Country Living Series

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cash only

We found a new place to purchase some of the stuff we need for our woodcraft business -- table saw blades, sanding belts, etc. -- at a store with a long history and an excellent reputation.

There's just one little glitch: every time we shop there, they want us to sign up for a store card. Not a store credit card, but a card that keeps track of purchases and offers benefits at the end of every year.

And I mean they're persistent, almost aggressive about it. I hand the clerk a check for the amount of purchase, and right away he or she begins yammering about all the advantages of opening a store card: a points system, cash back, etc.

I tell them no. They offer additional advantages. I tell them NO again. They list additional advantages. Finally I tell them I'M NOT INTERESTED IN A STORE CARD, after which they usually just complete my transaction and give me my receipt.


You see, I'm certain the only "advantage" this (and every other) store offers through their store cards is simply to track their customers' purchases. Tracking everything we do in this country is becoming so egregious and universal, that to refuse to participate is shocking.

And here's the clincher: I'm quite certain that, since we usually pay with a check at this store, they're perfectly capable of logging what purchases we make, if they're that interested. All of our identifying information is printed right there on the check, after all (plus I hand them my driver's license for identification). But why should I make it any easier for them by getting a store card? All we're doing is buying sanding belts and saw blades. We're simply trying to make a living.

So, because we like the prices and quality of the supplies we're getting at this particular retailer, Don and I started a new policy: from now on, it's cash only.

I'm sure you've all heard how the Department of Homeland Security now looks with suspicion at people who make cash purchases. Well tough patooties. Last I checked, my fiat currency bills still say, "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private."


Who else is having this problem?

45 comments:

  1. My response is often 'had one, hated it, cancelled it. Don't want another.' Usually shuts them up. For may of the places I shop, that's the truth.

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  2. I have been paying by cash for about 10 years now. I don't even have any checks and no credit cards. It is so much easier just paying by cash and getting a receipt. Get in the habit of always getting a receipt.
    Two envelopes: one is business and one is personal.
    This way, 3 years from now when the powers that be decided to ban "whatever", they won't know who has what sitting on a shelf in the garage or pantry.

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  3. We live in a small village. All the stores in the closest town, 55 miles away, always ask for zip code. I either refuse to give it or tell them to use the local zip code. If we are able to find ammunitionstuff we have used cash for the last several years.

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  4. On the MasterCard office campus only one form of payment is accepted, including vending machines.

    You don't have a debt, so no cash. No Visa. No Amex or Discover or Diner's Club (the first credit card btw).

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  5. Consider joining a store card swap group. Ours meets monthly and we exchange our discount cards for another member's card.

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  6. You still write checks in stores??

    Just Me

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  7. My partner had a hotel engage in an over-the-counter dispute with him about the cash he was offering to pay for his one-night stay. He finally won with the "legal tender for all debts" argument; and I agree. The pro-debt, pro-tracking bs is ridiculous. We're all supposed to believe in the value of this fake currency, and keep willingly handing it over to big business, so why, again, is cash becoming difficult to use? Makes no sense.

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  8. I have been using cash only for about twenty years now and have encountered these same pressures from sales clerks. If the clerk persists after the first "NO", I simply lean forward to deliver The second "NO" firmly and loudly. That has worked well for me.

    P.S. If you encounter a noticeably mindless clerk, you can have some fun with them by paying for a small purchase with a 2 dollar bill. Just stand back and watch the fun begin.

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  9. All local stores take cash and checks here.
    Have one card just for the big "super-duper-I-can't-beleive-THAT-broke-now" emergency.

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  10. Patrice,

    We pay cash for everything. Our son said to me one day, why not use your debit card to pay for that ammunition, my response......I don't want the government tracking my ammunition. He looked at me and shook his head. Yes, I'm serious............No need to track what I buy, where I buy, and how much I buy.

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  11. Just put false information on the form, they will track a fake person and never know the difference. I want the discount on items so I play their game.

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  12. The end result of the cards that nauseates me is that the owner of the information is free to use it in a way that more efficiently removes money from my wallet.
    For example, lets suppose that a store puts tomato sauce on sale for $2.99, and using the cards, they record that a significantly higher amount of 30-39 yr old females buy it at that sale price as opposed to the regular non-sale price. Perhaps next time they'll put it on sale for $3.29 and see who (specifically) bites. Its an instantaneous demographic calculator designed to maximize a corporation's profits while convincing the uninformed consumer that its a savings tool for them. Rather than setting a fair price, they set the upper limit of what a consumer will likely pay. Its devious!!! I ALWAYS opt out!!!!!!!!

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  13. I recently received personalized coupons from Fry's. I'm using my parents phone number from their shoppers card and paying with a debit card. Yet the coupons arrived at MY address with MY name on them. They are clearly tracking my purchases from the debit card I'm using. I am not happy to say the least.

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  14. I tend to just give erroneous information, just change a few of the numbers or the name of a street. I can't remember being asked for ID for the applications and many of the stores (I use mostly hardware store cards) give $5.00 off coupons. Also at many of the stores when they give away new calendars at the beginning of the year they have $ off coupons to. I just grab a few and save away for when I need them.

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  15. I am surprised that you are having so much trouble concerning store cards. I live in the northeast, and this area usually has a "pushy" reputation. Just for the record, there are many reserved conservative people out here. Have pity on us. The taxes are obscene. NYC, however, is much worse. I am asked, but tell them , "No thank you." That usually solves the problem. If it concerns the grocery store, I pay for an item that has the discount with card separately. They do not need to know my entire order. The cashiers are very gracious.

    For me, the most irritating thing is cashiers asking for my zip code. This has been making the rounds for a good number of years appearing in different stores. Once I had the cashier tell me that I couldn't purchase the goods without my zip code! Really??? The "manager" was "kind" and let me "go." Usually, when asked, I just tell them , "No Thank you," and that is the end of it.

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    Replies
    1. I use zip codes of towns around me, or tell them "Gosh! I just moved to (name of distant town) and I don't remember the zip! Do you know the zip of Bullsnort, Georgia?"

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  16. Have you also noticed that in the past year or so some chain type gas stations list 'cash' only fuel prices? Then if you're not 'in on it' ..i.e. either using 'their' credit card or cash you are charged a much higher price for using credit that shows up at the pump. We use mostly cash and live on a monthly budget. Mrs. Mac

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  17. We have the same problem. It's always no on our part too, and like you, we only use cash...when possible.

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  18. I had a hotel in Austin refuse to book me a room because I was paying in cash. I went to another hotel down the street and they took my cash. I told them about my experience from their competitor and I asked if it was because they thought I was a prostitute. They got a big laugh out of that. Needless to say I was very frustrated, but I ended up getting a better room.

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    Replies
    1. I had the same issue with paying cash for a hotel room. While traveling cross country I encountered a few hotels (some small, some large) that would not take cash even though they required my ID. They insisted on a credit card. One place said it was for "incidentals". Another said I could pay cash after they ran my credit card. It seems hotels and car rental places use the cards as insurance - so they can charge you if they find anything out of order afterwards.

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    2. i understand that federal requires anyone doing business in usa must accept the coin of the realm. a business refusing to accept u.s. $ is breaking the law.
      am i misinformed?
      deb harvey

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  19. S.S. now wants everyone to have a checking account or they have a U.S. Govt debt card. Talk about them tracking you. State of MN does the same for welfare/unemployment.

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  20. Albertson's grocery store went off it's card program unless you want the gas discount. Albetsons is now back in the family hands as Super Value sold it back to the family. I don't know if many folks shop at Albertson's but the prices are very competitive again. Check out the online ad flyers for sales and I think you might be surprised! I don't work for Albertsons but they have good quality and now the prices have come down a lot. I'm going to test out a 12 pack of double roll Tissue paper that is $3.98 with coupon. Check them out if you have a store local

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  21. We recently took a little trip and stopped at a Cabela's, when we paid cash for our purchase they asked for our phone number, I gave them a fake one.

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  22. Thank you for a very thought provoking post.

    All of this tracking of our purchases, and most everything else we do has me questioning exactly what it is that is being done with all of this information, and most of all what may be done with it in the future. Who knows who will ultimately have access to information collected from purchases, all types of electronic communications, and even traffic cameras. Things got even more interesting when someone made very public how much data was being collected and the powers that be got caught with their hand in the cookie jar (or ears to everyone's communications). Interesting, and scary, how much this data collection has snowballed in just a few years.

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  23. I pay for my "major" bills (car & car insurance, cable, utilities, cell phone) online thru online bill pay. I use cash for everything else and give fake zip codes and say "No Thank You" when asked for my phone number. I do not shop at major chain stores often, opting instead to shop at local stores...I will go out of my way to shop local. I have never had a problem but I am the kind of person who would walk away from a purchase if pushed by a cashier or manager and tell them I will be happy to take my business somewhere else.

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  24. I almost entirely use cash, except for online purchases, when I use my ATM card. I have reward card from several stores, and long ago got them using a fake name and information. I get asked or my phone number all the time, and refuse to give it. I go pretty irritated when Walgreen's refuse to give me sale prices without a reward card, so I stopped shopping there. I made a huge stink about it, just because it was entertaining. Nt I am funny like that!

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  25. My standard response when stores try to pressure me into one of their goofy credit cards? I tell them sure, if they're going to pay the bill for me. That tends to stop the line of questioning.

    I love frequenting the local mom and pop shops, so tend to pay them in cash (or check) so they don't have to incur the credit card fees. I figure every little bit helps. :)

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  26. Don't sign up for them because they're scams!

    Here in Australia our largest supermarket got in trouble for providing loyalty card customers fuel discounts if they spent X amount of money at the supermarket.

    The shocker is that the X amount was different for every customer and OVER the amount the customer would usually spend.

    The supermarket only knew this thanks to their tracking of the purchases every time the customer swiped their loyalty card at the checkout.

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  27. Our family uses the same fake name and fake number for these cards. Amazing how many ads show up at a somewhat similar address addressed to Fred.
    Other ideas, have a checking account without any address on it. Only a name. Works fine.

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  28. I've been known to give out old phone numbers and zip codes (randomly picking one) when asked....whoever has those phone numbers now probly hates my guts.

    I do have the shoppers club card for my regular grocery store though :/ the food discounts are usually worth it. But I use cash for pretty much any purchase done in person.

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  29. For the zip code thing, you can answer 00000 or 99999. I am a computer programmer and when testing I always test with data like that. DWLee3

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  30. Yeah, and gas stations too want you to put your pin number of your credit card when it is swiped for purchase. Forget it buddy. The alternate is your zip code and I once entered an old zip code and the purchase was refused.

    Take me back to the 50's when the windows were cleaned, the employee filled the tank and checked the tire pressure too while I paid cash for the $2.00 fill up.

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  31. Gas Stations too want the pin number of your debit card. Forget it buddy.

    Take me back to the 50's when an employee filled the tank, cleaned the windows and checked tire pressure as I paid $2.00 for the fill up.

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  32. If I get asked if I have a card, I paw through my wallet, find nothing, and then ask "Can I bring my receipt back next time to get my points?"

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  33. I JUST WANTED TO THANK YOU ALL FOR GIVING FALSE PHONE
    NUMBERS!!!!!
    DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CALLS I GET A DAY FROM PEOPLE GIVING FALSE NUMBERS. I ASK ONE LADY THAT CALLED ABOUT
    INSURANCE WHY EVERYONE IN THE USA WOULD HAVE THE SAME PHONE NUMBER.
    WHEN ASKED FOR MY NUMBER I JUST SAY NO! NO, WORKS FOR
    ALOT OF THINGS. TRY IT YOU MIGHT LIKE IT!!!!

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  34. The farm and home store employee tried to collect my name, address, phone #, etc. when I purchased baby chicks this spring. He said he had to get the info because of a new federal law (this had never happened before), but he didn't know what law (he was a teenager). I don't know what law he was trying to follow either, but he got false information and I paid cash for the chicks after letting the management know what I think of that practice.

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  35. I have worked in the insurance industry for 35 years - let me tell you how your information on the store card CAN be used. This is not theory this is fact and has been done. Market in CA had the store card records subpoenaed in a child custody case. Proved that the man who said he wasn't drinking any more was still buying vodka at the store. I can think of several ways the new "affordable care act" could use that same information. We do cash only, no loyalty cards, tell them our number is unlisted and act offended if they ask for more.

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  36. Do like I do for phone numbers - give them your area code, then 555-5555. No problem and no one else gets called on their phone since 555 is a fake phone number. Watch tv shows and movies that's what they use. For SSN numbers use 123-45-6789, SSA doesn't use that number!!! For zipcode I use the store's zipcode like someone else had said.

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  37. I just tell them I am on a "store card diet" and not getting any because my wallet is too full as it is. Then, they tell me I can just use my phone number. I say no again. And again. Don't blame the sales clerks too much, they get disciplined if they don't fill their quota for new cards. For the stores where you need a card to get sales prices, I have anonymous cards. Make sure to pay cash or else the anonymous card will be attached to your credit or debit and bingo, they are tracking you!

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    Replies
    1. We have to offer where I work. We have to make a quota every week or our store manager gets reprimanded from the big guys.

      Although, when someone says they aren't interested I just let it go. Usually they always want it, especially if they are going to be frequenting the store often.

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  38. I have a couple. Some come with real monetary benefits. The others always ask; after all, they're just the worker bee doing what they're told. I've never gotten any attitude or repeat attempts after I say no thanks. As for having my purchases tracked...I can't say I'm fond of the idea, on general principle, but for the most part I don't care. I may consider some less trackable approach for certain items or quantities, but even when I'd like to, it's often easier thought of than accomplished. I figure we've all got a file an inch thick, and so much of it was there before we had this awareness that trying to fly under the radar now is just kidding ourselves. (Heck, there's probably a page in there for coming here and chatting with Patrice. :)) No, I'd rather not make it easier for "them" but it's all a balancing act. We do what we can.

    Jeff - Tucson

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  39. I don't see the big deal about it, you end up getting further discounts regardless.

    If you don't pay with cash if anyone (with the power that is) really wanted to know who bought something you can easily look up the transaction number for the receipt. Thus, finding out who made the purchase with the use of the provided credit card number.

    College Student, working at Babies R'Us

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