AIM To understand the extent of coin usage by distinctive demographics in relation to their inflicted importance and perceived value of coins, and how the behavioral patterns of these individuals may justify the future existence of coins. ABSTRACT The value of coins has diminished in today’s society to the extent where the general public view coins as a burden signifying annoyance and inconvenience. A constructive way to refute against the trending pessimistic view of coins is to restore POCKET CHANGE the dignity of coins as a unified entity rather than as individual artifacts. Moreover coins need to be reintroduced as an essential Caroline Jones component in human interaction while deriving meaning fromJuan Manuel Perez Pelayo cultural conventions. Elinor Samuelsson Cassandra Walsh Our findings are based on methods of ethnographic field research focusing on the human interaction with coins and the perceived 3 May 2011 value of coins including the approaches of: 8am 66 West 12 Street - Collect and Give Coins Room 401 - Penny Bake Sale - Self Reflection on Coin Value - Survey about Money - Coin Arrangement - Coin Payment - Tip Jar We propose a solution that focuses on adding lost value to a seemingly neglected item whose existence is taken for granted. We propose the creation of a fashionable accessory that eliminates the bulk and encourages an alternative use of the otherwise ignored coin.
QUESTIONS MADISON SQUARE PARK1. Has the physicality of coins lost its importance to newer Starbucks generations? If so how can we increase the value? Shake Shack2. How much money is lost due to organizational problems caused by wallets? Can all of our change fit into the allotted space? Do people consider separate change purses too bothersome?3. Are coins still valued? Where is the future of coins going? Would people be more likely to carelessly spend a paper bill opposed to a metal one?4. Does the physicality of money affect our spending as opposed to using a debit or credit card?5. Do people value credit cards over cash, or vise versa? And why?6. Has the recent design changes in American currency affected our value of the dollar or how we spend it?7. Does age, gender, profession, or social status affect the way we handle money?SITEWe limited our research span to highly populated areas within Whole Foodsa close proximity of the New School due to convenience and WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK The New Valentinos Marketprior knowledge of the demographic of the neighborhood. Our Starbucks Pita Joe’sresearch mainly took place, but was not limited to, Madison Juan’s Apartment Murray’s BagelsSquare Park, Union Square and Washington Square Park. Non- 2 West 13 street New Schoolpublic areas included Whole foods, the New Valentino Market, The Food EmporiumPita Joe’s, Starbucks, Joe’s Coffee, Murray’s Bagels, the 2 West UNION SQUARE13 street New School location, and the Food Emporium. Someresearch was conducted in the city of Helsingborg in Sweden andin Juan’s apartment. Caf’e Grocery StoreOther tools that enabled some of our research included Small storeFacebook, Gmail, Wiggio and the Survey Monkey. HELSINGBORG, SWEDEN
DEMOGRAPHIC examine middle aged New Yorkers in highly congested “work”Madison Square Park: places. The idea behind studying these businessmen/womenResidents: 5:1 white to blue collar, wide distribution of educational was that they represent the epitome of practicality in dealing withlevels, married, median income of $48,000 – $50,667, median everyday situation. We wanted to observe people’s behavior withage 37.83, females 51.89%, males 48.04%, average people per coins and targeting this ethnography was key to determine thehousehold 2.36. future of our project. As our research progressed we decided to expand our research to a wider demographic and geographic.Non-Residents: Employees of Credit Suisse and New York LifeInsurance, Working class in suits 30 – 40 years of age, Shoppers Secondly, careful observance of out own ethnographic stagefrom Fifth Avenue, City Strollers, and Tourists. took place in our research to fully contrast our initial target group. We chose strategies mainly dealing with observation to becomeUnion Square: non-partisans in the process and truly absorb people’s reactionsResidents: 6:1 ratio white to blue collar, at least College Bachelors to coins. By bridging these two age gaps we had a non-biasdegree, never married, median income of $79,030 - $93,089, approach to our studies. In addition to modifying out target groupmedian age 39.40, females 48.21%, males 51.79%, average by age, we also did so with location. We performed studies inpeople per household 1.65. New York City as well as Helsingborg, Sweden. We wanted to diversify our understandings of what we found. And despiteNon-Residents: College students, Shoppers of the Farmers the fact that out focus study was to answer the question aboutMarket ranging from 25 – 35 years of age, and Tourist families. coins specifically to the United States, bringing in out research of Swedish observance was key to determine an antagonisticWashington Square Park: scenario for the project.Residents: 7:1 ratio white to blue collar, at least College BachelorsDegree, never married, median income of $78,178 - $88,383, Third, the human-centered design toolkit by IDEO aided our studymedian age 35.83, females 51.52%, males 48.48%, average by adding valuable insights to methods of conducting effectivepeople per household 1.70. observational field research. The most constructive tip from the IDEO toolkit was to observe the body language of individuals andNon-Residents: College Students, Skaters, Street performers, the surrounding context in terms of atmosphere and environment.small formations of groups of 20 – 30 years of age, and Our observational research allowed for the most effective non-Picnickers. biased results as no or little interference on our part was possible. This allowed for more accurate results since the subjects wereMETHODOLOGY permitted to act without external influence.The ethnographic strategies conducted in our research werespecific and narrow at first. Initially, we decided to carefully
RESEARCH Roughly 2 out of 10 rejected the coins.Collect and Give Coins Coins with a specified value of 1-, 5-, 10- and 25 centsCollect Coins We found that the quarter and the penny were the most popularCollect coins from people on a random basis on the street. We coins, whereas the 5-cent coin was by far the least popularwill actively ask people to put their loose change into our penny followed by the dime.jar. This is to see how many people will willingly give up their 0 out of 10 rejected the quarter.coins. 1 out of 10 rejected the penny. 3 out of 10 rejected the dime.- Are coins still valued? 5 out of 10 rejected the 5-cent coin.- What type of person is more likely to give up their coins? Lucky Penny4 out of 10 people put their coins in our penny jar. We found that people responded with joy to the lucky penny.We conducted the experiment for 45 minutes and collected a Many said that they definitely needed some luck today; sometotal of 156 pennies, 86 5-cent coins, 73 dimes and 12 quarters. expressed deep gratitude and others gave us a big smile and said that they would keep the lucky penny in a safe spot.Give Coins 0 out of 10 rejected the lucky penny.Hand out coins to people on a random basis on the street. Wewant to see how many people who will accept coins and if the Unlucky Pennypercentage of people accepting coins could be increased or We found that people were at first accepting towards the penny,decreased by adding arbitrary value to the coins. For instance, but when they understood that it was unlucky most peoplesome people will be told that the pennies are lucky; others will be rejected it.told that the pennies are unlucky. We gave away the coins that 7 out of 10 rejected the unlucky penny.we had collected earlier: 156 pennies, 86 5-cent coins, 73 dimesand 12 quarters. Penny Bake sale Bake cookies and sell them on the ground level of the 2 west 13- Will adding an arbitrary value or characteristic to the coin street New School location. The cookies cost 50 and 25 cents, increase or decrease its perceived value? however they have to be paid for in pennies.- Why would someone accept a coin? - Will people bother to collect pennies to purchase aCoins with no specified value cookie?We found that people responded to the gesture of giving rather - Would people bother to collect pennies if the item ofthan the value of the coin itself. purchase was more desirable?
2. Are you a student?We found that most of the reactions were negative, since the yes 40%majority of people did not have 50- or 25 cent in pennies. no 60%1 out of 18 was able to buy a cookie on the first attempt.1 out of 10 went to get change. 3. How do you obtain your cash? Check what applies.7 out of 10 were complaining about our method of payment. Pick it up off of the street 65%3 out of 10 thought the method of payment was humorous. Withdrawal from a bank 87% Cashback from a store 36%Self Reflection on Coin Usage A secret stash 10%Juan cleaned out his apartment and counted the value of thecoins he will find in addition to locations of where he will find 4. Which method of payment do you prefer?them. Credit 30% Debit 55%Juan found 32.73 dollars in coins: 283 pennies, 105 5-cent Cash 15%coins, 79 dimes and 67 quarters. The coins were mainly locatedby the apartment door, below the pillows of the sofa and under 5. How often do you pay with coins?his bed. Apartment door: 78 pennies, 45 5-cent coins, 9 dimes, Daily 16%27 quarters. Below the pillow of the sofa: 96 pennies, 15 5-cent Weekly 44%coins, 34 dimes, 17 quarters. Monthly 20%Under the bed: 69 pennies, 28 5-cent coins, 0 dimes, 13 Rarely 15%quarters. Other: 46 pennies, 27 5-cent coins, 36 dimes, 10 Never 5%quarters. 6. What do you do with your change?Survey about Money Keep it 80%Ask people to do a survey about money. We will address issues Donate it 33%such as the value of coins and daily spending patterns. Use for tips 39% Pay with even change to 44%1. How old are you? receive only dollars backUnder 18 3%18-21 25% 7. You see a coin on the ground, you...22-25 25% Pick it up- money is money 54%29+ 35% Ignore it- its an insignificant amount 36% Leave it on the ground- its dirty 10%
2 out of the 7 that noticed the arrangement took a photo.8. Do you find coins or cash to be too bulky? 0 out of the 7 that noticed the arrangement picked up the coins.No 12%Slightly 20% Random Distribution of CoinsThey’re annoying, but I deal with it 42.5% We found that more people picked up coins randomly distributed,They’re best to avoid 23% however less people noticed the coins.I dislike coins and will not carry them 2.5% 3 out of 10 people noticed the coins. 1 out of 3 that noticed the coins picked them up after some initial9. Do you ever notice the design of money? hesitation.yes 85%no 15% Coin Payment Purchase a meal at a café, convenience store or grocery shop in10. Would you be in favor of eliminating coins from U.S. currency? coins to measure the reaction of the cashier or customers in line.yes 35% We ordered or bought meals of a value of 3 – 10 dollars.no 65% - How does the factor of time play a role in the customerCoin Arrangement comfort of paying with coins?Place or glue coins to the ground to see how many people that - What are the reactions of surrounding people whenwill pick them up opposed to how many people that will walk by. someone pays with coins?Moreover, arrange the coins in a pattern versus placing the coinsrandomly on the ground. We found that there were many mixed feelings about paying in coins.- What are the age range and gender of the people that Whole foods: the cashiers did not mind. pick up the money? 1 out of 3 thought it was humorous.- Would arranging the coins in a pattern affect the amount 3 out of 3 counted every single coin. of people who pick it up? Smaller convenience stores: the cashiers did not mind as longArrange Coins in a Pattern as there was no or a very short line behind us. When they wereWe found that less people picked up coins arranged in a pattern under a time pressure, 3 out of 5 accepted the coins withoutin comparison to people picking up coins randomly distributed. counting them. The only place that counted the coins in eachMoreover, more people noticed the coins when arranged. Some instance no matter the total cost was the New Valentinos Market.even took photos of the arrangement. The cashier was more likely to count the coins for the smaller7 out of 10 people noticed the arrangement. valued purchases of $5 or below.
higher valued coins such as the quarters and the dimes.Restaurants: the employees at restaurants were the mostannoyed, however never directly to our face. They tended to Sweden: No concept of tipping, so no tip jar in the first place.mock us behind our back.Smaller cafés: did not mind accepting payments in coins, but theyrarely counted the coins either.1 out of 5 counted the coins to the penny.Food Emporium: the cashiers were the most annoyed ofeveryone. They blamed us as customers for not paying in acorrect method and apologized to the waiting customers for thedelay caused by us.5 out of 5 cashiers were annoyed.5 out of 5 counted the coins to the last penny.Sweden: Most places have automatic coin counting machines bythe cashier; hence this was not an issue.Small store: owner refused to accept payment in coins.Tip JarWhile at a coffee shop or another similar store, watch the peoplewho go through the line and see how many people simply placeall their change in the tip jar as opposed to who keeps thechange.- Would a customer notice if the change were given in dollar coins as opposed to dollar bills?We found that the majority of people kept the change especially ifit exceeded a certain number of coins.3 out of 10 people put their change in the tip jar.1 out of the 3 people who put their coins in the tip jar took out the
TRENDS AND PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR the coin handed to them. From this we can conclude that (3) theOur research showed that more people chose not to pick up value of the coin partly lies in the human interaction that it evokes.coins compared to people who decided to pick them up. We A coin on the street has little or no value to it, because of itsnoticed slight differences in the coin pick up percentage where apparent lack of human interaction. We saw this in the examplethe value of the coin or the cultural attached meaning were with the Randomly Distributed Coins and the eagerness of peopleinfluential factors impacting people in the decision process of to pick up the coins, especially if the coins were in high numbers.whether or not to pick up the coin. For instance the percentage When the coins were arranged in a specific pattern, people wereof people picking up quarters and pennies were higher than the the most reluctant to picking up the coins. We believe that thispercentage of people picking up dimes and 5-cent coins. We is because of the apparent human interaction with the coins;believe that this pattern of behavior manifests itself in the superior another human being who had devoted their time and energyusability of quarters due to their higher monetary value and in to arrange the coins into something meaningful had tended forthe cultural inflicted meaning of luck to pennies. Hence we can the arranged coins. This is significantly different to the randomlyconclude that (1) a high monetary value and cultural inflicted distributed coins that appeared to be dropped or forgotten on themeaning increases the overall perceived value of the coin. street. Another example that further supports this notion can be seen in the Tip Jar research. We found that more people choseThis was also true for the people deciding to keep the change not to give up their change as tip in comparison to people whoas opposed to giving it away as tips. If the perceived value of the gave their change as tip. We believe that this is because of thechange, taking the form of the number of coins, was high then actual exchange of coins between two parties of a receiver andpeople tended to keep the change instead of giving it up for tips. a giver. The act of giving an artifact to someone automaticallyThis contradicts the notion that coins are meaningless. Hence we implies that the artifact has value, thus worth keeping.would like to propose another conclusion namely that (2) coinsbecome meaningful as an entity, but not as individual means of Although our research showed that coins are neglected, wethemselves. Another example that further supports this notion can found that the coins are not arbitrary and meaningless. In generalbe seen in the Coin Arrangement research. We found that people more people rejected coins compared to people accepting them,had a higher tendency to pick up the coins if they were randomly however we believe that the percentage of acceptance was highdistributed in high numbers as opposed to arranged in a pattern enough to signify that the coin cannot be abolished. We concludeor randomly distributed in low numbers. This further supports that coins have diminished in perceived value, but still embodythat coins have higher perceived value as an entity rather than as enough cultural appreciation and purpose to remain in existence.individual means. PROBLEMHowever, the percentage of people accepting coins when given It would be difficult if not impossible to formulate a solution thatto them by a human being rather than picking them up from the will change the physicality of money. Coins have inherent meaningground was noticeable higher compared to people who rejected attached to them in the form of patriotic pride, observability due
to their tangibility and durability in terms of material. Moreover, as individual means of themselves, (3) the value of the coin partly liesthe physical form of money has been in existence for an extensive in the human interaction that it evokes.period of time, a system that is equally effective would not sufficenor provoke a shift in behavior concerning value transactions Based on our findings we propose a solution that wouldbetween two parties. Only a new currency system with an encompass all of our three criterions for maintaining or increasingextensive apparent superiority would compete and eventually the perceived value of coins. We want to create a fashionableeliminate our current physical monetary system. Also, the issue accessory that will convert loose change into jewelry. We proposeof surpassing Government laws and regulations emerges and the a belt that will heat up the metal of the coins, which in returnGovernment inflicted belief on its citizens of wealth, prosperity and would cause the coins to melt into jewelry. By creating jewelry, aeconomic growth is more easily understood in a system with high precious artifact often associated with personal attachment, weobservability. hope to bring a deeper significance to the new form that the metal from the coins will take. First, jewelry has by definition a highWe found that an argument for the future existence of coins is that monetary value, and we would argue a deep cultural meaningof patriotism. Coins reflect the history of the nation, thus unifying associated with it. Second, the coins would literally be fused intothe people of the United States under cultural symbols and an entity in the process of melting the metal of the coins intoconventions. Moreover, coins allow for local differences to show jewelry. Third, the creation of jewelry is an art form that allowswhere each state has a distinct set of images printed on one for observable human interaction. Moreover, jewelry is a fashionside of the coin. In addition to honoring the American history the statement that further reflects on the individual human beingdurability of the material of coins send a message of immortality, wearing the art piece.as the coins appear to be everlasting.SOLUTIONPerhaps the coins will remain neglected, especially the 5 centcoins, but rather than changing the physicality of money involvedin value transactions we decided to add value to the existingshape. We want to influence the general attitude towards theperceived value of excess coins, and thus decided create a newproduct that would morph from the relatively worthless form of theundesired coin to a more precious and desirable item.We found from our research that (1) a high monetary value andcultural inflicted meaning increases the overall perceived valueof the coin, (2) coins become meaningful as an entity, but not as
USABILITY original state. In developing this invention, the problem of defacingThe design will be composed of a belt with the actual device that money came to surface and in an attempt to not dismiss thewould hold the coins. The box itself would have different layers patriotic connotation that a coin carries; the transformed jewelryin it: the topmost would be the coin collecting layer where coins carries this patriotic embrace as well.would be magnetized or either inserted through a slot located atthe top of the box. In this layer, the coins would rest over a slotted With these background core values in mind, this inventiongrate that would source body heat, which would eventually melt attempts to critique the current ways of dealing with coins: thethe coins with the turn of a switch located on the side of the box. way coins seem useless and are a burden, the way coins areFrom here, the melted material from the coins would fall onto wasted and the way that coins are forgotten. Jewelry, especiallystring or heat resistant metal chains that would be dispensed from when it has been obtained without any effort, hardly ever carriestwo holes at the bottom of the box. The converted coins would any of the characteristics formerly described. It is then why thebe on string in the shape of beads, which would then be worn as transformability of coins and putting them in a different contextjewelry! The box would be powered mechanically by electricity would create intrigue, critique or change of the way we interactand the belt could be charged itself by plugging into an electrical with coins. Whatever the outcome may be, the duty of thissocket. Both ends of the belt would be snapped together for invention is to cause reflection on this culture’s practices andclosure around the user’s waist. To indicate the levels of electricity cherished values with money.and heat, the belt would have lighted bars on the side of the boxthat would increase or decrease depending on how charged orheated it would be.CONCLUSIONThe intricacy of the problem to address requires much structureand rebuilding of the monetary system. It is quite impossibleto attempt to change the infrastructure of the Secretary ofTreasury without knowing the parameters or the current waysof operation. It is then that the chosen approach was criticaldesign. By creating a purportedly useless and unrealisticinvention, a commentary about the use and future of coins israised with scrutiny: a belt that simply transforms coins that havelain in hidden places. Tossed or wasted, transgress the valueof coins into jewelry. The whole concept of value is brought up.This invention comments on the added value to a coin once itbecomes jewelry, and once it becomes anything other than its