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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    Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 1:56pm

    It would be interesting to see a study on common retail prices and where on they fall with taxes in and such - it seems unlikely that everything would just even out using standard rounding. I bet that in aggregate it benefits one side or the other.

     

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      ntroncos (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 8:53pm

      Re:

      This happens in countries (like the USA) where advertised prices do not include tax.

      Its much easier to round up final prices when the already have taxes included. No such nonsense as 17.01 dollars. LOL

       

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        btr1701 (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 5:56am

        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.

         

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          BBT, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 6:29am

          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.

           

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          Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 7:12am

          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.

           

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    Leviathant (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:04pm

    Psychological

    There's a deli here in Philadelphia that rounds pennies just like they mention in the note on this Dunkin Donuts, and no one says anything. I'll be glad if pennies ever disappear in this country. Australia seemed to function fine without a one cent piece the last time I was there.

     

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      Kaotik4266 (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:51pm

      Re: Psychological

      Absolutely! I wish they'd get rid of the 5c coin as well because they're effectively worthless these days and you can't get rid of the bloody things!

      Also, probably stating the obvious but credit card (and debit card, eftpos, online etc.) transactions are still not rounded and go to the cent.

       

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      Nick Coghlan (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 6:33am

      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.

       

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    Martin, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:15pm

    The dunkin donuts should just change their prices so that when you include sales tax all items end in a multiple of five. Then no one would care.

     

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    tehdiploamt, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    Pirce Change

    Why don't they just change their prices relative to sales tax so they always round to 5 cents? This way they don't need to worry about pennies, and they don't need a sign about it.

     

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      Rich, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:05pm

      Re: Pirce Change

      How do you do that in a place where the sales tax is 7%? How do you set the prices, so that every transaction will be an even 5 cents?

       

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        Chargone (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 12:11am

        Re: Re: Pirce Change

        I'm sure if you can't manage 5c you could manage 10c...

        wait, does the USA have a 10c coin? or does it get eaten (along with the 20s and 50s common elsewhere) by the 25c coin? (quarter)

         

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        Jose_X, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 4:38am

        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.

         

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      Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 5:34am

      Re: Pirce Change

      Actually, if you have a target price for after taxes, it's simple arithmatic to get your pre-tax price. Want the final price to be $2.05? At 7% tax? Fine, your 'listed price should be' $1.92. Just divide the target price by your tax rate to get your starting price. 2.05 / 1.07 = 1.92. Easy.

       

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      hometoast (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 8:32am

      Re: Pirce Change

      This works until someone comes in with a tax-exempt form. And you can bet, someone with a tax exempt form, is going to be sure to get their $0.01 if it's theirs.

       

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      PRMan, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 11:29am

      Re: Pirce Change

      I had a friend that was assistant manager at a Burger King years ago and they rounded every price to quarters. People came from miles around because they were

      1. Slightly cheaper
      2. Convenient, because a Whopper, fries and Coke were $3 exactly.

       

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    Planespotter (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:20pm

    They could have easily abolished the penny... they just needed to round the cost down not up.

     

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    qyiet (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    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)

     

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    qyiet (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    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)

     

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    Nick Burns (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    It would only even out if you changed your order, or they changed their prices from time to time. If you always went there for a donut and coffee and it cost $2.22 and received $2.20 every time, you'd be short a dime by the end of the workweek.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:56pm

      Re:

      yea but if the cost was 2.23 you would be ahead by a dime a week.

      after 52 weeks of eating junk like that you would have a whole extra $5.20. give it 10 years and you would of earned $52 bucks, but you would be dead due to eating that much junk.

       

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      Umm What? (profile), Mar 10th, 2011 @ 7:50am

      Re:

      Help us all, NO! Out a whole dime by the end of the week??? That's $5.20 by the end of the year!! I'm guessing if you have $2.20 per day to spend on a donut and coffee, the covenience and expediency of eliminating the penny would be worth the $5.20 to you.

       

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    Mark Christiansen, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:33pm

    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.

     

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      Rich, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:07pm

      Re: Post prices inclusive of sales tax.

      I'm not positive but I believe that is illegal in some areas of the US.

       

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        Chargone (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 12:17am

        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....

         

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    athe, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:35pm

    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...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    Like all math you can make it so that it never rounds down just up.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 12:19am

      Re:

      ... ummm. no he doesn't? he says some people seem to assume it never rounds up, just down, and points out that it actually does both.

      reading comprehension is a wonderful thing, and you ain't got it.

       

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    anonymous coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    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?

     

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    interval (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:44pm

    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.

    ABOLISH THE PENNY NOW.

     

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      The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 4:32pm

      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.

       

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      JEDIDIAH, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 4:53pm

      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.

       

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        Rich, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:15pm

        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!

         

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          rec9140, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

          " The metric system IS superior, and that is coming from an American!"

          Blasphemy!

          Your citizenship has been revoked! The next plane to London leaves at Gate 5!

           

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        RandomGuy (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 9:37pm

        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.

         

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          btrussell (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 3:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

          30Celc. = 90Far.
          15C = 60F

          30-15 = 15

          90 - 60 = 30
          (30) - (15) = 0?
          Temperature scale does not work!
          30cm = 1 foot
          30 -15 =15
          12 -6 = 6

           

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            Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 5:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

             

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              btrussell (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 7:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

              90-60=30
              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?

               

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                Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 9:05am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 10:03am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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. :-)

                   

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                    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 1:58pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                     

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                  btrussell (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 4:59am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

                  There are 2.5 cm in an inch
                  4.5 litres in a gallon (Canadian, which is not the same size as an American gallon, even though they share the same name, "Gallon.")
                  1.6 km in a mile.

                  How many degrees F are there in one unit measure of C?

                  90/32.2= 2.8
                  60/15.5= 3.9

                   

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        nasch (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 4:01pm

        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?

         

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          btrussell (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 7:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

          From Canada.

          I'd prefer the imperial measures.

          Heard on construction site:
          "Pass me that 2,438.4mm 50.8X101.6"

           

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            nasch (profile), Nov 5th, 2010 @ 6:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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 2x4 not 2x4? 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. :-)

             

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      rec9140, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 4:55pm

      Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

      "ABOLISH THE PENNY NOW."

      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!

       

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        The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 5:42pm

        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.

         

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          Rich, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:20pm

          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.

           

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          rec9140, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:42pm

          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.

           

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            PandaMarketer (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 7:25am

            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.

             

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 4:55pm

      Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

      Yes, only Americans resist change.

      /sarcasm

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 5:48pm

      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.

       

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      Sean, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 11:17am

      Re: Friggin' rediculous indeed

      When someone hands you change you drop it on the ground? What a dipshlt.

       

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    Anne Peacock, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:47pm

    abolish the penny

    Various Oxxo franchises in guadalajara, mexico are doing the same thing, however, the rounding always favors the store never the client. However, I have never seen people question the policy.

     

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    Jeff, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:53pm

    Just get rid of pennies!

    Why do we bother with pennies? We get so many of them... and I see the ground usually littered with them. I wouldn't mind paying $3 (or 2.95) for my big cheese burgers, instead of 2.99.

    I think it'd definitely speed up services if stores were to price everything ending with a 0 or 5.

     

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      RandomGuy (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 6:33pm

      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.

       

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        Rose M. Welch (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 9:15pm

        Re: Re: Just get rid of pennies!

        That's incorrect. Items are priced a few cents below the next dollar to create the perception that the items are less expensive than they actually are.

         

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    Designerfx (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:58pm

    only in the us

    only in the us would people throw a fit about this.

    in the rest of the world, this is not even an issue - it just happens. They don't bother with the equivalent of penny coins. Some countries start at 5c/10c.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 5:29pm

      Re: only in the us

      You forgot Japan. They still use their 1 yen coin.

      But hey, why let fact throw off your rant.

       

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    Koby (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 4:13pm

    re:

    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.

     

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    Pirate My Music (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 4:14pm

    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.

     

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    Chris Mikaitis (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 4:22pm

    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.

     

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      Jose_X, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 4:58am

      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.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 4:28pm

    Brazil

    Here in Brazil the one cent coin also has gone away. Everyone just rounds to the nearest 5 cents.

     

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    rec9140, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 4:46pm

    Tim Hortons is better anyway!

    Tim Hortons rocks donuts way better...

    Wendys was STUUUPID for selling it back to the canucks...

    Should have kept expanding it!

    Honey Glazed and TimBits! ! ! !

     

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    Brian, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 5:22pm

    No problem

    So long as they round my change up every time, I don't have an issue. But you know they won't because then they would be the ones losing money, not us.

     

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    iamtheky (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 5:43pm

    All OCONUS AAFES establishments (retail and fast food) round to the nearest 5 cents.....and it is of absolutely no consequence. Nor does it seem to evoke any emotion.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:16pm

    How can they pay their employees if they ban the penny? hahahaha!

     

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    Jake, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:27pm

    Britain still has one and two pence coins, though unlike some countries we gave up making them out of pure copper a long time a go, but almost every store's cash register has a collecting tin for some charity next to it.

     

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    Jim, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:36pm

    Useless coins

    All you folks who think pennies and nickles are worthless are welcome to send them to me. I'll happily truck a wheelbarrow of change to the bank every week.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 7:51am

      Re: Useless coins

      i'll be glad to send you all my pennies, as long as you pay for the postage. And the envelope. And my time to take it to the mailbox.

      Or you can drive over to my house and pick them up. Your call.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 7:25pm

    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.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 8:52pm

    in Hungary

    In Hungary the 1 and 2 Forint coins were revoked completely, the smallest is the 5 Forint coin. Everyone hated managing those pesky little bastards, but now they're gone. But if you pay using a card, no rounding to fives takes place.

     

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    Ryan Diederich, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 9:22pm

    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.

     

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    Gatewood Green (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 4:07am

    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:
    http://www.radiolab.org/2009/nov/30/innate-numbers/

    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.

     

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      btr1701 (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 6:07am

      Re: Superman anyone?

      > 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.

      Seems like if they're that strapped for cash, the intelligent thing to do would be to quit the cigarettes.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 4:47am

    Been doing this for 10 years

    I'm a contractor working on a US base in Korea and the Base Exchange and Commissary have been doing this for all the 10 years I've been here.

    The rounding only occurs on cash transactions. Credit and debit cards are down to the penny.

    Personally, I don't miss the penny.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 5:52am

    Pennies

    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.

     

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      Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 7:00am

      Re: Pennies

      I always thought the reason for refusing larger bills was to give the illusion that there would be no large bills on premesis to steal. Like if a pizza deliver guy can't accept anything larger than a $20, I won't be able to mug him for a $50 or $100.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 7:02am

      Re: Pennies

      I read somewhere in the Internet that the US currency is one of the easiest to counterfeit. Isn't that the real problem?

       

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    hometoast (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 8:36am

    Add to this the US Mint wastes billions even producing pennies and nickles.

     

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      hometoast (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 8:37am

      Re: Add to this the US Mint wastes billions even producing pennies and nickles.

      wow... comment fail.

      It costs about 1.25 cents to make a penny and about 7 cents to make a nickel.

       

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    Idobek (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 9:30am

    Huh

    Strange that this sparked a metric vs. imperial debate.

    Personally I'd like a base 12 system so fractions still "work". Percentages and base 10 numeric systems fall apart very quickly when doing mental arithmetic.

     

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      Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 9:43am

      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.

       

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      Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 9:45am

      Re: Huh

      And I think metric vs. imerial is just about as hot a topic as evolution vs creationism. ;)

       

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 5:10pm

    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.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 2:49pm

    abolish the penny

    It costs 1.7 cents to make one.

    duh.

     

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Nov 7th, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    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.

    Anyway, swipe card transactions are slowly but surely replacing cash transactions. The whole issue will likely be moot before long.

     

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      nasch (profile), Nov 7th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

      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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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 3:58pm

    what the fuck is your name

     

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    Nadine Clement, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 4:25pm

    abolish the penny

    I started a petition to abolish the penny and I need support. I am trying to get ten million people to sign. Will you sign and spread the word? :) Thank you for your time!

    http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-production-of-costly-pennies?share_id=MHBACjptbh&a mp;pe=nsfd

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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