The economy does seem to be improving. Signs at businesses looking to hire new employees are popping up like spring flowers in my part of Wisconsin.
On one of my weekend errands, I stopped by and made a purchase of $9.87.
The clerk was young. She acted as if she was one of the new hires.
There was a tentative quality to her scanning the merchandise, which were five low-priced items I had run in to buy.
I had two fives ready for the purchase.
She rang it up. I gave her the cash.
She managed to enter the transaction as if I had handed her a $20 bill.
The cash register told her to give me $10.13 in change. She duly took out a $10 and was fishing for the coins when I told her that I did not need the $10 as I had given her two fives.
She stopped in a long pause, not quite sure what to do with the $10 in her hand that the cash register told her to give me.
She looked up at me after a bit and said, “All you need are the coins, right?”
I said yes.
She smiled. She looked relieved, or perhaps I was simply feeling relieved.
Someone who looks like she is holding her first job other than perhaps babysitting is not someone I want to cause trouble for.
The transaction was concluded and I was on my way.
I was trying to figure out on my way home whether the mistake was lack of familiarity with the electronic cash register or perhaps not carefully looking at the money I gave her.
It was probably the nervousness that comes with operating something that she had not become fully comfortable with yet.
She will learn fast, I expect.
But with the younger generation’s reduced familiarity with cash combined with so many who cannot do the sums in their heads to make change, actual paper money and coins become more and more of a nuisance than an asset to them.
Combine this with the general advances in electronic payments and we might conclude that there is no need to discuss coin compositions or portraits on paper money, because neither monetary medium will be used by the American people.
Fortunately for me, the audience for numismatic questions is older than the clerk I encountered.
So please express your view on this week’s poll question topic.
“Will politicians ever succeed in abolishing U.S. cent?”
The link: http://www.numismaster.com/ta/numis.jsp
If you have a few moments, you can elaborate on your opinion and email comments to me at email@example.com.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."