34 years ago, the Chancellor announced that the Royal Mint would stop making the Halfpenny coin.
For those of you who aren’t old enough to remember, it was a tiny coin worth ½ a pence (I’m not joking).
When I first read this, I felt nostalgic and got a bit misty-eyed about that little bronze coin.
But I soon remembered how annoying the coin was.
It’d get lost in my trouser pocket and behind the sofa.
Mum’s purse was clogged up with halfpennies and weighed a ton.
And you’d often find them on the pavements outside shops because most people didn’t either bother to pick them up when they dropped them.
Even though it was currency to buy things sold in halves such as sweets and stamps, or to make up change, it became (almost) universally unpopular.
Its fate was sealed when it became more expensive to make than its face value.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
I want you to look in the mirror right now, and answer, honestly:
- Do you have a product or service that isn’t adding anything to your brand or bottom line?
- Are you currently selling something that is actually costing you time, money and hassle?
- What else could you focus this effort and spend on?
When doing this, it’s critical you think with ration and logic, not emotion.
In the halfpenny case, the Treasury had argued that the coin was an important factor in the fight against inflation. It wasn’t.
There was widespread uncertainty of the fate of the best-known prices ending in that odd half-penny such as the 12½p stamp. The world didn’t end, it was just rounded up to 13p by the end of the year.
Pensioners, especially, were understandably worried about the impact on their bills. But supermarkets rounded some prices up, and some prices down, so shopping prices overall remained the same.
And the best bit?
Charities were quick to realise they could cash in on the windfall and launched national campaigns to encourage people to hand over their unwanted halfpennies.