A dollar ain’t what it used to be


What is the value of a dollar?

We know it’s shrinking, but we’re now getting signals anything less than a dollar doesn’t have any value at all.

I received an email from White Sands Federal Credit Union, one of the financial institutions where I have an account. On Nov. 20, White Sands FCU “will transition to a coinless institution. We will no longer accept or disburse any loose coins at any of our branch locations,” the message said.

As people convert more and more to credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo and other cashless ways to make a transaction, it looks more and more like coins will be relegated to the world of collectors, couch cushions and pockets of pants you haven’t worn in four years.

Most jukeboxes use cards, and you can’t even find a payphone anymore, so what’s the use?

In 1979, the U.S. Mint introduced the Susan B. Anthony dollar. It only stuck around for a couple of years. I was just a kid, but I remember distinctly the coin being almost exactly the size of a quarter.

My dad’s comment was: “Makes sense. A dollar’s only worth about a quarter these days anyway.”

And that was 44 years ago.

An up-and-coming internet scam involves bait-and-switch furniture.

You see an ad come across your web feed for a beautiful dining room table, just like  what you’ve been wanting. The price is also a dynamite bargain. You’ve been seeing tables at $1,500 and higher, and this one is a cool $395. A week later you check your mailbox and find a small package. Curious, you open it and find a dining room table tiny enough to fit in a dollhouse. Sorry, friend, you’ve been had.

I have no room to talk. I was recently suckered out of $84 because I thought that price for a $595 item was just too good to be true. Apparently it was. It never arrived at my house, and the company told me they never had such a sale.

My Great Uncle Bud told me how he learned the value of a dollar. As a kid he’d earned money doing odd jobs around Terrell, Texas, near the farm where he and my grandmother Boonie grew up.

When got his first silver dollar, he went to the store to see what he might purchase. Good at math even at that young age, Victor Valentine Stiles strolled up and down the aisles, ciphering in his head.

He could get a 7-ounce Coca-Cola for a dime. Or he could get a 10-ounce Royal Crown Cola for a nickel. Easy choice. He could various snacks from a penny to a quarter. But the big, fat, messy double-decker chocolate Moon Pie with the marshmallow filling? That was only five cents.

So with 10 cents, could have a deliciously filling – if not so healthy – snack of an RC and a Moon Pie, and still have 90 cents left over.