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    View all New York Times newsletters. Jack Gillis, a spokesman for the Consumer Federation of America, which has long campaigned against inaccuracy in supermarket scanners, said he had not yet heard complaints about rounding up.

    Pennies from Hell: In Montana, the Bill for America's Copper Comes Due - Edwin Dobb - Google книги

    But the idea of not giving notice to the customer "absolutely blows my mind," he said. When questioned, the owner, John Snedden, and others at Rocklands barbecue here said that their aim was merely to speed transactions by eliminating pennies and that the rounding, though not necessarily to the nearest nickel, lowered as well as raised prices and so did not increase profits. In fact, Mr. Snedden said, adding that he had begun to round off only after an attempt to eliminate pennies by adjusting pretax prices had failed. Practice Could Spread.

    When you deal in those little shares, remember, all that glisters is not gold

    Although the practice of rounding off still appears confined to a relative handful of establishments, the potential for widespread adoption is substantial. No Federal or state bodies are charged with the regulation of cash register accuracy except for registers connected to scales, like those used to weigh meat or produce.

    Moreover, today's electronic registers are highly sophisticated, able to handle easily, for example, the three-for-a-dollar situation by charging 34 cents for the first item and 33 cents for the second and third, even when the items move across the checkout counter at different times. Hayman, president of Hayman Systems, an independent dealer in Laurel, Md. In general, new registers are programmed by dealers to customers' specifications, but most merchants are capable, with the aid of a manual, of reprogramming them when tax rates change or for other purposes.

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    Nor do there seem to be any specific laws governing rounding off. When asked what strictures apply, regulators cite general prohibitions against fraud and Handbook 44, a publication of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, part of the Commerce Department. Handbook 44, to which the states subscribe, in practice, declares opaquely that "any recorded money value and any digital money-value indication on a computing-type weighing or measuring device used in retail trade shall be in mathematical agreement with its associated quantity representation or indication to the nearest 1 cent of money value.

    According to Barry Wood, a document-testing analyst at Casio Inc. In some places, bits of candy substitute for trivial change. The practice of rounding away a country's smallest unit is "called Scandinavian rounding," Mr.

    Pennies from Hell

    Wood said. No Reason to Horde. With pennies now consisting of just 2. The resulting shortage of circulating pennies was so acute that some retailers offered to buy them in bulk for premiums of up to 5 percent. Zinc, worth roughly half as much as copper, is a poor candidate for profits from household stockpiling. Indeed, assuming continued legislative indifference, rounding off to the nickel may be the means by which the public works its will and rids itself of a coin good for almost nothing except to pay sales taxes. But the penny's extinction, and the convenience it would bring, are unlikely to come at no cost.

    Wolf, the restaurant consultant. Please upgrade your browser. See next articles. View page in TimesMachine. Slumping Output at Mint But now, reflecting lower demand despite the proliferation of sales taxes to which the penny's survival has been tied, production is on the wane. Some Customers Indignant Advertisement. Newsletter Sign Up Continue reading the main story Please verify you're not a robot by clicking the box.