A penny saved is no longer a penny earned

As of Feb. 4, a change has come, on SAIT campus and everywhere else in Canada for that matter.

It was a change in the change you get when you purchase a coffee, a sandwich, a beer, or anything else.

On that date, the federal government began phasing out the venerable penny, that staple chunk of currency which fills up tip jars, ashtrays, and empty ice cream pails from coast to coast.

The Royal Canadian Mint has stopped producing pennies, and is asking businesses to start rounding the price of things they sell either up, or down, to the nearest five cents.

Businesses won’t be forced to alter prices, however, which has some SAIT students resigned to the fact they are likely going to be paying more for their daily staples.

“I doubt that places like The Gate or The Station will actually round down their transactions, not that I’ll really notice anyways,” second-year photojournalism student, Alexandra Dayrit said on Friday, Jan. 25, as she picked up a cup of joe at the Tim Hortons outlet in the Senator Burns Building.

“I’m not sure if I want to be spending a couple cents more each transaction. Pennies really add up.”

In preparation for the switch, Tims and other businesses posted copies of the government’s suggested guidelines for rounding prices where customers can see them.

The guidelines suggest that if a price is a penny or two above the nearest five-cent increment, for example $1.01, or $1.02, that merchants round that price down to $1.

But if the prices is $1.03, or $1.04, that customers pony up $1.05.

There is, however, nothing to stop merchants to choose to round all prices up to the closest five-cent mark, thereby giving their bottom lines a modest boost.

The government estimates that the phasing out the penny will end up saving taxpayers nearly $11 million each year.

If you do the math and divide that by the 24 million people who pay taxes every year in Canada, you get a total saving per citizens of a whopping 45 cents each.

“I really don’t care about losing the penny, 45 cents won’t buy me much,” said first year radio-broadcasting student Luke Godin, when asked is he was concerned that business might use the change to put less change in his pocket.

“Having to pay a couple cents more here and there doesn’t break my heart any.”

Others think the switch will be a have people scratching their heads, trying to figure out what the actual price of things is.

“I think it will be a little confusing at first, for everyone, but I think we’ll be rounding our cash transactions,” said part-time off campus Tim Horton’s employee and SAIT business administration student, Victor Guo,

“Hopefully people will pay with debit a lot more.”

About William Cowie 5 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, William Cowie worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.

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