In For A Penny, In For A Pound

penny
Photo: Paul Revans

Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves, I was always told. Well, according to this article from the BBC Magazine, the pennies could soon be dying out.

They argue that people simply do not have the time to collect pennies anymore and would prefer to be charged in full pounds. The article continues to say that, despite the recession, no-one is penny-pinching because their time is all the more valuable. You would have to be paid £1.20 per hour for stopping 30 seconds to pick up a penny to be worthwhile, or in a more realistic figure, if you were paid minimum wage then six seconds is the most reasonable time you should have to wait for a penny to be handed over at the till.

For starters, who is paid that precisely for the seconds they work? Even if you were paid in such an anal manner, the argument is still redundant. The time you are most likely to be handling pennies is your lunch hour or your leisure time, and that cannot be quantified by an hourly wage.

The article continues to show how many stores are phasing out 99p pricing in favour of the more honest round pound value on goods. This is much more logical, since consumers have long since come to see through this thinly-veiled attempt to subconsciously make items seem cheaper than they are.

But as for the humble penny, I think it’s callous to overlook its importance. Even if you just toss it to a beggar sitting by the supermarket exit, it can make a difference. My university halls collected up all the loose change in its vacant flats last summer and gave the total sum (a little over £60) to charity, and that cash can go a considerable way towards changing lives for the better. I’d like to think of myself as a case in point – I counted my penny jar the other day and I have saved £3.72 over the past nine months, which will convert into a nice tasty pint at my local. As long as the penny is still legal tender, then it should not be taken as worthless.

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