I can’t remember many times when a Canadian dollar exchanged for more than a US dollar. It was a matter of US national pride that “a Canadian dollar is, well, not as good as ours”.
It is something you like to look at – the Canadians know how to put out a pretty bill! – but you never accept one in exchange for goods or services because “their” dollar historically was somewhere between 80+ cents and 90+ cents, but never 100 US cents. Besides, our banks won’t mess with them. Get one in change, you roll up your penny loss, your quarter screwing, whatever: “Don’t get mad, get even” is an expression started by an American who got a Canadian coin in change.
“To get that Canadian coin in change”: Ugh! It brings out the worst behaviors in all people who come in contact with it. Canadian coins are suspiciously similar in size and heft, though visually they look very different from US coins. That’s why people hide them under and in US coins handed to clerks, friends owed money, or banks, hoping they’ll slip past unnoticed.
They rarely do:
“I’m sorry. We can’t accept Canadian money.”
“Well, you gave me the &#^%$%# thing the last time I was here!!!”
“Sorry, sir. It is against store policy to accept Canadian money.”
“I’ll never again buy another $&^%*#&$ thing in this rip-off joint.”
“Sir! Sir! Please lower your voice and watch your tongue! There are children here!”
“Maybe they’ll take this *$&#^% Canadian quarter, then!” [Mad customer tosses Canadian coin into the store with one last burst of profanity before the police answer the 911 call from the store…]
Long before the Royal Canadian Mint quit making Canadian pennies, most of their production migrated south to the States anyway. I’m sure most Canadians don’t know a Canadian penny when they see one, so many of them ended up in US pockets, dresser drawers, “lost” on parking lots, and stuffed in kid’s piggy banks to become a valuable life lesson about hurt, deception, and perfidy.
My personal worst case was a $10 roll of quarters (25 cent pieces) I got at my bank one time. Not only had someone slipped a US nickel (5 cent piece) into the roll, they also packed a Canadian quarter into the same roll! So, instead of $10 worth of quarters, I got $9.55 in US coinage, and one Canadian quarter. I just suffered the loss: “How do we know you didn’t put the nickel and the Canadian quarter in that roll?”
In the past five years, the Canadian dollar’s seen some good times compared with its American cousin. I’m just surprised the US dollar is as high as it is, considering the all-out efforts of the US Congress to turn this country into a banana republic with currency at least as convertible as Confederate States of America dollars. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s a cheap shot and that these matters are more complex than good governance = strong dollars.
All said, though, I still hate it when someone slips me a Canadian penny or a quarter bearing QEII’s profile. Grrr! Of course, if someone wants to slip me one of those new polymer CAN$100s, I’ll overlook their bad manners.
Now that I think about it, those plucky Canadians introduced dinosaur quarters that glow in the dark, too! Heck, I’d accept one of those in change any day!