The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

There's just no point in having these in circulation. It started with the penny trays. Even the sort of convenience stores that wouldn't let you get away with taking an extra spoon-straw have those give-a-penny-take-a-penny trays. And recently, I've noticed, an increasing number of stores just round your change up anyway. Not Safeway or the other big ones, but corner stores. Buy something for $2.03, give 'em a fiver, and you get three bucks back. This isn't altruism, folks. If pennies had any real value, I'm sure these same stores would be hoarding them with grinchlike intensity, but they don't. D

One little bit of trivia I kept coming across in my school days was that nickels no longer contained any nickel. This didn't exactly shatter my world-view; it took an in-depth discussion of "creme filling" to do that. Nickels could be made of manganese and depleted uranium for all I cared; I just knew that seven of them could buy me a Richie Rich comic. However, now I find myself lying awake at night wondering which is worth more, a plugged nickel or a wooden nickel? C

Far more interesting to my school-age mind than the nickel thing was the eternal mystery of the size of a dime. They're smaller than nickels and pennies, but they're worth more! Whoa! Heavy! What I like is that a dime can curl up comfortably just within the ridges of a penny. It's kind of sweet. And also, the way that sometimes just one half of the edge of a dime will wear off and show some copper, leading to this attractive two-tone look. They're interesting coins. B

Now, this is a coin. I love the heft of a quarter. It's so authoritative. You can flip it, roll it, you can slide it smoothly into the coin slot of a Tempest video game and you're playing that mother. And now that they're going to have little symbols of the various states on the back, it'll be like having little U-Haul trucks in your pocket. Neat. A

Dollar Coins
I still get Susan B. Anthony dollars out of the change machine at the post office, and I don't know what happens to them. I have less against Susie B's than many people do, but I just can't endorse dollars that are presumably sneaking out with the quarters. So now they're putting the finishing touches on a new fem-embossed dollar coin, and they're talking about little subtle things they can do to make them less quatrine. Why not just put a big hole in the middle? Or make them triangular? Or both? These must be the same traditionalists who refuse to abandon pennies. C-

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