Editorial: Getting your two cents worth

The demise of the penny doesn't appear to save you any money

Since the end of the penny, it feels like we are actually paying more for items. The penny, as we know, is being phased out in favour of round numbers. The humble little copper is more expensive than its face value and the government doesn’t want to deal with it anymore.

We can no longer say, “give me your two cents worth,” “a penny for your thoughts,” or “a penny saved is a penny earned.” All of these sayings speak of economy and the value of the cent.

When you pay cash these days, it seems that they end up rounding up our price more often than rounding it down. It’s supposed to end up neutral, but it sure seems to go up rather than down more frequently, unless you use a government service like the liquor store or the post office. The retailers still persist in pricing everything ending in .99 and that’s where the rub is. Your purchase costs you a penny or two more, while the price tag looks like you are saving. Now, one cent by itself is no big deal, people won’t even pick one up off the street, they are worthless, stomped upon and neglected. We should still respect money, no matter how small and insignificant it seems. Remember how people would line up for gas when one station had gas one measly penny cheaper.

That is the value of the penny, it shows how costs rise, it’s a barometer of the economy. If you add up all of those pennies ‘salvaged’ by a large retailer, it does make a big difference to them. If a retail giant makes $100,000, that’s $1,000 if they up each item by just one cent. Over a year it makes a huge difference. We could, of course, disperse with paying in cash to save the one cent, but how about retailers raise their prices by one cent so we don’t feel robbed.

That’s just my two cents worth.