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Suzie B's - by J C W

647, 01 Jan 1999

ISSUE 23 - Winter 1999

The SUZY "B"
By J. Claud Wallace

In 1976 we, the Army, were flying five C5A loads of coin and currency into Europe each year. The Army was the agent for the Treasury to furnish coin and currency to all agencies including the PX and U.S. embassies. It cost in excess of $100,000 for a single flight and about 49% of the load was in pennies. In addition we had to retrograde mutilated currency. Studies showed that one dollar bills were wearing out in about 13 months.

The Suzy "B": When the U.S. Mint introduced the small Susan B. Anthony dollars in 1978 we started developing a project to replace the paper dollar with the new dollar coins, i.e., the "Suzy B's". The Suzy B would not become mutilated so we could avoid much of the retrograde cost and since we would not need to bring in paper dollars we could save even more.

This project had some interesting aspects to it, like the problem of too much weight in pockets and purses….where to put the new money in the cash drawers. And we had to retrain cashiers in making the proper change. Our solution was to replace the paper dollar with the Suzy B coin and the paper $2 bill. This way it would not be necessary to give more than one Suzy B in change to a customer.

We developed the procedures and implemented the plan. No more one-dollar bills were flown in, the dollar coins and the $2 bills were brought in and we were ready to reap the savings from our efforts.

Suddenly, the Stars and Stripes News began to carry complaint letters of all kinds, most of the complaints could be categorized as against any kind of change. Some, like the guy who got four dollar coins in change, were legitimate and we targeted cashiers who needed some training. In a short time Senator Proxmyer let the Treasury know that we had to go back to using one dollar bills again, which we dutifully did. Of course, all the hard savings we were making flew out the window.

After I returned to the States I wrote a letter to Senator Proxmyer and explained the reason for the change and challenged the complaints as largely unfounded. His answer was to the effect that "They should have consulted me before making such a change." Needless to say, this answer did not address any real points in the case, but his decision to revert to the old way was final.

I find it very interesting that the Treasury has minted the 1999 Susan B. Anthony dollar coin because they had run out of them in the system. Apparently, someone found a way around the objections to the coin. We were just 20 years too early with our good money saving idea.

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