Here's things I've noticed about US Money:
- The 'penny' does not say 'penny' anywhere on it -- it's "one cent".
- The 'nickel' doesn't say 'nickel' anywhere on it -- it's "five cents".
- The 'dime' does not say what it's worth -- it's identified as "one dime".
- The quarter doesn't say how many cents it's worth -- it says "quarter dollar".
- The dollar is simply, "one dollar" -- no indication of cents.
So, really, there's no defined steps to get from a penny to a dollar, just looking at the money itself. A dollar could be worth 40 cents -- making the quarter dollar actually 10 cents. That'd make 2 nickels to a quarter, or 8 in a dollar. The dime, just as undefined as the dollar, could be the half-dollar, or twenty cents, just for simplicity...or, maybe it should be a 3-cent piece. That'd be the most useful -- that, or a 7-cent piece.
What I guess I'm getting at is, like our english sets of measurement, we're tied to tradition in a way that requires learning a whole lot of rules just to understand what the hell is going on. To ask someone for a penny, they have to know what a penny is -- they can't just LOOK at the coins for a name. Giving change requires two calculations: one to figure out the math, and a second to translate the math into coins. If I hand you a five dollar bill to pay for a $3.67 tab, how do you figure? You have to have learned that a dollar is 100 cents (a relatively easy assumption when you look at the way we write money terms), but once you come up with the need for 33 cents in change -- you need to translate in your head, and hope you can get around touching a dime. It makes you think about just how many things you have to learn, simply because there's no inherent logical structure to them.
I wonder, if we can take your ponderance as reason for the vast number of cashiers that have no clue how to count change back to people. Take that $3.67 tab. Paid with a five dollar bill. they hand you 3 one cent coins, a five cent coin and a quarter dollar, and one dollar and say one thirty-three is your change have a good day" as they shove this wad of money towards you, rather than count up from $3.67 to the five dollars. On top of that, they pile the coin tender on top of the paper with the reciept and shove me out the door before I can juggle the change around to get the coins in my pocket and the receipt and dollar bill in my wallet. Such a pity.
--pero , 12/23/2004 14:24:19