Pennies banned at Vermont sporting goods store

Pennies

A sporting goods store owner in Vermont has had pennies banned. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The penny is perhaps the most controversial coin in circulation, as it costs more than one cent to make one and nobody likes the things. A sporting goods store is so fed up with them that the store owner has declared pennies banned from the premises.

Store owner has pennies banned

A penny saved may well be a penny earned, but Caleb Magoon, owner/operator of Power Play Sports in Morrisville, Vt., doesn’t care, according to the Huffington Post. Magoon has had it with the copper colored coins and has put the kaibosh on people using them in his store.

Magoon declared pennies banned from his shop recently, as the bulk of all transaction conducted there are done with credit or debit cards. However, the shop will still take “outdated, outmoded, overpriced nuisance of coinage” if they happen to have it. The bright side is that Magoon will do customers paying with metal a solid, by rounding up to the nearest nickel, meaning a loss of up to four cents per transaction. He feels the store can easily absorb the loss, as there aren’t enough cash transactions to threaten the shop.

Not the first

Pennies have been a topic of debate for some time. Aside from the sheer expense of the coins, which are actually minted at a loss since they cost more than one cent to make, many consider the coins annoying.

Power Play Sports isn’t the first store to have pennies banned. Earlier this year, according to Business Insider, Shell Lumber, a hardware store in Coconut Grove, Fla., also banned pennies, in essentially the same manner as Power Play Sports; the store would no longer purchase them for use in registers and simply round up, losing up to four cents on a cash transaction. Plastic transactions, naturally, are for the full amount.

According to ABC7 San Francisco, a bicycle shop in San Rafael, Calif., Mike’s Bikes, also 86ed Mr. Lincoln in July 2011, for the same reasons. The hassle of the coins became too much and the shop opted to round up in the customer’s favor.

A Google search even turned up an instance of the city of Birmingham, Ala., refusing to accept pennies being mailed to City Hall for payment of traffic fines, in a snippet from the Gadsden Times from Aug. 4, 1958. Apparently Birminghamians were mailing in 100 pennies at a time to pay fines.

Common coin causes controversy concerning copper

A fair number of people have been agitating to have pennies banned. A lot of it has to do with the sheer cost of the metal involved. According to a 2002 Forbes article, the penny is 97.5 percent zinc, with 2.5 percent copper added for color only, which hasn’t changed since 1982.

As of this summer, according to CNN, each penny costs 2.4 cents to make. Nickels are just as bad, costing 11.2 cents per 5-cent coin. On top of that, an untold number of vacuum cleaners have broken because of them. Also, as a picture of the explanatory sign from Mike’s Bikes on Buzzfeed.com describes, the average person wastes 2.4 hours per year handling pennies or waiting on someone who is. The environmental effects of zinc mining aren’t exactly a picnic, either.

Sources

Huffington Post

Business Insider

ABC7

Gadsden Times on Google: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1891&dat=19580804&id=ALsfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=w9cEAAAAIBAJ&pg=1587,449864

Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/2002/07/05/0705penny.html

CNN: http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/15/news/economy/pennies_nickels/index.htm

Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jpmoore/california-bike-shop-bans-pennies

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