Originally created 05/11/04

Americans still want some change in their pockets



Money is always there, but the pockets change.

- Gertrude Stein

There seems to be a common belief that Americans don't like money that clinks. You know, pocket change.

Some say it's considered so valueless that people drop it in grocery store parking lots, fling it into fast-food drive-through collectors and tell clerks to put it in the community spare change jar beside the convenience store cash register.

That's what some say.

And some would be wrong.

The General Accounting Office commissioned a Gallup survey and found that Americans still like their coins.

Ninety-nine percent of those surveyed wanted the mint to continue producing dimes and quarters. Ninety-seven percent still wanted nickels.

Even pennies, frequently mentioned as a candidate for oblivion, gained a 64 percent approval rating.

The dollar coin, another whose popularity is often dismissed, got support from 68 percent of those asked.

Face it. Money is money and never goes out of style. Few of us confuse clinkers with clunkers.

MAILBAG: Bill Bohling comments on Friday's column about gas prices. He writes: "Gasoline is cheaper now than in 1952! In 1952 gasoline was 5 gallons for a dollar. Minimum wage was $0.50/hour. I had to work 2 hours to buy the gasoline. The current minimum wage is $5.15/hour. Five gallons costs $9 so a minimum wage worker spends less than two hours earning the money for five gallons."

TODAY'S JOKE: A lady walked into a drugstore and told the pharmacist she needed some cyanide. The pharmacist said, "Why in the world do you need cyanide?"

"I need it," the lady said, "to poison my husband."

The pharmacist's eyes got big, and he said, "Lord have mercy. I can't give you cyanide to kill your husband! They'll throw both of us in jail, and I'll lose my license!"

The lady looked at him firmly, reached into her purse and showed him a photograph of her husband in a passionate embrace with the pharmacist's wife.

"Well," the startled pharmacist said, reaching for a bottle on the shelf behind him, "you didn't tell me you had a prescription."

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com.