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FULLERTON, Calif. — Loose change is about to change at Mission Market's two convenience retail outlets in California.
Beginning Jan. 1, Mission Market in Fullerton and Mission Market Express in Anaheim will no longer use pennies in cash transactions. In lieu of the coins, Mission Market employees will be trained to round up or down to the nearest nickel when asking for or making change.
"Indeed, pennies reduce productivity at Mission Market. It takes time to fetch them from the bank, and transactions slow as customers dig them out from wallets and cashiers from tills," Mission Market said in a statement. "Yet when pennies are given as change, they are usually taken reluctantly, left on the counter or dropped on the floor or sidewalk. Mission Market will save time and money by eliminating the penny, and these simplified transactions will speed customers' time through the store at no net cost to them."
While this move may be unique in the United States, other countries have already phased out the one-cent coin. According to the group Citizens to Retire the Penny, the U.S. should follow suit for several reasons:
- The penny no longer facilitates commerce: due to inflation, a penny literally buys nothing.
- When the U.S. last eliminated a coin — the half-cent in 1857 — it was worth about 10 cents in today's money.
- The penny wastes money. It costs almost two cents for the U.S. Mint to produce each one.
- The penny costs the U.S. economy more than $2 billion in productivity annually, according to one study.
Roland Foss, president of Progressive Convenience Inc. and general manager of both Mission Market stores, said this practice worked well at U.S. Army posts in Germany, where he was stationed in the late 2000s. "Our own U.S. military decided it wasn't worth shipping pennies overseas. Everyone did fine rounding up and down, no matter what the register said. I don't see it being a problem here either," Foss said.
Mission Market will post signs at all cash register stations and print frequently-asked-question sheets for interested customers.
Eliminating the penny furthers Mission Market's history of innovating to meet customers' needs in the payment arena. The stores actively use $2 bills, half-dollar and dollar coins because they save time and customers love them. In addition, both stores accept bitcoin for payment, and the Anaheim store has a bitcoin ATM. Mission Market accepts Samsung Pay and will actively work to accept other forms of cardless payment methods as standards and adoption solidify.
Cashiers will accept and give back pennies on request, the retailer said.