Crawl Across the Ocean

Saturday, December 18, 2004

If I were Prime Minister: Episode 1

This is intended as the first installment of what will be recurring (albeit perhaps so infrequently that by the time it recurs you forgot it ever curred in the first place) feature in which I make random suggestions on untopical topics of what I would do, were I Prime Minister (although some of my suggestions may require true dictatorial powers as opposed to the merely quasi-dictatorial powers which the PM actually possesses).

Since this is the first installment, I'm going to start small, real small, with a riddle, in which I give three clues and you have to guess what everyday item I am talking about.

1. It's an item you accumulate without trying to.
2. People are always giving it to you, and although you'd prefer to just leave it behind, it would seem impolite, and just dropping it on the ground would be littering.
3. As a result, you carry this item around in the hopes of being able to pawn it off on someone else.



What is it? It's the brown sheep in the silver family, the unwanted penny. And if I was Prime Minister, the penny would be the first casualty.

Thinking about how much everybody's time is worth and thinking about how much time each person spends giving, receiving and dealing with pennies each year, its time is up. Australia and New Zealand have abandoned theirs and it's time we did the same.

I mean, I find dealing with the $1 bills tedious in Monopoly, and that's a game where you can buy prime waterfront property for $400.

And it would certainly make these folks happy

Next time out on this feature, I promise to take on a more important topic, I just had to get the penny out of the way first.

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  • Why stop at the penny? Trim out the nickel too, just like Hong Kong did.

    By Blogger Andrew, at 5:26 PM  

  • Well, if I was only thinking of myself, I'd scrap the nickel and the dime as well, but I didn't want to shock anyone, so I thought I'd start with the penny.

    Once people see how getting rid of the penny didn't hurt a bit, support should build towards the dump-the-nickel movement.

    By Blogger Declan, at 5:36 PM  

  • I read somewhere an argument that went like this...

    I suppose without the penny, storekeepers would be expected to just round up to the nearest nickel.

    If you really want them to do that, you can acheive the same thing in your life by just giving back any pennies you receive in change.

    You'd pay the same price (as in the penny-less world) and you will achieve the same goal of never having to carry or roll any pennies.

    But you're not doing that and neither am I. I wonder why not?

    By Blogger Andrew Spicer, at 11:31 AM  

  • I don't know about you Andrew, but for me, per my riddle, I don't do it because it seems impolite - like I'm trying to tip the cashier with pennies. Also, as an introvert I try to keep my spoken communication with strangers to a minimum.

    Trust me, it's not because I secretly want to pile up the pennies.

    I like it when places have charity donation boxes (like at McDonalds) where you can put your spare change. Any time I'm at a place like that I dump in all my pennies, nickels and dimes, but it's still a pain dealing with them.

    Plus, the act of saying I don't want to take the pennies propbably takes more time on my and the cashier's part than just taking them does, and even if everyone refuses to take them, we still have the hassle for the shopkeepers and also the wasted expense of creating and distributing them in the first place.

    By Blogger Declan, at 11:58 AM  

  • I recall hearing somewhere that the cost of creating a single penny is more than one cent. Perhaps that should be a general rule of thumb...

    By Blogger Spearin, at 9:52 AM  

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