So what’s the deal with the penny lately? True, it’s become largely irrelevant, and kind of a pain in the buttocks given retail pricing strategies. $3.99 will somehow snag a sale, but $4 might not. On hectic errand days, I end up with what feels like a pound of coins in my pocket. Then the world seems to come to a screeching, impatient halt around me if I bother to count the odd pennies out and spend them back into circulation. I can’t remember the last time I could actually buy anything for a penny. Maybe some Bazooka bubble gum back when smokes shot up from 29 to 35 cents a pack. I quit both after the Hillsdale Piggly Wiggly closed. But what’s this new deal where cashiers in Plaids, 7-Elevens and certain eateries don’t bother to return that penny with my change? It’s not all that new, actually. More like 2-3 years now, and probably 2-3 times a month. Is it Portland? A “hip” generational thing? Better weed? I ask for all of my change, and I get it. The overt response is something akin to “Oh yeah,” (sort of like “I forgot," but lacking any vestige of apology). There’s a deeper little vibe there, too, that feels like “You cheapskate bast*rd, it’s just a penny.” Now and then, someone will ask if I want my pennies, implying that I might not be up for the ordeal. The cash drawer is still open Sparky. Is counting coins that big of a chore these days? At least they asked... But what’s the deal with this post-2010 assumption that I won’t notice, or care, if they decide to blow it off? I’m not worried about moving my bedroll under the Hawthorne Bridge if I never get another penny back - ever. But the phenomenon makes me curious. I’ve asked more than a few friends and cohorts (of all ages) who notice this too. Like me, they want their pennies. So what’s the broader consensus around the NW?