That was last week though, and this week my mind is turning to future travel plans. No, I'm not booking any one cent flights to jet around the world (although if you know of any, please share), but there's a few scenarios coming to mind where I can see there being some significant differences if the penny wasn't available.
Squished Penny Souvenirs
This has always been one of my favorite souvenirs from our travels, mainly because it only cost 51 cents to produce. We have squished pennies from all over the place, and while the cost increment to move up to a nickel doesn't really bother me, I have no idea if nickels will squish the same way that the pennies did. Those handles at the San Diego Zoo were hard enough to turn when it was only copper we were flattening.
I'm not even sure if these exist anymore, other than the massively reduced one on Disneyland's Main Street. When you frequent arcades as much as we do however, it's a real treat when you stumble upon one of the old penny machines. They never work all that well and they aren't as flashy as the newer breed of machines, but when all you're forking over is a couple of cents you don't really worry too much about the game play. An hours entertainment for a dollar in pennies is a great investment in any situation.
So what...it's five cents a wish now? That's a 500% increase, and let's face it, the results from these things are iffy at best. If it's going to cost me a nickel every time my kids want to toss a coin into a wishing well, I want to start seeing some more substantial results. Of course, I don't ever ask my kids what they're wishing for, so maybe they're actually getting their wishes fulfilled. I should probably ask them about that. Maybe they wished for Dad to quit paying their allowance in pennies.
Pay Your Age Promos
The theory behind these things is that you pay one rate for your first night in a hotel, and then your rate for the second night was the year you were born. So if I was born in 1977 (stop laughing) I would pay $19.77 for the second night. Only now I can't pay that, so the charge would have to be rounded down to $19.75. I'm all for paying less, but does that make me two years older? Two cents isn't worth being thought of as two years older than I am. On the other hand, I'll gladly pay three cents more if they're willing to round it up to $19.80, and I'd even be willing to throw in thirteen cents extra if it gets documented that I was born in 1990. Of course if I'm traveling with my kids, I'll probably stick to the one or two year difference. I don't need them doing that kind of math.
Las Vegas Penny Slots
Look, I know that the penny machines in Vegas have terrible odds, but there's something enjoyable about whiling away your time at a Lobstermania machine playing one penny per line. Even playing the maximum number of lines, it only comes out to about 30 cents per spin, and that's an entertainment budget I can live within. Without pennies though, that goes up to $1.50 a spin, and at that point it starts to make my wife a little nervous. I'm pretty sure she just sees her shopping money spinning away on the screen, and there's no fun in the game when she's standing behind me yelling "Cash Out!" every time I hit a bonus round.
Written by Steve Pratt