’t made the gold-colored, people wouldn’t have been so entranced by them and would have just spent them. Was there a hoarding problem with Suzies?
No, the problem does exist, it’s just that people don’t see it. How many people do you know who actually remember to carry a pile of change around with them so they can spend it and keep from getting more? Probably not many. If you don’t spend it, what happens to it? Every time you go out use cash to buy something, you get more pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. They pile up at home, or get lost in car seats, or whatever. I consider it a loss because there’s a good chance that coins lost or left behind at home won’t get spent. You can argue that since the coins remain in your possession you’re not really losing anything. But I contend that five dollars in pennies and nickels on your dresser is not worth as much as a five dollar bill, because in the transformation from the fin to several ounces of tiny-value coins, that money has lost one of the essential characteristics of money: Convenience. Money is supposed to be useful. The denominations of coins should have a reasonable relation to the articles of ordinary retail commerce. But with what we have, that’s not the case. I mentioned recently how it costs a quarter…the high-valued flagship of our coinage system…just to pump up a tire at a gas station. That really sucks (no pun intended).
On the other hand, when there is a coinage system with appropriate denominations, your change doesn’t pile up because you keep spending it as you go.
My comments go beyond just the dollar because I think the whole system needs to be revised, not just the dollar.
I don’t understand your argument, javaman. You say that the problem is that people have too much change and don’t get to spend it, and so the solution is to add another type of coin? What does the dollar coin do that the bill doesn’t do except not fold, weigh more, and be pretty? What do we benefit from a dollar coin that we don’t from a dollar bill?
I think another obstacle facing the Sackie is the construction of change drawers in tills. When I worked as a cashier, there were four trays for coins…so where would the fifth coin, the Sackie, go? Even in tills where there are five trays, most cashiers use the fifth tray for rubber bands, paper clips, and other miscellaneous stuff.
The only two times I ever spent a Sackie, both times the cashiers complained that they didn’t like getting them in change because they didn’t have anywhere to put them. And one of those times was in Vegas, where cashiers won’t even blink if you pay for a pack of gum with a $100 bill.
Unlike with a heavily creased bill, you wouldn’t have problems with soft drink machines spitting out a dollar coin at you - if they’d actually configured the damned machines to take dollar coins, that is. (I’m reminded of a soft drink commercial where some guy drives up to a vending machine at a closed gas station out in the desert somewhere, feeds in his bill, and gets it spit back out at him each time he tries.)
I’m half-convinced that a change like that would have let the dollar coin gain more popularity. I’m usually annoyed at having them in my wallet (from buying stamps at machines, most often) since I figured not many people would know what they are.
The benefit of coins is that they are easier to handle. If you can buy something with just coins, you just reach into your pocket and pull out the required amount. It’s a one-handed operation. But for that to work, it has to be a reasonable amount of coins, say less than five of them. That’s why we don’t walk into a McD’s and buy lunch that way, because it would take 16 or more quarters to buy a modest lunch. Four or five Sackies work great in that context.
With bills on the other hand, it takes two hands. Pull out the wallet. Open. Find the right bill or bills, which you can’t do by feel. Pay the cashier, who probably doles out one or more bills in change and puts a pile of coins on top (I hate that!). Coins into pocket. Bills into wallet. You go home. Coins into the jar on your dresser, where they lie dormant.
Obviously paper money has its place in larger purchases, for instance buying gas or groceries, but there’s something seriously wrong when you almost always have to use bills to buy minuscule things like sandwiches and magazines…and even the change from those sorts of transactions comes back in paper!