So, I’m getting ready to go to Vancouver, BC, next week for the Philosophy of Science Association meeting (which coincides with the Society for Social Studies of Science meeting and the History of Science Society meeting). And I’m really jazzed that I’ll get to meet John Lynch and John Wilkins and Ben Cohen and David Ng in the three-dimensional world.
But I’m also psyched that I’m going to be able to get rid of all the Canadian coinage that has found its way into my hands over the last several years.*
Naturally, this has led me to wonder whether there is a typical Canadian experience that is analogous to the experience those of us in the U.S. describe as “being stuck with a Canadian penny” (or nickle or dime).
In the great white north, does receiving change that includes the odd U.S. penny have the same undertone of being cheated? I mean sure, you’ve ended up with a currency that is not legal tender in your country, so it’s unable to perform the functions one typically wants the coins in one’s pockets to perform. But at the same time, you’ve gotten change that (according to the currency exchange rates) is worth a bit more than the change you were entitled to. Does it feel like an extra bonus? Or is it completely outweighed by the need to actually transact commerce with an American?
Or do Canadians never get U.S. currency in their change by mistake? Is there some other foreign currency of lower value that Canadians get stuck with instead? Is there some set of economic and/or perceptual forces that drives erroneous change-making in such a way that change containing unnoticed foreign currency never (or hardly ever) exceeds the value of the analogous coins in the local currency?
I welcome reports from the field on this matter.
*I’m also going to get rid of about 12 kronor I’ve had since May, but I may be the only one traveling to Canada to accomplish that particular goal.