By John Matonich
I am continually amazed by folks I come across and their aversion to carrying cash. I really don’t know what it is, but they ought to be thankful that someone invented plastic or those stone tablets would be tough to cart around. It does make me wonder if they know something I don’t, such as the government has secretly embedded some mind altering chemical in our $5 bills. I guess that would explain my actions at times.
Some might say it’s a generational difference, but I don’t agree. I see seniors in the same boat quite regularly. My grandson and I were going out to have breakfast a Saturday or two ago and we headed into a small town about 20 minutes from the house, which has a mom and pop place that serves some very good breakfast fare. One other piece of info about this place is that it doesn’t accept credit or debit cards. In fact they have a big sign at the front door letting everyone know that is the case.
When we pulled in to park, two other vehicles were unloading to go in and enjoy a good breakfast. Each vehicle had a few seniors in it and both parties headed to the door only to stop and read the sign. I saw heads shaking as each party turned around and got back in their vehicles and headed down the road. I suspect they were thinking it would only be a few miles to the 21st Century, but I knew it was going to be a while before they came to the next town and still no guarantee that plastic was welcome. Many of the businesses in this area have chosen not to deal with the fees and hassle of plastic and only take cash. Some have actually installed (or had someone install) an ATM at their business so instead of eating into their profits, they are adding to them.
My son and daughter aren’t a lot different. They were coming up to spend a few days with me over the holidays a number of years ago and I had to remind them twice to have the $4 toll in cash to get across the Big Mac bridge. I believe I read recently that the bridge authority is actually now taking plastic. I guess they were tired of turning people around to go back and find an ATM somewhere.
When I opened my wood shop a little over a year ago, I felt I needed to be able to accommodate all types of customers, so I spent about $150 for a machine that would read plastic both with chips and strips. The machine is still sitting in the drawer and has never been used. It seems most of the local folks seem to have some cash on them or like to write a check. Actually I shouldn’t have been surprised as I guess most of the locals have had breakfast at a place that doesn’t take plastic and don’t think carrying currency will cause brain damage.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.
Dollar bill image credit: Chris Potter