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Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 | 8:27 a.m.
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Posted: 10:48 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. —
President Barack Obama said he's ready to call it quits for the United State's least valuable coin, the penny, calling it obsolete and wasteful. The one cent coin can't even buy time in a meter most places, but some people are divided on its demise. Aggravated cyclist Ken Martin has sought to ban pennies from his 11 bicycle stores. "We'll save that customer weight in the seat bag, speed up the transaction, and get them back on the road quicker by going straight to the nickel," said Ken Martin, Mike's Bike CEO. Martin's cash drawers holds no pennies. Canada, New Zealand and Australia have all eliminated their one cent coins. But in Congress, bills to ax the penny have failed several times, even though it costs almost 2 1/2 cents to produce one penny. But the penny does have its supporters. Patti Bassett said she probably has a couple hundred dollars-worth of pennies at home. Mike's Bikes will pinch pennies in favor of the customer. "So your change is a $1.30, but we round up, so it's a $1.35," Martin said. Rounding for the buyer costs thousands, but it's offset by not having to deal with pennies. The time to collect them, send them back to the office, roll them, bring them to the bank, the small adjustment in the customers favor costs us less than to collect the pennies. At least one neighboring businesses is taking the cue and also altering cash back to customers. "They don't get pennies back," said Forrest Manning, owner of Double Rainbow Café. "They don't seem to even notice, maybe one of 10 might notice." But if the penny dish disappears, so does the give and take. "I like the social aspect of the penny," said Chris Carter, a customer. "You get to leave a penny for the next guy while at the register dispensing your change." He said he'd miss that. The president suggests he'd welcome legislation to phase out the penny, but he's not counting on it.
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