In just a few days, people can expect store clerks to start holding back some of their change— or give them a little extra — thanks to the fact pennies are being withdrawn from circulation.        

The prospect doesn’t concern Paola Turner, a Victoria Avenue boutique owner in Thunder Bay.


Paola Turner, owner of Baci Boutique in Thunder Bay, says she still puts a penny in every wallet she sells. The penny will be phased out starting Monday. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

That’s because most customers use a debit or credit card.

Turner said she'll miss the penny. She puts one in every purse or wallet that she sells.

"It's just a superstition, I guess, that's been going around for years and years and years," she said.

"We've just followed it through with our store."

At another Thunder Bay business, Kim Kirkup still has lots of pennies in her till. She didn't know until contacted by a reporter on Tuesday that they were being phased out.

"I always thought it was a rumour," she said.

"And, I guess it's not a rumour anymore as of Monday."

Kirkup said she still has a lot of pennies at home.

"I have a lot rolled up and we have quite a few here to last quite a while."

'Going to be some upset people'

Coffee shop worker Martha Thompson said she’s concerned about some of her customers.

"It's going to be difficult explaining to some maybe mentally challenged and some elderly people that the till says your sale comes to $2.28, but I'm not going to give you change if you give me $2.90," Thompson said.

"I'm pretty sure there are going to be some upset people."


Rounding down and rounding up when giving change. (Royal Canadian Mint)

Thompson said it would be easier if cash registers automatically rounded out the change, sparing clerks from having to get to the nearest nickel.

When there is a lineup of 20 people in her shop, she noted, it can get stressful to serve people quickly — and  mistakes may be made when rounding.

The federal government says businesses are obligated to round to the nearest nickel in a fair and transparent manner.

Kirkup said exactly how that process rolls out will be interesting to observe.

"I don't know how it's going to work," the engraving shop owner said.

"But I know, for the consumer obviously, businesses aren't going to round down. They're always going to round up."