Thursday, November 8, 2007

Pay in Pennies Needs Your Help

I started this blog as a fun way to have others share in one of the little ways I try and subvert "the system." I call it, paying in pennies.

The principles of Paying in Pennies are simple: pay for something with pennies instead of any other form of payment.

I'm so sick of these commercials telling me that I have to use my debit card or I'm some kind of societal outcast, slowing down the line with my outdated, archaic cash. Screw you, system!

These "quick pay" or "speed pass" things are even worse. "We're in such a rush, that we don't even want to waste the time it takes for you to punch in four digits on a keypad...we need you to get the magic speed pass so you can just wave it at us as you walk by the counter and we'll take your digital monies."


For me, though, this form of protest began with something else altogether. I got sick of all the questions at the point of purchase. "Are you a rewards zone member?" "Can we have your zip code?" "Would you like to add the cost and annoyance of a few magazine subscriptions to your purchase today?"

Since when do I have to answer a bunch of questions or give you my zip code for me to buy something?! And this is happening everywhere!

This is market research, without any attempt to veil it at all. These giant companies feel like if they just knew what geographic location their customers were all coming from, they'd have some magic bullet to triple their profits.

Whatever. I'm done conforming.

For a while I gave out fake zip codes. Then I started saying "No, you can't have my zip code." Very harmless, quick ways to fight the man. For the places that ask for a phone number, I simply ask the cashier for her phone number first. That's usually enough to get her to skip the process.

But I figured that these methods weren't putting on these businesses the level of annoyance that I felt I had received over the years. It's not really annoying to the cashier if I give her a fake zip code for my $14.99 DVD purchase.

But if she has to somehow count, then store 1,499 pennies? Yeah, that's pretty annoying.

So now I'm on sort of a quest. I want to pay in pennies often. I'd like to see this thing become a movement.

So you, dear reader, are encouraged to pay for your purchases in pennies. Buying a taco? Pay in pennies! Buying a lottery ticket? Pay in pennies.

Oh--and this part's important--take a picture of it and send it to me [payinpennies(at)yahoo(dot)com], along with a brief description of how things went down. I'll post the pic on this blog for all to read.

The bigger the dollar amount of the purchase you make with pennies...the cooler you will be considered. The better the picture you send with your tale...the more penny-karma you will receive. If you're somehow able to capture video of your pennies purchase...all the better--and instant admission to the Penny Purchase Hall of Fame.

There is absolutely nothing illegal or immoral about paying in pennies. It is legal tender. You may encounter stressed out retail workers who wish to get gruff with you about it or even try to deny your purchase. Fight for your rights! If stores can ask for stupid personal information before ringing you up AND deny your purchase because of its currency type...then bad guys win.

So the next time you're in the bank, get a few bucks in penny rolls. Then...when the spirit moves you, purchase something with all pennies. Take a photo (with your cell phone, digital camera, or even make a crude drawing of the event), send it to me (payinpennies(at)yahoo(dot)com), and then sit back and wait for your story to hit the front page of the blog.

I've written too much, haven't I? Well, stop reading. Get out there and spend your pennies. The rest of us are waiting to see your results!