Boycott Watch  
November 17, 2010
U.S. One Dollar Coin Poised to Catch On
Summary:America's second attempt at a one-dollar coin is catching one because it is convenient for vending machine operators.
   The new one-dollar US coin may finally be catching on with American consumers. This is not because people want to change from paper dollars to coins, but because of the rising cost of consumer goods and distribution via vending machines.

   In 1976, the US released the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, but it did not catch on for several reasons, mainly because there was no infrastructure to support it. Cash register drawers had no spaces set aside for the oddball coin which was easily mistaken for a quarter, so retailers just wanted to get rid of them, sending them back to the banks where mainly people who wanted them as novelties and asked for them. From a marketing standpoint, it was a failure.

   The current dollar-coin change trend started at the US Post Office, possibly as a government mandate to help get them into circulation. Unfortunately for the US, few people used those vending machines especially with the advent of electronic postage. After several years of implementation, the coins did not catch on.

   Today we see resurgence in vending machine operations because these machines can serve an ever widening variety of products 24 hours a day without the staff or space required for retail displays. For this reason, you see people purchasing from vending machines near active cafeterias, at highway rest stops and more. Libraries even vent USB jump drives and report folders. Coupling that with the vending machine items such as bottled water which can easily cost just over a dollar and the fact that most people do not carry much small change or many small dollar bills, vending machine operators have been forced to accept five and larger paper money denominations, then vend several dollars of change at a time. In order to conserve quarters thus keeping customers when change runs low, vending machines are now dispensing dollar coins as change. This allows the vending machine operators to take more and larger bills while using fewer coins as change.

   From a marketing standpoint, the old Susan B. Anthony dollar coins look and feel like quarters, thus causing people to leave more money than desired. The new dollar coins, however, have a completely different weight, look and feel, including the flat edge and gold color. Cash registers have also widened with the demand for check-slots and return receipt storage, thus also creating free spaces for the new coins. It may take a few years for the new coins to catch on, but this time the US market is ready to accept it.

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