|STEVE MACNAULL/The Daily Courier|
The Towne Centre Retail Post Office is rounding up and down to the nearest nickel with the penny being taken out of circulation by banks on Monday, according to clerk Barb Senger.
Some stores aren't doing anything differently, others are rounding up and down, while others are always rounding down in the customer's favour.
"I really haven't gotten any information on what exactly to do," said Josh Pachal, co-owner at Natural Rezources health food store downtown.
"I understand it's a voluntary phase-in, so right now, because I still have pennies in the cash register I will continue to accept them as payment and give them out as change."
When the pennies run out, Pachal plans to start rounding purchases to the closest nickel and giving change accordingly.
"I know I won't be able to go to the bank and get any more pennies, so I expect they'll run out soon and we'll be onto the new system," he said.
"I was hoping my point-of-sale software provider would come up with something to do the rounding automatically, but I haven't gotten anything yet."
Even before the banks officially started to take the penny out of circulation on Monday, Pachal was doing some
"I'd quite often give someone a nickel change instead of four pennies and I would never give someone 99 cents change or even 96 cents change, always a dollar," he said.
At Molly's Cafe in the Towne Centre Mall servers were
doing the same.
"We're still taking and giving out pennies," said Wanda Pettigrew.
"We've tried to already round our prices so it comes out the nearest five cents, even with tax."
A little farther up Bernard Avenue at the Towne Centre Retail Post Office, rounding is well underway.
"If the purchase comes to $7.01 or $7.02, it's $7 even for the customer," said clerk Barb Senger.
"If it's $7.03 or $7.04, then it's $7.05. I guess some people might feel short changed if it's $7.03 or $7.04, but it's all going to work out because you'll do a bunch of transactions, some of which will be rounded down, some of which will be rounded up."
While people are commenting on the one cent piece's
demise, Senger said most people don't particularly care about the phase-out policy and most people aren't going to miss the penny either.
"Our take-a-penny, leave-a-penny tray is gone because we're rounding," she said.
"But the reason we had it in the first place is because
people usually didn't want pennies as change and would leave it. And, of course, if you owed a penny you'd take from the tray to pay so you wouldn't get pennies as change."
Senger rolled all the business' pennies on Monday morning to take them to the bank.
Banks will still accept rolled pennies for deposit, but won't give out any pennies in order to gradually get the one-cent piece out of circulation.
Credit and debit card purchases will continue to be settled to the penny because they are electronic transactions with no cash changing hands.
With more and more people carrying less and less cash, many transactions are paid with debit and credit anyway.
The Home Depot chain of home improvement stores, which has locations in Kelowna and West Kelowna, is doing things differently.
"Always rounding down on sales and up on returns is one way we are committed to delivering value to our Canadian consumers," said Home Depot senior director of Canadian operations, Vinod Nalajala.
The penny's fate was decided in last year's federal budget when lawmakers decided it was cumbersome and expensive to keep our lowest denomination coin.
The Royal Canadian Mint made 816 million pennies a year and each one cost 1.5 cents to produce, but stopped making them in May.
The penny was also devalued (worth only five per cent of what it was in 1908, thanks to inflation) and people didn't particularly like dealing with it at stores and in their pockets, purses and wallets.
As a result a lot of pennies were already out of circulation - an estimated 20 billion - in cups, drawers and piggy banks across the country.
While copper-coloured, the penny has only a 4.5 per cent copper coating and is made mostly of steel, nickel and zinc.
As the coins are taken out of circulation, they will be
melted down and the metals recycled.