OK, so this week we have another “buzzphrase” rather than “buzzword.” This was a new one on me. According to Investopedia, Chasing Nickles Around Dollar Bills is a slang phrase describing what a company’s management does when it decides to trim small, trivial costs instead of cutting larger, more serious costs. All too often, managers will cut the difficult costs as a last resort, when in fact the company would be much better off if the larger costs had been dealt with earlier.
For example, if management starts charging employees for coffee in the morning when the real solution to budgetary problems might be layoffs or discontinuing a certain line of business, then you know someone’s chasing nickels around dollar bills!
In my own experience, I’ve seen this phenomenon typically start with locking the office supply closet, or switching to Bic ballpoint pens as the only pen option.