Pennies? Pennies? You can't pay with those here. Try OfficeMax.

I find it hilarious that a company (or rather, their ad agency The Escape Pod, Chicago I presume) has latched on to how impossible it is to use pennies for anything in the states and taken that to the ultimate extreme. They send a redheaded dude out to try and buy a decent chef-cooked meal paying only with pennies, and even a used car paying with only pennies. 2700 dollars worth of pennies. I love how the chef seems to grab his hair and start comparing the whole ordeal to him running a steak through a blender."The only reason a dollar is a dollar, is because it's worth a hundred pennies" replies our redheaded hero. Ah, that's so true - so those automatic toll-booths change machines should take pennies, right? Do they?

AnonymousCoward's picture
purplesimon's picture

It's the same in the UK, only 20 pence is considered legal tender in pennies. I believe. Although, it might be that any amount in 'coppers' and five pences can be refused. Coppers are not just policemen here, they are also what we call pennies and two pence pieces.

This idea is great, I bet he flummoxed a lot of people with his pennies!

alex's picture

Didn't know that about legal tender.

RLDavies's picture

"Legal tender" simply means that cash is legally considered to be a valid offer of payment -- that is, it's always legal to tender (offer) cash. It also means the central banking authority (Bank of England, US Federal Reserve, etc.) must accept it. Any vendor is perfectly at liberty to accept or refuse payment of any kind whatsoever.

The only cases that could be made in law would be if a cash offer was accepted and then later refused, or if a vendor wants to refuse some common type of payment (e.g. no currency above a certain denomination) and doesn't make this clear beforehand.

There's a good clear explanation in Snopes, here.

That said, most newsagents and corner shops will be more than happy to take coppers and five-pence pieces, since they're always running low on change.

purplesimon's picture

Well, I've learned something new! I know that the paper in my pocket is only a credit note, but I guess I've never been in a position where payment has been refused. It always makes me smile when I hear of people trying to pay parking fines with small change!

Cheers for the info :)

nanobyte's picture

Here in Germany, cashiers are by law required to accept up to 50 Euro coins. I sometimes pay postage fees with smaller coins, many of them, and they never mind, they even explicitly say it to me: "Not a problem in the least". Anyway, it's a great idea to exploit one of the many "unwritten rules" scenarios for an ad :-)

PS: I remember that a few years ago someone was so angry with the government that he paid his taxes in small coins, a whole truck load of them - and they had to accept it (@RLDavies: probably the same here, government institutions have to accept it).

RLDavies's picture

Well, post offices are a bit like corner shops, aren't they? They're always having to hand over small change, and probably grateful to get some in.

Conversely, if I have a £20 note that I want to break, the post office is the one place I know that won't give me a nasty look when I use it to pay for something small. (Since the post offices in the UK run banking services and are used to handing money back and forth.) Luckily, as a freelance proofreader, I've always got something more or less ready to mail out.