A Penny For Your Thoughts


Quick!  Take the offer!  The penny won’t be around too much longer­.

BrainRants did a post about a week ago, about the American government considering stopping production of the penny.  Like the flying cars that we would all be driving, I’ve heard that story every six months or so, since the late 1950s.  I got so used to it never happening, that the announcement in the paper, that the Canadian government had actually made the decision, came as a complete surprise.  Look to the Americans following suit soon.  Perhaps they’ll even try replacing the one-dollar bill with a coin.

In Wednesday’s paper, it was front-page, front-section News.  There was a photo of 30 or 40 pennies.  Side by side were a 1978 penny, and a new, shiny 2012 penny.  As a coin collector, I haven’t even seen one of the ‘12s yet.  I occasionally get pennies older than 1978 in my change.  Very occasionally I still get the odd, pre-1952 penny, with the head of Elizabeth’s father, George.  I haven’t seen a penny in change with his father, Edward, for 15/20 years.  The 1978 to 2012 range was fairly representative of what’s out there.

By Saturday’s paper it was just a business story, with another, different photo.  This one shows only eight pennies, but interestingly, two of them are American.  I’d have thought to check the pile, but then I’m a numismatist, Plus, I can think.  A local company had a quarter-page ad a while back.  Save big bucks with us, with a picture of a fan of bills, all of them American.  I called them up and suggested that the next time they pulled something off the internet; they might try harder to make it Canadian.

There’s another difference between Canadians and Americans.  American coins circulate with Canadian, probably about one in fifty.  Two, in a pile of eight, is a little heavy.  Canadians will accept American bills, almost anywhere, close to the border or not.  They might not allow the same rate of exchange as a bank, but they will let Americans spend them.  Americans, even those in border cities, still react as if we were trying to spread Ebola.

I went into a little shop in Kissimmee, and saw two pennies sitting on the edge of the cash register.  Looking closer, I realised that they were Canadian.  I thought perhaps someone was saving them, but the almost-hysterical clerk insisted that somebody had STUCK them with these two man-eating monsters, and nobody wanted them.  I offered to exchange them for two American pennies, but she wouldn’t even have that.  I should please, just take them away.

In my youth, I had a summer friend from Windsor.  He and three of his buddies wanted to bar-hop with some Americans they’d played baseball with.  Back then there were no debit cards, so they went to the bank, stocked up on U.S. cash and crossed the bridge.  At the end of the evening they wanted to have one for the road, but he’d run out of American money.  He asked the bartender if he could pay with a Canadian five, and the guy agreed.  I mean, he could almost see his house, across the river.  Just as he was finishing, he got a hand on his shoulder.  The bartender had called the cops.  Not merely a local Smoky, this was state trooper.

Tall, dark and retarded wanted to charge him with COUNTERFEITING.  Even if the bill had been a counterfeit, it would have been a Canadian counterfeit, produced in a foreign country.  A case of fraud might have been applicable, but not counterfeiting.  Without “resisting arrest”, he argued with the trooper for over fifteen minutes.  The guy’s hat was on so tight, he just didn’t get it.  Finally my friend insisted that he call his Sergeant, who finally arrived and set both the trooper, and the bartender straight.  I could see this reaction in Arizona, or even Kentucky, but, Detroit??

Zero tolerance also means zero thought applied, zero consideration, zero actual work done and one hundred percent cover-your-ass.  Establish a policy and hide behind it, and you’ll be able to piss customers off without ever having to make a decision again.

A Canadian man returned from a trip to Mexico.  He had promised to get his eight-year-old daughter a present, but had forgotten to do so before he left.  He had to land in Toronto, and take a connecting flight to Nova Scotia. While he was in the airport, he went to the gift shop and purchased a horse-shaped piñata.  When he attempted to board his plane, an Air Canada flight attendant confiscated the piñata, claiming it was a security violation.

The piñata was bought inside the secure area of the airport.  The attendant claimed that it had been soaked in kerosene.  Kerosene is what fuels the plane; piñatas are papier-mâché, newspaper and glue, just like the newspapers or books on the plane.  An Air Canada spokesman, in charge of Cover-Your-Ass, announced that airline personnel consider passenger safety first, when carrying out their jobs.  I don’t think any consideration at all was given in this case.  I think a PMS Princess, angry at her boyfriend for forgetting her birthday, took it out on the first convenient passenger, and instead of admitting that maybe someone had made an error, or been a little over-zealous, Air Canada just started waving the Passenger Safety banner.  Feel safe yet??!