Is there anyone left to defend the penny?  Once upon a time there was absolutely no need to.  Old timers remember when pennies bought goodies galore at the candy store.  They’ll remind you how pleased they once were when rewarded or gifted with a few pennies, when dispensing machines of all sorts operated on pennies , and when the local newspaper was yours for but a few cents.

Alas, the penny has fallen from grace, been rudely shoved aside.  Once a necessity it has now become a nuisance.  They cost too much to make and nothing on the market can be purchased for a penny anymore, or even several of them.  People no longer stop to pick them up as they lay abandoned and forlorn on sidewalks.  Dishes containing pennies can be found alongside cash registers, free to customers who are charged $4.03 or $2.52, etc., and therefore require pennies to complete the transaction.  One could easily imagine pricing policies that eliminate the need to produce pennies.

Few today would offer “a penny for your thoughts”, or employ the term “penny pincher” to taunt a cheapskate.  “Penny loafers” are unlikely to make a comeback while the name “Penny” is heard rarely these days.

Pennies fill the pockets of pants and jackets and frequently just remain there.  At home they merely accumulate, have no further prospects.  Offer them to children and you will be greeted with scorn.  Decide to pack them into rolls, but don’t expect you’ll get around to actually doing it.  Why not toss them out?  You give it serious thought, but then are deterred by guilt – throwing money away – it’s just not right.  And so they pile up, often out of sight, a challenge to our imagination and determination.

Now, the Canadians recently announced that they would be phasing out their penny.  Americans, I know, generally resent taking any lessons from our neighbors up North, do not believe Canadians have much to teach us.  In this instance, we might consider making an exception.

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