We don’t accept cash
That little cell phone everyone can't seem to take their eyes off of has practically erased human interaction, but it has also replaced many other things and appears on its way to replacing cash.
But we needn't place all the blame on cell phones – enter credit and debit cards that are fast becoming replacements for cash.
When I purchased my latest truck, I was astonished to learn it did not come with a CD player. When I inquired about this with the salesman, he informed me that CDs were becoming obsolete. The thing now is for stereos to have USB ports or a place to plug in your cell phone to play music from your cell phone. I can only assume that my large collection of CDs will go the way of my large collection of cassettes.
When you think about it, cell phones have replaced tape recorders, video cameras, point and shoot cameras, wristwatches, maps, alarm clocks, flashlights, GPS, calculators and compasses to name a few.
By now, I'm sure you all have seen those commercials where the guy goes to pay for something he bought and turns his wrist around so the scanner can scan that little device he is wearing around his wrist, or the commercials where another person places their cell phone over the scanner to pay for something.
A New York Times columnist wrote recently about a place in Midtown Manhattan called the Dig Inn, a recently opened restaurant, that does not take cash, no cash at all. This surprised a woman who had ordered a meal and when she went to pay for the meal, the cashier told her they didn't take cash, not even the $50 bill she held out to pay.
Recently, I noticed one of the big stores replacing some of of its registers with self-checking registers. To me that does not bode well for cashiers employed at that store. What it tells me is that cashiers are being phased out and being replaced by us, the consumer, who is now charged with checking out our own items and primarily paying with a credit card.
The credit card was once considered an emergency form of payment for big items, but more and more it is becoming easier to just scan the credit card in and move on. One of the arguments for a cashless society is that you don't have to wait in line while the person in front of you whips out the checkbook at the last possible moment.
You know, of course, the credit card companies are going to love a cashless society. Just think of the commission they get on every credit card purchase.
To go cashless raises a question about paper money that says it is legal tender for all debts public and private. The Federal Reserve said there is no federal law that forces a business to accept paper money or coins as payment for “goods or services.” So, potentially, we could still pay the doctor with a chicken if he would accept that as payment.
Perhaps there is an upside to a cashless society – the card reader might crash, or the Wi-Fi quit, and since the business does not take cash, you might get your purchase for free.
A cashless society might understandably do away with having to carry a wallet or purse, another lost victim of the cell phone or credit card. All you would have to carry is a credit, or debit card and your driver's license, unless they figure out some way to digitize your license.
A survey by Citibank asked what method of payment is used for smaller purchases. About 40 percent of millennials preferred to use debit cards and only a quarter of folks over 60 said they used debit cards.
Of course a large percentage of you bought your Christmas presents online without ever leaving your couch, as opposed to me, who prefers to mingle with the masses and the pushing, and shoving, and cursing, and clogged traffic.
A cashless society seems to be the trend of the future, but count me among those who prefer we go back to the barter system.