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Cash is on the Way Out

An essay on where we are heading.

What will the tooth fairy do?

"Most people can't even think what to hope for, When they throw a penny in a fountain."
— Barbara Kingsolver

There is talk on this side of the pond, of getting rid of money.

“Today, only 7% of all transactions in the United States are done with cash, and most of those transactions involve very small amounts of money.“ says the internet blog, The Economic Collapse. “Our financial system is dramatically changing, and cash is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.”

These days, it costs more than it’s worth to manufacture the cash we stuff into our wallets and bulging coin purses. In America, it costs 11.18 cents to mint a 5 cent piece and a penny costs 2.41 cents.  It isn’t much better in Britain.  Although the Royal Mint will not reveal how much it costs to mint 1p, rumor has it that the cost from manufacture to distribution is approximately £3. 

That doesn’t make sense.  

Besides the cost to make them, there is the threat to our health and well being.  Coins and bills land in thousands of pockets, are touched by millions of hands and no one ever cleans them up.  The bills are tattered and full of germs; the coins are not only cumbersome but they create embarrassing bulges that aren’t what you think they are. 

When coins were first invented, everyone thought it was the greatest idea since the fig leaf.  Coins didn’t rot or die on you.  Their value didn’t deteriorate with time.  You could stick them in the bank and they would be there for years and still have value. You used them to reward children and toss in fountains.  You stuck them under pillows when children lost their baby teeth and you put them in your shoe for good luck.   

What will happen to the Piggy Bank when pennies are no more? When I was a child, this was the time of year when I began stuffing pennies in the little ceramic pig I got for Christmas last year so I could buy my Mama a present for Christmas this year.  Every day, I would put in a penny I had earned for helping her bring in the groceries or drying the dishes (now you know how old I am) and by December first, my little pig was bulging with the hard earned cash I had fed him. I would go to the jewelry store, hand the clerk my piggy bank and say, “What can I buy my mother with this?”  She and I would smash the bank and pile the pennies into columns of ten and then tabulate the results.  One year, I was able to buy my mother a silver candle snuffer and another time, I bought her a lapel pin with a little blue stone in the middle…all with the money I earned doing chores.       

Children these days would either have to type in a code on their cell phones or swipe a credit card to pay for that special something they want to buy for their parents.  It just couldn’t give them the same sense of accomplishment.  Every penny I gave that saleslady had a story behind it. All a credit card has is an APR. 

Say good-by to wallets when cash is no more.  You can keep all your credit information on your cell phone or slip your credit card in your pocket.   Profiles will be slimmer and, because seeing the cash, made you realize how much you were actually spending, expenditures will go up.  But who cares?  It’s all just numbers and as every politician knows you can make numbers say anything you want.  

The good news is if you keep your pennies stashed away in a bureau drawer, they will become valuable relics from another time, like vinyl records and rotary dial phones.   Your heirs can sell your stash for at least 500% of their face value.  That should pay for your casket!

"When I was young I thought that money

Was the most important thing in life;

Now that I am old, I know that it is."
— Oscar Wilde

 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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