Public: Currency: Coin
Penny Vending   (+6)  [vote for, against]
Vending machines that take only pennies

Vending machines in my area take no coin less than a nickel. My pennies always end up in cups or some donation scheme because I never can dig them up fast enough for the cashier.

I would rather have some value for my money (or the illusion of value). There are still some low value items, like a single LifeSaver candy. If someone put up vending machines that sell those for a few pennies I would rather put my money there.

Even more expensive items are not out of reach. All the machine needs is a funnel like they have them at some toll booths. I throw in a hand full of pennies and make a selection. The machine spits out the item I selected and whatever pennies were overpaid together with dimes that were stuck in between. Beats using a counting machine that charges a 10% fee and just spits out a coupon that I have to redeem at the cash register.

A "penny only" machine would be pretty safe from fraud because there are few items that can me made for a penny these days.
-- kbecker, Apr 05 2004

Baked -- enter the contest to win one
Penny gum machines were pretty common when I was growing up [RooneDitoff, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Anything that gets rid of pennies gets my vote.
-- tchaikovsky, Apr 05 2004

At university there is a vending machine that accepts pennies. Because it costs 30p to get anything you end up standing round for ages because, as students, we all save even the stupid money.
-- miasere, Apr 06 2004

We have a bank here (Commerce Bank) that will convert your loose change to bills and larger coins free of charge, whether or not you are a customer.

There are also vending machines that take pennies and convert them to souvenirs by stamping pictures of tourist attractions on them. But they require two quarters as well, which defeats your purpose.
-- DrCurry, Apr 06 2004

[kbecker] i work for a company that has vending machines ... yadda yadda

the trouble with vending machines that take pennies (or coppers, if you're UK centric) is that you need an enormous machine house all the coins vended. Most space in a vendor is taken up with stock, since it's that which makes you the money.

You'd also need a new kind of coin mechanism (the piece of gubbins that recognises your coin). Most UK/US vending machines do not have coin mechs ready for pennies - which is why you'll find most vending prices are multiples of 5c or 5p. To fix a machine to take pennies would mean a new coin mech and guess what - the coin mech is the most expensive part of the machine, maybe as high as 50% of the value. This'll be too expensive given the penny returns.

-- jonthegeologist, Apr 06 2004

As a side function, you should be able to get change of any bill up to $20 in pennies, if you like.
-- phundug, Apr 06 2004

RE: toll booth funnel
People will vomit in them.

In Illinois, you can use pennies in Tolls. Know why?
-- yabba do yabba dabba, Apr 06 2004

The problem with U.S. "pennies" (cents) is there are currently two main types in active circulation: the pure-copper variety, and the newer and slightly lighter copper-encased-zinc variety. Modern coin mechanisms have to be able to handle both varieties.

Not many machines even recognize half-dollar and dollar coins.
-- traal, Apr 06 2004

[jonthegeologist], if they can take dimes (5p coins, whatever), they can take pennies. It's all computerized, anyway. The reason vending machines don't take pennies is that they take up too much space for such low value.
-- Random832, Sep 05 2006

I take my penny jar down to the U.S. Post Office and buy stamps from the vending machine. It's kind of slow stuffing the pennies in, and I only use stamps for paying bills these days, but the machine actually takes pennies, and those dollar coins, too.
-- baconbrain, Sep 05 2006

One could probably make a fair bit of money off a machine which sells almost worthless stuff for pennies, with a coin mech that melts down the pennies into a vat. At the end of the week, just sell the zinc or use it to make stuff and sell that.
-- Spacecoyote, Jan 10 2009

One thing that I learned many years ago is that you can use pennies for public transportation. If you have 150 to 200 pennies or so, you can ride the bus or the subway.
-- Jscotty, Jan 11 2009

[yabba do yabba dabba] - I know it's been a long and tense period of suspense, but why?
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 11 2009

random, halfbakery