My five cents’ worth on these redundant little coins
Five cent coins. You can’t use them in vending machines. You can’t use them in parking meters. And I wouldn’t be surprised if beggars and wishing wells start refusing them next.
The heyday of the Australian five cent coin ended long ago. It’s time to take the echidna out of circulation.
Myki machines don’t even take them! You’d think with all their budget blowouts, they’d gladly take any source of money people jam in the slot.
When was the last time you bought something for five cents? I don’t think I’ve made a five cent purchase since that single candy heart I bought for a primary school crush circa 1995.
And even at the school tuck shop, it was all I could do to avoid being up sold to a ten cent bag of mixed lollies.
These days those little coins are completely useless and plain irritating. They just amass in your purse, wallet or pocket. Nobody likes them. The five cent coin is the Gary Busey of Australian currency.
Some people don’t even bother picking them up off the ground if they drop one. Evidentially, the act of bending over in 2012 is worth at least 20 cents.
Plenty of businesses try to discourage their use through setting prices at 10 cent intervals. And if you’re five cents short at the supermarket, you can usually get away with it. So what’s the hold up?
We made the choice to ditch one and two cent coins 20 years ago. It’s the natural cycle of inflation. Prices keep going up and eventually the smaller denominations become practically worthless, ultimately of interest only to museums and collectors.
Unbelievably, just like rowing at the Olympics, the abolition of the five cent coin is yet another area where New Zealand beats Australia. The Kiwis got rid of theirs in 2006.
But the Royal Australian Mint still churns out up to 300 million five cent pieces a year. More than any other coin. That’s 13 five cent coins for each Australian.
Someone needs to set an example. If I get one in my change, I’m not taking it with me. It’s going straight into the tip jar or it’s being left on the counter.
It’s just like that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer decides he’s ready for daylight saving, so he puts his watch forward an hour all on his own.
So that’s it, Mint. I’m doing a Kramer! From now on, David M. Green does not do five cent coins.
And don’t forget his personal Twitter account @David_M_Green
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