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‘Bag it and we will take it’ - Merchants in St Thomas and Clarendon say no problem with $1 coins

Published:Sunday | April 19, 2015 | 12:00 AMJolyn Bryan & Shanique Samuels
A sign displayed on a wall inside a wholesale in May Pen, Clarendon.

While several wholesales in downtown Kingston are refusing to accept $1 coins there is no such problem in May Pen, Clarendon. However must request that shoppers count and parcel coins before tendering them for payment.

"Please step out of the line and count out the coins and bag them in hundreds," was the almost standard response from cashiers when members of our news team attempted to purchase goods using coins last week.

"A weh yaa guh wid dat?" declared one cashier as a member of our news team paid for a purchase with coins.

"Mi nah count no silva enuh, mi no like count one dolla," added the cashier as she handed the reporter three small transparent bags. "Count dem out and put hundred inna each bag," she added.

At a cosmetic and haberdashery wholesale operated by Chinese nationals in the town centre, one of the proprietors told our reporter that while they accept the coins they don't like to collect large quantities because they are hard to count.

It was a similar story in St Thomas where wholesale operators said they would accept the coins as long as they do not exceed a certain amount.

"We accept them because the customers usually only have coins to pay, and if they are not buying in bulk then they are not spending a lot of money, so it would not be a lot of coins," a Chinese business operator in Morant Bay told The Sunday Gleaner.

However some residents of the parish complained that one dollar coins were not being accepted on public transportation, and only a few places outside of supermarkets and stores would accept them.

"Only place I know accept one dollars is the pharmacy, because they give back red money (cent coins) as change when you fill a prescription,' said Ray Gayle.

For some cashiers, while they have no choice but to accept the coins, spending time to count one dollars during a shopping rush is an annoyance they would rather not deal with.

The cashiers also complained that the coins are also cumbersome in cash drawers, and tallying sales at the end of the work day takes longer when many coins are a factor.

One cashier in a recently opened wholesale in Morant Bay also explained that most times customers complain about receiving one dollars as change, and sometimes leave them at the checkout.

That was confirmed by one of the many shoppers in the store. "It might be legal tender, but it is annoying and I don't want it when I get change. You have to sit and count it out one dollar at a time. One hundred $1 is too much money. It jingles and it is heavy," said Hyacinth Hamilton.