One Dunkin Donuts Tries To Abolish The Penny… Until Customers Demand It Back

from the penny-for-your-thoughts? dept

Don’t mess with the penny. There’s been a movement around for years to “abolish the penny,” as a unit of currency. One Dunkin’ Donuts shop decided to take matters into its own hands (not as anything against the penny, but for the sake of “efficiency,”) and put up a sign saying they’d just start rounding change to the nearest nickel instead (unless you complained…):

Apparently, that lasted all of about a day, and due to “customer feedback,” the shop has removed the sign and will go back to giving (and taking) every penny. However, Dunkin Donuts corporate bosses have noted that franchises are free to do whatever they like, so if they want to ban the penny, they’re free to do so (assuming local laws allow it).

I do wonder how much of this is psychological. I’m sure some people just have a sentimental attachment to pennies, but I would guess that most people who saw such a sign got upset about the idea of being short-changed, even by a few pennies, and never thought that it would also even out in their own favor at times.

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Comments on “One Dunkin Donuts Tries To Abolish The Penny… Until Customers Demand It Back”

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btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Rounding

It’s been a pet peeve of mine for years that every time you buy anything from a fast food place like Taco Bell or Wendys, you end up with a total of a few cents over the dollar. No matter what you buy in whatever combination, the bill is always $5.08 or $2.03 or something similar. And unless you happen to have a few cents in your pocket, you end up getting a whole annoying pocketful of change in return.

I swear they design their prices to produce that result on purpose for some reason.

BBT says:

Re: Re: Re: Rounding

The reason is that people perceive $1.99 as being significantly cheaper than $2.00, even though it isn’t. Most prices are thus set to $X.99, Add Y% sales tax and your final bill will be $X+1.(X*(Y-1)). You’re talking about bills where X is in the 1-5 range, and Y is generally 5-10, so your final result will have cents in the range of 4-45.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Rounding

“I swear they design their prices to produce that result on purpose for some reason.”

Actually, there is quite a bit of theory out there on that. Do some searching around for “psychological pricing”. Some of the hypothesized reasons are:

1)a perceived savings over competition by reducing the price by a few cents… thus minimizing the impact to actual profit;

2)giving the illusion that you’re paying less than actual cost (if it’s $4.97, it must have REALLY been priced at $5.00, so I’m saving money!);

3)round characters attract the eyes, so a price ending in .99 will be more visible. I don’t really buy this one though, because a price ending in .00 has even BIGGER round bits.

4) (my fav) odd prices were implemented in early cash-register days to force employees to have to make change, thus having to open the cash register which creates a record of the sale. This would prevent the employee from just pocketing the bill with no evidence of a sale.

Nick Coghlan (profile) says:

Re: Psychological

Yeah, getting rid of the 1 and 2 cent pieces was a great idea. It was seriously annoying having to deal with 1 cent coins again when travelling to the US.

However, there are a few key things that made our situation a bit different from this example:
1. Almost all our prices are advertised tax-inclusive so x.98 and x.99 prices just gave way to x.95 (something *else* that I find rather annoying not to have in the US/Canada)
2. A couple of the major retailing conglomerates ate the price difference completely by always rounding the price in the customer’s favour, even if doing so cost them up to 4 cents for the transaction (they probably figured customer griping at staff would waste more time and cost more money than the “generous” rounding scheme would).
3. The mint had physically stopped making the coins, so it didn’t really do anyone any good to demand them…

If the DD had simply said “we will round your change up to the closest nickel” (such that the change was $2.25 in the second example) it probably would have gone over much better.

Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Re: Pirce Change

>> How do you do that in a place where the sales tax is 7%?

Set all of your final prices to nickel values, and then divide all of these by 1.07, keep several decimal places. When you then add tax, you will always get very close to the nickel on any single transaction or any combination of transactions.

If you don’t want to say that coffee costs 93.46 cents (which comes to an even dollar when you add 7% tax), then just put it at $1 and say tax is included.

qyiet (profile) says:

In NZ we don't HAVE a penny

A while ago we killed both one and two cent coins. And we don’t care. If you pay by eftpos you get charged to the cent, if you pay by cash rounding occors, and no-one cares.

In a second stage of rationalisation 5c coins were also removed. But small coins are so usless that after consulting a friend we had to confirm via the web that they were also dead.

Kill the usless coins, deploy eftpos everywhere. (for reference 2 cents NZ is approx 1.5 cents US and 5 cents NZ is just under 4 cents US)

qyiet (profile) says:

In NZ we don't HAVE a penny

A while ago we killed both one and two cent coins. And we don’t care. If you pay by eftpos you get charged to the cent, if you pay by cash rounding occors, and no-one cares.

In a second stage of rationalisation 5c coins were also removed. But small coins are so usless that after consulting a friend we had to confirm via the web that they were also dead.

Kill the usless coins, deploy eftpos everywhere. (for reference 2 cents NZ is approx 1.5 cents US and 5 cents NZ is just under 4 cents US)

Mark Christiansen says:

Post prices inclusive of sales tax.

If you post prices which include tax they can be made nice round numbers. No pennies, no nickles, no fuss.

Only thing missing is the chance to trick people into thinking the price is less than it is. Does it really work? Or more to the point would it hurt the store which does this while the others do not?

I know I would like it if stores posted tax included prices and set them to round numbers. I would like it if there were coins worth the bother too. There should be coins up to $10.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Post prices inclusive of sales tax.

what, posting prices including tax?

that’s… kinda ridiculous.

Certainly, in New Zealand, prices are listed including tax. only on some advertising for Very large items do they leave it off (I’m talking furniture here)… and even then they have a small label on the thing giving you either how much tax you’d pay or the total including the tax as well.

and some airlines got in trouble here not that long ago for hiding large portions of the price of an airfare in their advertising by not including all the various levies and taxes that every single person buying a ticket from them would have to pay (there by making their advertised price less than half of what you would actually end up paying)

it’s pretty odd if it’s illegal to use prices including tax… though, mind you, it makes sense to enforce a standard one way or another to reduce confusion… but the opposite standard makes more sense. It’s not like you need laws to Force businesses to rip off their customers. it’s fairly standard practice, at least for corporations….

athe says:

Done this in Australia years ago...

This has been in place in Australia for quite a number of years now. All total bills get rounded to the nearest 5 cents.

Mind you, as I recall (I was young when it was done, so my memory is a little hazy), there were of course those crying foul that they’re being ripped off those precious 1 or 2 cents. Nowadays, no one much worries about it. Mind you, there are people who will argue with the checkout attendant over a 5 cent discount – when I get stuck behind them, I want to just throw the 5 cents on the counter and shout at them…

anonymous coward says:

You're only getting short changed if you actually use the penny!

Funny that most people wanted that penny back even though I’m betting most of those pennies spend the rest of their lives languishing in couches, on the ground, under car seats or in ash trays. What’s the point of arguing over a penny that you’re going to never use?

interval (profile) says:

Friggin' rediculous indeed

Americans do drive me nuts. If they aren’t used to it, its new, or something, they freak. Its been well over 150 years since the world agreed that the metric system was superior and here we are still stuck with the English system. I’m so sick of pennies I simply toss them to the ground or dump them all in the penny bowl after I complete a retail transaction. I get being thrifty but there’s no point to counting every penny. I really could do without the damn things.


The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

That would be pretty much all people, not just Americans. There are two ways to get people to go through with a significant change. Make them think it was their idea and therefore must be awesome or tell them “look, we’re doing this” and they’ll either boot you out of office or grumble for a while and then get used to it.

And for the record, screw the metric system and double screw the bastards trying to apply it to bits and bytes.


Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

No. The metric system is NOT superior.

It’s not human friendly. It’s great of you happen to be in a lab or otherwise happen to have a nice high precision scale. Otherwise it kind of sucks.

There are no common standard measurements useful for actual people. Those units aren’t easily divisible in portions that actual people are good at dealing with like halves or thirds.

Oddly enough, something in base 2 would be more “user friendly”.

The old stuff just didn’t “spring from the ether fully formed”. It evolved and developed for a reason. Those reasons aren’t necessarily bogus.

Rich says:

Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

Sure it’s bogus. A foot was the measure of the King’s foot, which changed with every king. The metric system is base 10, the same as our numbering system. Converting between unit is trivial, unlike the English units. I don’t know how you can say the metric system is not human friendly. The only thing that make it unfriendly is you are not use to it. Every unit in the metric system has a real, natural, physical unit matched to it (except the gram, but that will be changing). The English measures are all made up, based on arbitrary things. The metric system IS superior, and that is coming from an American!

RandomGuy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

“[The metric system is] not human friendly”

Are you kidding? It’s much easier to work with, especially when it comes to converting between units.

“Those units aren’t easily divisible in portions that actual people are good at dealing with like halves or thirds”

Actual people are not good at dealing with units divided into ten portions? I was under the impression that we were taught to count in a base 10 system since childhood.

I could easily see those exact same arguments directed towards the imperial system.

Disclosure: I do work in a lab, with high precision scales, and grew up with the metric system. But I believe my points still stand.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Friggin' rediculous indeed

Ummm… you do realize that the scales are not in the same units? That’s why they have different names. Just because freezing is 0c and 32f does not make 30c = 62f. The conversion is c = (5/9)*(f-32).

The temperature scale DOES work becuase we’re just applying an arbitrary scale to an existing amount of heat.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Friggin' rediculous indeed

32.2222222222-15.5555555555= -1.111111111111


Yes, it works all right! Using **AA math.

Every other measure can be converted at any point in a formula and still get same result. Not so with temp.

“Ummm… you do realize that the scales are not in the same units? That’s why they have different names.”

Ummmm… thanks for clearing that up for us Canadians. We’ve been confused about that for a long time. Does this mean that litres and gallons are also different? How about a US gallon and a Canadian gallon?

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Friggin' rediculous indeed

You’re welcome and I’m American, not Canadian.

So what’s so difficult about converting F to C using the formula I posted? Boiling point of water (at sea-level, etc) is 100-c. so plug it in:

Tc = (5/9)*(Tf-32)
100 = (5/9)*(Tf-32)
100/(5/9) = Tf-32
100/.566666666666(rpt) = Tf-32
180 = Tf-32
Tf = 212-f

And just to let you know, liters (or litres if you prefer) ARE different than gallons. But if you have a container of gas, the amount of gas is the same no matter which scale you measure it with.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Friggin' rediculous indeed

100/(5/9) = Tf-32
100/.566666666666(rpt) = Tf-32
180 = Tf-32

umm, 100/.566666666 is 176.4706
meanwhile, 5/9 is .555555 (repeating)

but cash registers use finite precision, so somewhere along the way that will get truncated to end in 5 or else rounded up to end in 6. So the math still doesn’t work.

unless you notice that dividing by 5/9 is the same as multiplying by 9/5, in which case everything works out fine in finite decimal precision. Haven’t worked it through in binary though, so maybe temperature conversion only works for mechanical cash registers and not electronic ones.

This whole subthread is fucking stupid. 🙂

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Friggin' rediculous indeed

I wrote the wrong decimal down… I know it’s .5555(rpt). My bad.

But 100/.5555(rpt) is 180. If you calculate 100/5/9 then your calculateor handles it as (100/5)/9 which is = 2.22222(rpt). However, if you move the parentheses to the correct location – 100/(5/9), then the answer is 180. The math DOES work here… that’s why we have that formula… I didn’t just make it up.

And I do know that 100/(9/5) = (100*9)/5, but the reason it’s not usually converted is so that you can easily invert the formula to go from F to C. I just chose to start w/ C in my example because 100c as boiling was a better example to start with (for me, at least).

And I know cash registers use finite precision, but we don’t usualy do temperature conversions on them 😉 I think you either meant “calculators” or you are confusing two of my threads on this.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

There are no common standard measurements useful for actual people.

Pounds might be more handy than grams (a gram is kind of small), but centimeters, meters, kilometers, kilograms, liters, milliliters, what is wrong with the units?

Those units aren’t easily divisible in portions that actual people are good at dealing with like halves or thirds.

Halves are fine. Half a liter = 500 milliliters. Half a kilometer = 500 meters. Is your whole point that English units are sometimes divisible by 3? Like a third of a yard is a foot, but what’s a third of a meter, AH HA! A third of a tablespoon is a teaspoon, but I would prefer if half a tablespoon were something more convenient than one and a half teaspoons. How far is a third of a mile? 1760 feet. So convenient, I’m always measuring things in increments of 1760 feet.

happen to have a nice high precision scale.

What does precision have to do with it? It’s just as easy to measure imprecisely in metric as it is in English. I’ve never, ever heard anyone from a metric country complain about the metric system and wish they could switch to English. But plenty of peole in the US pine for (can you pine for something you’ve never had?) metric. So out of curiosity, where are you from?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Friggin' rediculous indeed

Thanks. No word yet from Jedediah.

“Get about 2 inches, or if you’re using metric, enough centimeters to make 2 inches.”

Also why is a 2×4 not 2×4? I’ve always found that irritating. Wikipedia knows of course:

“Lumber’s nominal dimensions are given in terms of green (not dried), rough (unfinished) dimensions. The finished size is smaller, as a result of drying (which shrinks the wood), and planing to smooth the wood. However, the difference between “nominal” and “finished” lumber size can vary. So various standards have specified the difference between nominal size, and finished size, of lumber.

Early standards called for green rough lumber to be of full nominal dimension when dry, but the requirements have changed over time. For example, in 1910, a typical finished 1-inch- (25 mm)board was 13/16″. In 1928, that was reduced by 4%, and yet again by 4% in 1956. In 1961, at a meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Committee on Grade Simplification and Standardization agreed to what is now the current U.S. standard: in part, the dressed size of a 1 inch (nominal) board was fixed at 3⁄4 inch; while the dressed size of 2 inch (nominal) lumber was reduced from 1 5⁄8 inch to the now standard 1 1⁄2 inch.”

So when working with lumber you don’t even get to deal with whole stupid units, it’s all fractional stupid units. 🙂

rec9140 (user link) says:

Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed


I am all for it… as long as we are abolishing the metric system as well.

As well as real currency all together… electronic cash… hint look at SpeedPass, wave and go.. MC was doing this with SpeedPay, it seems to have died in the US… all those chipped cards elsewhere…

Real physical currency is do for an EOL, overdue in fact… who wants to carry all that filthy currency around!

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

I do. Paper money is superior in several important ways.

It is static. A $20 bill will be a $20 bill until you spend some of it. There will never be a banking error in your wallet causing it to become a $2 bill or a debt of $293856.

Transactions are easily verifiable by a quick visual check. Did he give me $400 or $500? {1..5} Yep, $500. Try that if the register is out of tape.

Transactions are only delayed by the amount of time it takes for you to hand over the cash and receive change. No time spent punching in a pin and waiting for remote confirmation.

Security. You are completely immune to phishing attempts as it is damned difficult to inadvertently hand your wallet to someone over the Internet.

Privacy. My $20 bill looks exactly the same as everybody else’s. It is damned difficult to trace cash transactions.

I could go on but I’m bored with arguing against a poorly thought out statement.

Rich says:

Re: Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

Static? $20 will NOT be $20 until you spend. Cash loses value over time. Why do people not grasp this simple concept? I work with engineers who don’t invest in their 401Ks because they think their cash will always be worth the same.

Security? That’s a laugh! If someone steals your $20, you are out that $20. If someone steals my credit card, my bank will reimburse me for any loss.

I could go on but I’m bored arguing against specious statements.

rec9140 (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

I very very very very rarely ever carry cash bills or coins…

If you don’t take my debit card, forget it.

Tolls… transponder..

You’ve obviously never been in line behind your cash/coin carrying bretheren v. us debit users… I can swipe and PIN and approved before your lot counts out the pennies!

I could go on but I’m bored with arguing with more clueless eurowannabee trash.

PandaMarketer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re5: Friggin' rediculous indeed

They should abolish checks.

Most check writers are older people who don’t know how to use a credit/debit card. I say make them use cash only.

Ever stand behind an older person paying by check? It takes like 3 minutes. That’s if they got everything out and ready to go.

I once was behind such a person, and there were no other cashiers available. The old man waited until all items were scanned, then he took out his check book, started looking for a pen, the pen didn’t work so he licked it and tried to make it work. The cashier was a 16yr old dumbass who didn’t offer him a usable pen. Finally, a pen was produced, and the man started writing out the check which took 5 minutes because he made a mistake and started over.

The whole thing lasted 7 minutes, and I had one item to buy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

Well just to provide a bit of balance, I collect my pennies and keep them in a jar all year. At the end of the year I take them to the local CoinStar and cash them in. Last time I walked away with $123.00. So to say that they don’t add up or that there is no value in them is just not true. I’m sure that the stores would love to have that extra money for each and every customer.

RandomGuy (profile) says:

Re: Just get rid of pennies!

The reason prices were set at, say, $2.99 instead of a round $3.00 is because shopkeepers wanted to ensure that each transaction generated some change for the customer.

This would require their employee to open the cash register to get the change, thus recording the sale and preventing the employee from simply pocketing the three bucks.

Koby (profile) says:


Back in 1995 when I visited France they were still using the French Franc as currency. As suggested in a post above, they already did most of the rounding by including it in prices. IIRC the franc was worth, at the time, about 1/5th of a dollar, and the 1 franc coins were carried around like we carry around quarters. During a week’s stay the only time I saw centimes (french equivalent of cents) was at the currency exchange counters.

The price for everything, tax included, came out exactly to the franc. It was awesome, because you didn’t have to take anything else into account. No figuring out extra tax, no distortion or attempt to sucker people into buying something for $2.99, it was all up-front, and you only had to carry around 1 type of coin. After a few days the centimes stayed at the bottom of my luggage bag back at the hotel.

So this has already done, and apparently proven to be a big success considering that all shops and restaurants across Paris and beyond were doing it, so I’m sure Dunkin Donuts can too.

Pirate My Music (profile) says:

Take a penny...

A lot of stores do this with the take a penny/leave a penny tray. More people take the penny than leave, but it’s a way of getting rid of coins that a lot of people just throw at hookers anyway.

130 Million Dollars annually is spent making pennies in Canada. Only 37% of Canadians use pennies. That’s over 48 Million dollars wasted on coins that provide nearly no economic stimulation.

Chris Mikaitis (profile) says:

I agree with many of the comments. This sounds like a fine example where companies can step up to accommodate. Post signs that indicate the price after tax (like movie theater concessions in my area have, which usually round to the quarter), then the company figures taxes on money received at the end of the day. There’s probably some stupid legal loophole that prevents that, but I would go out of my way to shop at a place that advertises the price I will actually pay. If the penny, nickel, quarter, etc… get’s lost in the shuffle, that would be grand. I’d love to see a ‘dollar store’ where change doesn’t exist.

Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Part of the difficulty might be that most prices are too close to a dollar so you can’t easily jump $1 up or down.

As currency fluctuates in value and as other issues come up, it’s more difficult to manage costs and profits. It’s very difficult to compete if the others can adjust by pennies and you have to move by a dollar or else adjust the number of corn flakes in the box.

If there ever was an advantage to pulling in customers this way, likely it would be very little in many cases and eventually as more joined the fun the few that would keep the old system might use that as a selling point. [It helps if you sell exclusive items shoppers can’t find elsewhere.]

Anyway, coins get in the way when the least expensive things you sell tend to cost many tens of dollars, but not when what you buy costs a few bucks only. Too much today costs merely a few bucks or even less than one, though at some point in time, as the dollar keeps inflating, we will find it easy to drop the penny.

Anonymous Coward says:

Australia did this about 20 years ago: the government stopped issuing 1c and 2c coins, and businesses stopped accepting them – they round 1 or 2 cents down and 3 or 4 up (its still common even now to see prices ending with 9 😉 ).

Its going to happen to you (whoever’s reading this) too, at some stage! It’s called inflation; get used to it.

Ryan Diederich says:

I hate pennies too...

I work in retail, in Massachusetts.

They recently raised the sales tax rate from 5% to 6.25% (hopefully the vote tonight will have lowered it to 3%, we will see).

Since this, we have been using many more pennies than usual. It sucks, but pennies are part of our currency.

You fools should be thankful you dont have to carry around 100,000 marks to buy some milk.

Gatewood Green (profile) says:

Superman anyone?

Swipe the “micro” remainder from every transaction.

Random rumblings to various postings above…

A smart store owner could make an extra profit off this. Put together a simple spreadsheet that takes into account all applicable taxes for a given area and then use it to set all of your regular one-item (things that tend to sell by themselves such as cigarettes, sodas, beer, etc…) sales prices come up to 3 cents over the next nickel (after taxes of course). Then in those cases you can reap the rewards of the 2 cent rounding error and make a tidy profit over lots of transactions. We a consumers accept .02% or less interest in a bank savings account, why is a 1 or 2% gain in a business suddenly not desirable? You could also do the same for common two and three item sales.

Another point is that by removing the penny, the nickel becomes the new penny. Remove the nickel (make dimes the bottom coin) and you get the pinball ripoff effect. Ever notice that modern pinball machines’ (and score based video games) smallest unit of score is 1000? You could easily chop off the last three zeros and reflect the same relative score. In this case, dimes become the new penny and dollars becomes the new dime. You lost a zero. And through a cruel psychological joke you will have participated in overt inflation. For what it is worth, pinball machines add the three zeros as the exact reverse psychological joke to get you to put in more quarters. Your score looks bigger, you get more excited…

Lastly, humans do not naturally think in metric. Humans see measurements as visual relatives (ratio or fractions as earlier suggested, ever look at “standard” scale measurements?) and see quantity in logarithmic scale (ratios again) when they do not have linear scale beat into their heads at an early age.

Interesting delve into that phenomena:

That a meter is larger (more) that a centimeter is obvious, that 1.01 meter is larger than 1.00 meter on visual inspection, not so much (same would be true of a yard and an inch and 37 inches vs. 36 inches). This is also why a person may tend not to care about that penny. It seems so insignificant compared to our perceived base unit of a dollar. In reality your base unit is the smallest non-divisible denomination you have available. The English use to really subdivide and in the really old ages cutting a “coin” in pieces was a common way to make really small transactions. Quarter anyone? Try cutting a small coin into fifth or tenths. And when you do not make much money, that penny seems so much more useful (valuable). I know a few people on fixed small incomes that scrounge the couch regularly for any change including pennies to buy that next pack of cigarettes.

What linear base you use is irrelevant. What is visually and even mentally easy is the logarithmic difference. Even notice that earthquakes and sound are measured in log scale? Why do you think that is? Hint: small linear differences have no significant difference in effect.

As for the US switching to metric, nobody things of traveling in feet or meters. They think in miles and kilometers (useful base units of large scale). I doubt you tell the guy asking for directions that the store is 1500 meters down the road. Rather you tell him that its 1.5 km away. Nor would we say or that something is 2640 feet down the road, we say 1/2 mile. And really (for you non-US types), when was the last time you told somebody about your last big trip in megameters? So much for metric making common life easier. Metric is no better or worse for the common man, all that matters is that when two people communicate that agree in the “size” of the base unit.

It is much like arguing which is better English, German or Italian. All three languages accomplish the same task equally, but two people communicating have to speak a common (base) language.

btr1701 (profile) says:


I’m more annoyed with stores that refuse take $50 and $100 bills. They always claim it’s about countefeiting and they won’t take those bills because they’re the ones most counterfeited, but as a federal law enforcement whose jurisdiction it is to investigate counterfeit currency, I know that’s nonsense. The $20 bill is by far the most counterfeited denomination. If counterfeiting were really their concern, they’d refuse to take $20s.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Huh

Well, I’m more partial to a base 25, but that’s because I’m a geek and loved the Myst series.

As for percentages in a base 10, how do those fall apart in mental arithmatic? Percents should be VERY easy to calculate mentally. Or do you mean fractions into percentages? Yeah, those can get tricky, but keep in mind this: If you need precision calculations, you’ll probably have to tools for that (since you’re probably building something, etc); but if a general number is ok, mental rounding should work fine.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Rounding to the nearest penny

You say it will “even out”. No. Shops that get away with this will adjust their prices so that the rounding is nearly always UP.
In Australia, some shops round DOWN to the nearest penny. Some even round DOWN to the nearest 50 cents or so. Depending on the shop (how well they make this known, and how much they make it sound like “we value you”, they actually make enough more gross to clear a higher overall profit.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: It would even out? My left middle finger's knuckle it would.

Since so many prices are $x.99, disproportionately often your change would be $y.01 and get rounded down.

I think you’re forgetting sales tax. Most places in the US (though not all) charge sales tax, so the sale price is a few cents over the dollar, and would not have any consistent pattern (I think).

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