05 October 2009

Pay Cash = Pay Less?

This whole idea bothers me. Some of these retailers need to put on their big-girl panties and deal with life as it is. Don't like the credit card companies skimping on you? Don't accept the credit card as a form of payment.

A good plenty of businesses will tell you "NO CHECKS" in nice bold print by the register. They've been burned a good plenty of times by unscrupulous customers and/or people who have no idea their account has been overdrawn somehow. At least with a credit card, it either goes through and is approved or it isn't. There is no grey area there. You don't have to chase after your customer for payment and listen to the "I had no idea the gas company got my check yesterday instead of next week and would cash it right away!" stories.

(Which might actually be true in this era of electronic check cashing. Another post, but that makes me nervous how a business can literally ruin you by resubmitting a check 48000 times. I get the idea that a check-bouncer should pay, but banks and financial institutions are not mistake-free, and sometimes, just sometimes, it's the little guy without the lawyer left with the bill. Ok, that's another post.)

With cash, you run into problems as well. In fact, I remember a day not too long ago when people were proposing giving lower prices to CREDIT CARD users because of the problems with counterfeiting cash, not to mention some of the crime a business might attract if it became known that large amounts of cash were lying around in the register.

The article argues that some customers give a greater profit margin to a business based on the payment form. Well, if we're going to treat customers differently because of the profit margin they provide a business, we'll have a host of unexpected consequences.

For example, when a morbidly obese lady comes in on her electric scooter, the local buffet will charge her $50 for her meal. Hey, our obese customers tend to eat more than our skinny ones. Why should the skinny people "subsidize" the chubby ones?

Obviously no buffet is going to do this, really. Bad public relations. Anyone who runs a buffet restaurant for any length of time would tell you that they've figured out what an "average" customer is going to eat and charged one price for everyone accordingly. They have a little padding on the bill for some people, and they may lose a little on other customers, but overall, they've figured out how to make a profit.

That's one of the reasons I don't buy a new car. I don't want to haggle with and negotiate with people (ahem, remember this story). Another reason is that I don't have about $40,000 jingling around in my pocket with nothing to do. No, "crinkling" around in my pocket.

In other news, I wonder what $40,000 would sound like in my pocket when I wander around town. Note to thieves: I will really just have $4 in my pocket and be pretending. :P


  1. As one who patronizes a certain gas station because I get more gas per buck when I use cash, I understand this. The fact is that it is a convenience fee charged to the credit card user, and that may be unfair since the credit card user is already paying the bank a convenience fee (interest), but hey, all the more incentive to pay cash.

    Our country is a heck of a pickle right now because the government AND individual citizens are too dependent on short term loaned money (i.e. credit).

  2. Well...

    I guess I look at credit cards entirely differently altogether. I use them to pay for everything and then just send the one check in the mail. This way I'm not wandering about with $350 in cash in the bad area of town where Sam's Club is. (Anyone wanting to rob me for my mega-toilet paper and six-pound bag of cheese can have 'em.)

    I pay when the statement arrives, and Discover GIVES ME MONEY. I mean, it's magic. I'm going to order something new for my oldest boy from L.L. Bean because I have $200 in "gift cards" from Discover.

    I suppose on paper I am "in debt" each month, but then, if I pay it each month I don't see the problem with it.

    Our problem comes from MISuse of credit, not USE of credit IMO. I think our government so totally does *not* get it. I wouldn't loan 'em a thin dime, either. :]

  3. I like cash, or if I must cheques because as a *visual* I can keep tabs on where my money's gone better. These bits of plastic aren't *real money* you know. I can trace my spending easily by going back through my chque book & cash I can only spend what I have ~ which is a good thing, yes?! Liddy now, she uses her card for absolutely everything, including getting her hands on cash! I hate when I have to use a card because I actually don't even own one. [Borrow Lid's; how sad's that?]

  4. I don't technically use credit or cash much. I love my debit card because I can only spend what I really have (versus credit), and I don't have to worry about losing the cash. However, it sounds like the credit (one bill) set-up works well for you. But I don't think most people are as smart or disciplined as you are in keeping up with it. And I know a few people who literally seem to think it's a bottomless reserve for them to get anything they want. You know what I mean?

    My local dollar store charges an additional 50 cents on any purchase under $5 that you pay with a debit/credit card. I suppose more stores will eventually do the same thing. I might just have to start carrying around cash again.

  5. I hate the gas stations that won't take credit cards. They are annoying and I avoid them when I can. Especailly since I usually don't have more than $20 cash in my wallet.

  6. Like MyKidsMom, I actually use my debit card most of all. It offers the convenience of plastic, without the temptation to send in the minimum if money is tight. Since the moey is withdrawn for our account right then, it's almost as good as cash.

    But being a real tightwad, I make a point of simply withdrawing the $60 bucks to fill up my gas guzzler. It is a bit of an inconvenience, but driving a Suburban means gas can be a big expense during busy seasons and I really don't mind driving by the ATM to save a bit.

    Mrs. C, I think it is so great that you pay off your balances at the end of every month. There are people that are responsible enough to do that. However, statistically speaking, most Americans are not. For most folks, credit cards are a way to get what they wouldn't be able to get any other way. Buy now, pay later. Plus interest. Since you, being a responsible credit card user, don't pay interest, my example was a poor one.

  7. I hate spending money. I love using my credit card. I pay every month because I never buy things I can't afford [smile]. It's just an electronic way of paying for stuff with a percent or two back now and again.

    And I never have cash on me.



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