This is a blog of illustrator Petri Suni. Browse on and check what he's been up to lately.

13 December 2011

Death to pennies

As the big boys (and girls) of the Europe are currently having tough meetings to save the euro currency, there are also money related problems in USA. In his blog Daniel Pink brought up a noteworthy problem concerning money: the smallest unit of USD - annoying and useless penny.

Even though I don't have to use pennies (... or similar... luckily here in Finland our smallest unit of money is 5 euro cents) in my everyday life, I can easily understand the hate against that useless unit. That's why had my tries to solve the penny problem.

"Death to pennies", as the title goes in Daniel Pinks post, is a pretty ultimate request. So I start my brainstorm with destructive thoughts - let's kill the pennies. I believe nearly everybody has seen old western movies. In those movies there are some gun heroes, who can shoot through a coin tossed in the air. That's the end of pennies! And who could fit in this job better than mr. Lucky Luke? No one.

penny problem, Lucky Luke shooting pennies

As there may be quite some of those little bastards and shooting them one by one may take a while, there must be also another solution. Let's put them out of our eyes - Can't see, can't be. And there's one hiding place above others - the mother and father of all hideouts: under the corner of a carpet. There are some valuable benefits of this trick: carpets are easy to find and there are billions of them. Not to forget that most of the carpets have four corners.

penny problem, hide pennies

The next trick to get rid of pennies is a bit foxy... and may not be fair for some... It could be worth trying to pay penny manufacturer's bill with pennies they have just made. And as that's not enough (because it's more expensive to manufacture a penny than one penny is worth) there's still some more to pay... and that sum can be paid (I know you already guess it)... with PENNIES! Ordering pennies helps actually get rid of them.

penny problem, return pennies

This idea bases on trading pennies for something more valuable. It's a bit like doing lotto and may be quite hard to utilize for collective good. Okey, there are some wishing wells every here and there and people tend to toss their coins in them and make wishes. As far as I know, the value of the tossed coin doesn't correlate with odds a certain wish comes true, so why don't we use only pennies? Use pennies for wishing and wish BIG, so that the wishes that come true makes more than is the value of pennies that are tossed for unrealized wishes. Some lose, some win, but all in all pennies are traded for bigger value.

penny problem, wishing well

The last idea is my personal favorite. As the core problem of the penny is in it's value, why don't we just change it? The lousy value of the penny is something we have agreed, so we can also change it. Even though it sounds easy, it's not something just anyone could do. It wouldn't help a bit if I would try to do it. It needs someone with real credibility. There are certainly some others, but my personal suggestion is Rocky Balboa.

penny problem, Rocky Balboa

All ideas to solve the penny problem are welcome. I may even illustrate some of them :)


  1. Upon its creation penny actually had much more value and relevance. Instead of directing all that lethal force just against penny you could expand the story and your illustration to include those mechanisms that have constantly demised Dollars monetary value and subsequently made its smallest transferable unit almost obsolete.

    How about an illustration of Mr. Inflation and its lackeys getting all the heat that they deserve. How about an illustration where the Penny will retaliate agains those that for long time has been stripping it from its original glory :-)

    A Penny for your thoughts...

    - W

  2. Thanks for the comment W. You are so true. I had such an one eyed point of view, because I targeted to provide a tongue-in-cheek kind of solution to the problem Dan Pink brought up in his blog post.

    You have also excellent ideas for further visualizations. I may get back to this topic on some lazy Sunday afternoon :)