‘Worthless’ pocket change


I am deeply disturbed over a trend seen recently where some of my pocket change is worthless.

Some local Chinese and Japanese owned businesses are refusing to accept payment using valid United States coins and currency; specifically two dollar bills, large Eisenhower one-dollar coins, Kennedy half-dollar coins, and golden/silver colored Presidential one-dollar coins.

The reasons given are that these foreign businesses are “unfamiliar” with ALL of the coins and currency of the United States and/or there is not a designated “hole” in the cash drawer for their size. Too bad! Their continued refusal to accept our nation’s coins and currency is an insult to the United States and their citizens!

The above listed currency and coins are legal tender—good for all debts—public or private and should be easily available/redeemable at local banks. So, these are not “secret” currency/coins or “fakes.” If foreign-owned businesses are going to come to America, take advantage of our economic freedoms, and operate on Saipan; they should go to “currency/coin school” before coming here—so they do not embarrass themselves.

I call on the CNMI Department of Commerce to ensure that foreign owned businesses are fully aware of their obligation and responsibility to accept all valid U.S. legal tender—without selected refusal or exception. If foreign owned businesses continue to fail in not accepting all U.S. currency; fines of $1,000 per occurrence should be levied by our government.

The United States has a long history of producing beautiful currency and coins. After D-Day plus 5 in WWII the government of the U.S., at great expense, imported over $2 million of silver coins into Saipan and made exchanges with local residents for Japanese yen as an effort to build-up the local Saipan economy. As Americans, we should be proud of our country’s long history of high quality and available currency/coins. Failure to accept all valid U.S. currency and coins out of simple ignorance or inconvenience should no longer be tolerated.

I call on all CNMI citizens to actively refuse to pay for any debts or bills, if your legal U.S. currency/coins is not accepted at the point of sale by any business; whether foreign owned or not.

Steven R. Connor
Founder of Mariana Stamp and Coin Club

Contributing Author

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