Mission Market Eliminating Cash Register Nuisance: Pennies
UPDATE: Read our FAQ on how we are implementing this change in our stores [Updated January 2, 2016]
Fullerton, CA, Dec. 21. What’s more common on a convenience store floor than crumpled lotto tickets, bubble gum, and old straws? Pennies, perhaps. The one-cent coin used to be made of copper—back when it was worth something. Nowadays, many value the penny so little that they treat it like trash. Retailers like Mission Market don’t like pennies much, either. That’s why starting January 1st, Mission Market in Fullerton and Mission Market Express in Anaheim will no longer use pennies in cash transactions.
Many other countries have recently phased out one-cent coins, and so should the U.S. Citizens to Retire the Penny (CRP), gives many reasons why pennies should be eliminated from the nation’s money supply, such as:
-The penny no longer facilitates commerce: due to inflation, a penny literally buys nothing
-When the U.S. last eliminated a coin—the half-cent in 1857—it was worth about $.10 in today’s money.
-The penny wastes money: It costs almost two cents for the U.S. Mint to produce each one.
-The penny costs the U.S. economy in productivity: Over $2 billion every year, according to one large study
Indeed, pennies reduce productivity at Mission Market. It takes time to fetch them from the bank and transactions slow as customers dig them out from wallets and cashiers from tills. Yet when pennies are given as change, they are usually taken reluctantly, left on the counter or dropped on the floor or sidewalk. Mission Market will save time and money by eliminating the penny, and these simplified transactions will speed customers’ time through the store at no net cost to them.
Mission Market employees will be trained to round up or down to the nearest nickel when asking for and making change. Roland Foss, President of Progressive Convenience, Inc. and General Manager of both stores, says that this practice worked well in U.S. Army posts in Germany, where he was stationed in the late 2000s. “Our own U.S. military decided it wasn’t worth shipping pennies overseas. Everyone did fine rounding up and down, no matter what the register said. I don’t see it being a problem here, either,” he said. Mission Market will go even further, posting signs at all cash register stations and printing FAQ sheets for interested customers.
Eliminating the penny furthers Mission Market’s history of innovating to meet customers’ needs in the payment arena. The stores actively use $2 bills, half-dollar and dollar coins because they save time and customers love them. Both stores accept Bitcoin for payment and the Anaheim store has a Bitcoin ATM. Mission Market accepts Samsung Pay and will actively work to accept other forms of cardless payment methods as standards and adoption solidify. Cashiers even will accept and give back pennies on request.
Retailers influence currency usage. Foss stresses that half-dollars and dollar coins are rarely seen or used only because retailers don’t actively give them as change. In a similar way, if enough retailers decide to no longer make change with pennies, they would send a powerful signal to banks, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Mint that Americans no longer want these coins. Could pennies become as hard-to-find as an Eisenhower dollar? Mission Market is happy to try because it makes sense for its business and its customers. Other convenience retailers ought to join this effort.