Sacagawea and Presidential Dollars: A Second Chance at Circulating
Last week, I posted an article that expressed my view that the new dollar coins are doomed after multiple personal attempts to try and spend them. (Read article)
Using the U.S. Mint's direct shipment program, I received 10 rolls of the new 2009 Sacagawea $1 coins in the mail. That's 250 coins! Since I only wanted one roll for my collection, that left me with nine rolls to spend. (That's the whole idea behind the direct shipment program, to help get the coins into circulation) So in the article, I related my attempts and frustration at trying to spend those coins. By the time I wrote the article, I had given up.
Then I received a comment on the article from someone else that was having no problems at spending the coins. An observation they made was that perhaps the fact they were in a college town made the difference. So I decided to give it another shot and this time, I was going to pay attention to the age of the clerks accepting the coins.
Well, I am happy to say that I am well on my way to releasing those nine rolls into circulation. Age seems to make all the difference. While baby boomers seem to do nothing but complain about the coins, generation X and Y don't even bat an eye when I hand them the coins. It's actually gotten to the point now where I actually get a kick out of giving the old fogeys the coins just to piss them off.
I recently went to lunch with a couple of baby boomers and when the check came, I pulled out a $5 bill and five $1 coins to pay my part. My two lunchmates were so embarassed by the coins that they wouldn't let me pay with them. The waiter, on the other hand, was young enough that I'm convinced that their fears were unfounded.
So, while I've always been convinced that the dollar coins have no real chance at circulating until we remove the dollar bill, I'm now revising that view a little. I now believe that by the time the Presidential dollar series comes to an end, enough baby boomers will have met their maker and been replaced by a maturing generation X and Y that the coins may actually begin to circulate.
My suggestion to the U.S. Mint:
Stop with the marketing geographically to certain cities (Austin, etc.) and focus more on demographics. Go after the younger generation. Get the coins to circulate in and around schools and universities. Go after the thousands of college towns across the country. I believe if you can get a younger generation to accept the coins, the future for them will be secure.
Or better yet, let's finally do away with the dollar bill!