(Abby Ellin) What’s a penny worth these days? At Power Play Sports, a sporting goods shop in Morrisville, Vermont, not much.
That’s because on September 1, owner Caleb Magoon, 29, stopped dispensing pennies when giving change. While the store will still accept the “outdated, outmoded, overpriced nuisance of coinage” from customers, “We’re not actively using them,” said Magoon.
Instead, the company will round up to the nearest nickel in the customer’s favor. So, if your anticipated change on a purchase is $1.26, the store will give you $1.30 in return.
His reasons range from the micro–”I’m a small business with a few employees and we all work really hard and it’s just one more thing to deal with”–to the macro.
“I think pennies are unnecessary on a larger scale,” he said. ”Eighty-five percent of my transactions are by credit card or check, that’s why it was an easy thing to do,” he said. It doesn’t cost me much money because no one pays in cash currency anymore.”
Magoon is not alone in his anti-penny stance. Former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona introduced bills in 2001 and 2006 that would have stopped production of pennies. U.S. military bases in Europe stopped using the penny in 1980. In Canada, the penny went the way of the pterodactyl on March 4, 2012, when the Canadian government minted its very last penny.
That said, Magoon is not entirely against the tiny coin: He will still use the penny in credit card and check payments. Nor is he worried about losing money.
“If the most that can be lost on a single sale is 4 cents, then the average per sale loss is 2 cents,” he said. ”It’s a lot easier since we’ve been using the nickel. Customers are excited. They see pennies as unnecessary as well.”