| 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.