Thursday, March 01, 2007

Money, money

You all probably know, although I didn't until a few days ago, that the US is going to begin issuing new $1 coins, featuring each president in chronological order. As usual, there's always a discussion about whether anyone will actually use the new coins, or only collect them (which is partially the point, isn't it, since each one is only issued for a few months?).

I think the only way to make Americans use $1 coins is to give them no choice. You'd have to get rid of the paper dollar. Here in Poland, our smallest monetary note is 10 Polish złoty. (Please excuse me--I am constitutionally unable to write or speak "zlotys.") Since hundreds of products cost far less than 10 złoty, we obviously have smaller denominations, but they are all coins. There are nine in all, which makes the standard US four coins seem pretty meager. A $1 coin would only bring the total to five!

We have coins in the amount of 1, 2 and 5 złoty, and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 groszy. It does make for a lot of change. It seems to be standard practice for stores to run out of change, because when you pay cash (and I usually do), they always, always ask for exact change if you can possibly give it to them.

The last state quarter I saw was California, and I don't expect to be seeing any of these $1 coins anytime in the near future. I wonder if they'll still be circulating the next time I'm in the states, or if they will all have been tucked into collector's albums? The US mint has come up with a real money maker, I think. It must be working with the quarters, so why not do it with nickels (I saw those Lewis and Clark nickels!) and dollars?

By the way, my kids have no trouble keeping all those Polish coins straight, but they are as likely as not to ask, "How much is a quarter worth?"



At 2:14 PM , Blogger Mama Squirrel said...

Canada phased out one-dollar and two-dollar bills awhile back (yes, we had two-dollar bills!). The one-dollar coins are "loonies" (they have a loon (northern bird) on them, it's not a reference to our mental state), so the two-dollar coins of course became "twoonies" or "toonies" (how DO you spell that?). That also gave rise to things like "Loonie Lizard" (a dollar store) and phrases like "Price Chopper is having a big Twoonie sale this week!"

But Canadians have never been very big on using fifty-cent coins, although they do exist. I think if you took one into a store, they'd look at you strangely.

At 2:16 PM , Blogger Mama Squirrel said...

Sorry--the cashier would look at you strangely--not the coin.


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