Dick Johnson also forwarded the Concord article, adding these thoughts and noting that some are advocating melting down collected cents to make a statue of Abraham Lincoln. -Editor Don't pull a cent out of your pocket in Concord, Massachusetts. You won't need to. A growing number of merchants there are "rounding down" the transaction price of all purchases. They are taking a small loss of one to four cents on most of their transactions just to eliminate the nuisance of handling our lowest denomination coin.
They don't have to bring rolls of pennies to their shops from the bank. They don't have to put them in their cash registers. And they don't have to hand them out for many transactions. It saves time they say.
“Being right across from the train station, we have long lines before trains leave and pennies make it worse,” said one merchant. “Further, there is a lot of lugging them from the bank, dropping them, not being able to reconcile register receipts and so on."
They blame the zinc lobby. "Mining zinc" the merchant adds. "is an environmental nightmare, and it costs the government more to make pennies than they are worth. Finally, [the Treasury has] minted thousands for every man, woman and child. Where do they all go? If they were truly worth anything they wouldn’t end up in coffee cans, vacuum cleaners or sofas. It is simply a tax, which raises no revenue.”
"Concord is ... the birthplace of civil disobedience, where Henry David Thoreau went to jail for refusing to pay poll taxes to support the Mexican War," notes the writer in the Concord News. Bill Griffin, Of Sally Anne’s Bakery in Concord Center, said he would like to have his register reprogrammed to round all prices including tax, to avoid handling pennies. “Until that happens, I still have to handle these worthless coins,” he said. “Let’s start a revolution right here in Concord to get rid of them altogether.”
The Concord News further reports: Regular West Concord shopper and Concord resident Christal Bjork reflects the sentiment of most other customers when she said, “They’re wasteful and it would be much easier not to have them. I think this is a great idea.”
This act of civil disobedience was conceived by www.ThinkOOB.com, the Think-Out-of-the-Box Web site which bills itself as “America’s Marketplace of Ideas,” as a way to draw attention to its idea for phasing out pennies, as well as to its other ideas and to its million-dollar prize for the first idea originated on the ThinkOOB site to become law.
Early this week, the protest began to spread to Concord Center as well, with Anderson’s, Sally Anne’s, The Concord Flower Shop, and Country Kitchen also on board.
“This is where Concord’s second revolution starts and ultimately the site should be commemorated with a statue of Lincoln, who himself would approve of our emancipation from the tyranny of the zinc lobby,” said Lewis. “Since this is Concord, I’d like to see an Emersonian quatrain inscribed on the statue as follows: “To the rude lobbyists who corrupted our good Congressmen to support their zinc here the embattled merchants stood and said: “We think your pennies stink.”
Wayne Homren, Editor
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