In March last year, The New Yorker published an article on the penny in America. Clearly, it’s a ridiculous amount of money, and the article goes into detail about why it still exists and what a nuisance it is.
The case in America is more extreme (as in all things, seemingly), but Australia is facing a similar issue now over its 5¢ piece. A report or rumour on moves to scrap the thing have prompted objection from the Queensland Consumers Association, but their worries really sound ill considered: “no matter what they do with the coinage, they manage to make sure the consumer doesn’t win”. Good luck with that particular argument.
Okay, let’s say you want to buy something that costs less than a dollar and it’s rounded up by, at most, 5¢; your purchase will increase by some shocking 5%–10%, but it’s only 5¢ maximum at any one time. It’s such a negligible amount compared to the overall cost of the weekly shopping that I’m rather appalled someone (speaking on behalf of the consumer) would deign to suggest it’s anti-consumer.
The efficiencies in eliminating this coin (which costs the mint on the order of four million dollars a year) far outweigh any nostalgia one may feel towards the little guy. You can’t imagine how futile and frustrating it feels to count hundreds of the things to balance a till when their sum comes to less than 0.5% of the total balance.
I’m very happy to look forward to saving precious minutes every night I count the till at Chocolate Bean.