Once upon a time, in a land called the United States, there was a coin called the half cent. It was the smallest denomination ever minted. It began in 1793 and was discontinued in 1857, and the United States lived happily ever after.

So is it time we discontinued the penny? Let me tell you a small story from Friday night. I had to run in to a 7-11 to grab milk for the kids. I grabbed a gallon and something else that came out to $3.99. I handed the cashier a $10 bill. He snatched a $5 and a $1 out of the drawer and began reaching in the coin slot. It was this weird moment, because I even heard the rattle of the pennies knocking together as he made contact with them. Then I felt him look at me, and without us speaking word it was just somehow mutually agreed that this was silly. He withdrew his empty hand and gave me only the five and the one but no penny.

He shorted me by one penny, knowingly, and I was fine with that.

Which brings me to my point. The penny has outlived its usefulness. I understand that the penny is still one percent of one dollar. I understand that pennies can add up, and that if one hundred make a dollar, one thousand make ten, and if you amass one hundred million of them you're still a millionaire even though it's all in pennies.

But...you won't. People leave pennies behind constantly. The little have-it-need-it trays on store counters are filled with unwanted pennies. Pennies are walked over in parking lots. They're forgotten. They are the ugly red headed stepchild of currency. And if your argument is a hundred of them still make a dollar then two hundred half cents still made a dollar in 1857 yet we got rid of them.

The cost to mint a one cent coin rose to 1.5 cents in 2016. Think about what this means. The United States government is losing money by keeping the penny around. Yes, they've made every effort to bare bone the manufacturing cost and this is still the best anyone can do. The penny is losing money.

Will getting rid of the penny raise prices? Yes, because things will be rounded and they won't be rounded in our favor. Yet when natural rounding is happening by store clerks realizing $6.01 in change is not worth anyone's effort then so what? And customers and doing natural rounding by leaving pennies behind in those trays. Have we gotten to the point that the penny really is more of a nuisance coin than anything? Take our poll and let us know how you feel.

More from New Jersey 101.5

Sign up for the NJ1015.com Newsletter

Get the best of NJ1015.com delivered to your inbox every day.