Putting a new UI on a bad product

Today while I was eating lunch, I caught a segment on CNBC about the government trying for a third time to popularize the dollar coin.  The dollar coin has failed twice in the past and they are now trying it for a third time in hopes that this time it will finally catch on.  They have changed the design of the coin again, but other than that they are doing nothing new.  Because of this, the dollar coin will fail for a third time.  Collectors will scoop these coins up, but you won’t see people carrying them around and actually spending them.  Dollar bills work perfectly fine.  I don’t need dollar coins and neither do you.

Putting a new user-interface on a bad product isn’t enough to make it succeed.  People who have a perfectly functional product (dollar bills) aren’t going to change their habits and adopt a new product (dollar coins) unless there is a damned good reason to do so.  Sure it will save the government millions of dollars since coined money lasts longer than paper money.  But we Americans don’t care about that.

The government is only thinking about what this product will do for them.  They are not thinking about their customer.  What will this coin do for me??!!

The government needs to create a need for the dollar coin.  A fellow on the CNBC report today suggested that they eliminate the dollar bill, so that there becomes a need for the dollar coin.  That would be a good start, but I already have a ton of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.  I don’t want to further clutter my truck’s center console with a fifth type of coin.

After this coin fails again, and several years pass, and millions of tax dollars are wasted on trying to figure out what happened, I hope somebody in Washington starts thinking like a business and takes a look at what their customers want.  If they do this, they will discover… we hate pennies.

So how about when attempt number four comes around, they shift coins up in value, rather than just adding a new type of coin?

– Reduce the production of penny coins
– Encouraging industry to adopt 5-cent rounding in payment processing systems
– Encourage states to use 5-cent rounding for sales tax

Now I have room in my pocket for a new type of coin, so they can replace dollar bills with dollar coins.  And eventually discontinue all production of pennies and dollar bills.

But since it is the government we’re talking about here, and this won’t actually happen for many years… how about saving us all some trouble and skip 5-cent rounding and go straight to 10-cent rounding?  I don’t think I’d miss nickels all that much either.

2 thoughts on “Putting a new UI on a bad product

  1. Sebastian

    I can tell you that what you described is exactly what Australia did more than 10 years ago; 1c and 2c coins were dropped, with all prices rounded to 5c. Additionally, $1 and $2 coins were introduced, both of which were successful the first time round, and are still being used

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