Country Living Series

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cash vs. cashless

Here's an interesting article I just saw entitled Why More American Families are Going Cashless.

The article introduced the Suttons and their three children. The parents "use a mobile app or go online to transfer money into each child's account" for allowance money. According to mom Julia Sutton, "We don't deal with a lot of cash. Even their lunches are now automated through credit cards, so they're very used to this and not used to cash."

"Allowance Manager founder Dan Meader said using plastic and tracking spending not only saves families money, it helps children learn how to make transactions in an increasingly cashless society."

Tracking spending. This is the precise reason why the Lewis family has gone nearly entirely to cash.


In the last year or two, Don and I have started conducting every possible in-person transaction with cash. We used to write checks for almost everything, but now we simply go to our bank, withdraw whatever amount of money we feel we need, and go about our errands peeling cash from our wallets. We never bounce anything, we never overspend, it keeps us on a budget, and no one can track our purchases.

It's not that our purchases are secretive. Far from it. We buy ordinary stuff -- groceries, livestock feed, supplies for our woodcraft business -- but we don't like the idea of having a little cyber-trail following us all around town, monitoring what we buy. We're kinda funny that way.

I suppose the "head clunk" moment for cash-only transactions came last year when we attempted to purchase some supplies for our woodcraft business at a large, well-known chain store. Every time we purchase something there, the clerks are persistent to the point of aggressive in trying to get us to sign up for a store card.

Nope. Won't do it. As far as I can see, store cards serve only one purpose: tracking. As I wrote earlier, "Tracking everything we do in this country is becoming so egregious and universal, that to refuse to participate is shocking."

So we started doing all possible in-person transactions in cash, and are much happier for it. We pay our bills with checks, and of course online purchases can be tracked since we have no option; but everything else is cash. We save receipts for anything that's considered a business expense.

Besides, using plastic is risky. Every time a non-cash transaction takes place, there's a possibility of data theft. This happened to Target on an enormous scale last December. Ironically I had been at Target the day before this story broke, where I purchased something in cash. It was nice to know I had nothing to worry about from this particular breach of security.

In fact, a recent follow-up story came out about Target customers suffering from identity theft in the wake of the security breach. Analysts say one in three Americans affected by a data breach ultimately became the victim of fraud last year, up from one in nine in 2010.

The article states, "In the past year, Target and other major retailers have said they're increasing security. President Obama has urged banks and stores to speed up adoption of 'chip-and-pin' payment cards, which are harder to hack. But reports of data breaches continue. And as Federal Trade Commission member Terrell McSweeney said recently, 'Disturbingly, the news has seemed to desensitize many people to the real risks created each time an event occurs.'"

So how's this for a concept: USE CASH INSTEAD OF PLASTIC.

I suppose I risk being robbed of my cash while I'm on my "city day" excursions, but (a) I'm not carrying that much cash at any one time, and (b) if someone steals my purse, I have a lot more to worry about than simply the cash, because it means my driver's license, concealed carry permits, and yes my single credit card have all been taken. Losing my cash will be the least of my concerns.

I suppose it's a natural thing for people to embrace the latest whiz-bang way of doing things, including going cashless. Certainly I think it's true when the article pointed out that children are growing up in an increasing cashless society. But being the stubborn old fart that I am, I don't see the need to join the parade of sheeple.

Along these lines, a funny thing happened back in 2012 when I was on my annual sales trip to Portland. Our woodcraft business has a merchant services account (in other words, we can accept credit cards), and I've noticed credit or debit cards are the preferred method of purchase for most customers. So I always bring my manual "chunk chunk" knucklebuster credit card machine with me, and run all cards on it.

The reason we have a manual machine is because I don't have a smart phone or any other means of running cards electronically (nor do we need any -- we only sell retail once a year). Besides, a manual machine works without electricity or phone service, though we do risk having a customer's credit card "bounce."

One day I was transacting a man's credit card, and when I turned to have him sign the receipt, I saw him staring at the machine. "What's that?" he asked.

"It's a credit card machine."

"I've never seen anything like it!"

Okay, I felt old. But -- and I'm not kidding, this actually happened -- not thirty minutes later I was processing yet another man's credit card when I turned around and saw him also staring at the machine. "What's that?"

"It's a credit card machine."

"Wow, I don't think I've ever seen anything like it! Can I take a picture?"

I couldn't help it. I replied, "Only if I can take a picture of you taking a picture."


Notice the fellow's age -- a firm Generation Y kinda guy. So yes, ways of doing business do change, and perhaps some day cash will fade from use.

But not as long as I have anything to say about it.

UPDATE: Reader Holly emailed this little anecdote, which I asked permission to post:

I recently purchased a t shirt at kohl and handed the lady cash. She looked at me like I handed her a pile of dog poop. She wanted my email address, I replied I don’t have a computer. That look was even better. Then she was appalled that I did not want to open a credit card and save an additional 10%. I figured security was coming to get me next as I refused that offer. The whole transaction took over 10 minutes and ticked off the people behind me, waving their credit cards. My$20 bill was the only cash in the register!! I laughed all the way home.

60 comments:

  1. When I was at Target, I wrote a check. They insisted on scanning the back of my driver's license. I did not buy the merchandise and pay cash now when I go there.
    I only have one credit card and seldom carry it with me.
    When I was a cashier many years ago, I used one of those knuckle busters. Memories!

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  2. I've spent alot of time working retail, and most stores have those "old fashioned" credit card machines sitting around in case of an outage or the like. And its not just the younger generation who gets confused by them.

    I had a lady, old enough to be my mother (which means approaching "retirement age") who completely freaked out over the fact that we were keeping a piece of paper with her credit card info on it.........

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    1. Well, since there have been reports in the past of stores discarding boxes of these receipts by the dumpster rather than securely shredding them, I don't really blame her.

      Southern Gal

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  3. You could take it a step further and pay bills by using money orders! Everybody use cash until the very end. Use it or lose it.

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  4. Smart thinking, Patrice.
    I too do all I possibly can in cash. too.
    And I don't carry a purse. Ever.
    I walk like a warrior, keep my head up, and maintain a high situational awareness. My cop friends say I'm the type bad guys tend to avoid.
    So far so good.
    It's the invisible bad guys we need to also be concerned about these days, as your post so clearly shows.

    A. McSp

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  5. We are cash-only at this point, and for the same reasons as you. I like the idea of being "Customer X" and not having my sales habits tracked by some unknown corporation. And budgeting is simple...when you're out of green, it's time to stop buying!

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  6. On the old school credit card machine

    My newest bank ATM card does not have the raised numbers like most cards so it would not work in the old machine and would need to be hand written

    but all i use it for is getting cash from the ATM so all good :)

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  7. I, too, am in the "use it lest we lose it" camp.

    I am absent-minded. I do not carry a purse because I WILL hang it over the back of a chair somewhere and leave it behind; the wallet in my back pocket is just another detail in my wholly unfeminine presentation.

    With the fact of my absent-mindedness firmly in mind, I gratefully adopted the debit card over ten years ago. Cash became something I carried when setting out to visit yard sales, other than enough to cover a tank of gasoline should the card fail.

    I began disciplining myself back to the "inconvenience" of carrying cash when I lived in Arkansas and did the majority of my fruit-and-vegetable buying at roadside stands.

    In the wake of tracking and identity theft, I'm very glad that I chose to "accept" that "inconvenience," as I am now training myself to plan ahead and carry enough cash to do all my business that way (even if I am having a hard time getting used to the sizable wad I'll have to carry to do the quarterly "long-list" run to the grocery store-- bite the bullet, MC, it's only four times a year).

    Use it or lose it.

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    1. My dear MC, carry more $100s. Less bulk that way, and they have to make change for you. 8-)

      Stores used to ask "cash or credit"? The other day I was asked "credit or debit" before I even took my wallet out? I said CASH and whipped out a colorful new $100 bill. I got a confused look from the cashier which turned into a sneer for some reason, but they took the cash anyway. Being a cashier for a time in the late 60's/early 70's I also had to use the knuckle buster so Patrice's photos cracked me up!. I vow to continue using cash until I am forced to stop by law.

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    2. I have done this, Anon, carrying 100s. My husband and I discovered many places refuse to accept them - hotels, gas stations, even grocery stores. They assume they are counterfeit until proven otherwise, and sometimes they lack the pens to test them. My husband ended up arguing with a hotel clerk once about how the bill SAYS "US legal tender" and the federal law states they have to accept US tender for US debts, and to refuse legal US currency as illegitimate for settling the hotel payment would be illegal.

      So many people are absolute idiots about cash, too. I once paid a clerk using those dollar coins (had a few to use) and she argued with me that they were QUARTERS. They SAY "DOLLAR" on them and they were gold instead of silver colored! I swear, some of the kids can't even recognize or count some cash anymore, they're so out of the habit.

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  8. Enter me on the 'firmly agree' side of this issue: cash only. I go further and try to ensure I have no web presence whatever. (Yes, I know this email can be tracked to source. I'm using a public computer. And yes, I know most public computers have facial recognition apps. If any fascist wants to 'get' me for endorsing cash, here I am.) Someone once queried me about my 'Twitter' and 'Facebook' accounts, and on being told I had neither, said indignantly that she had a "right" to know my background!!!! If that isn't the definition of fascism -- and if the sheeple aren't baring their own throats for slaughter -- I don't know what is. (Signed, yours truly, Anonymous)

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    1. Take a small piece of paper or cardboard, fold it over, and cover the computer's camera lens.

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    2. Or carry a small pack of Post-it notes. I got in the habit of carrying these in my purse when my kids were little and were afraid of the auto-flush toilets. One of the tiniest size removable stickers kept them safe from the "flush monster." ;-)

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  9. I started using all cash about 10 years ago. I don't have a credit card. I only use my debit card to take all the cash I need out of
    the atm once a month. I do carry a purse, cross body bag, and it
    never leaves my body until I am back home. If I am going more
    than 50 miles away from home, I carry (for me at least) a large
    amount of cash, for emergencies. My worry, is getting stopped
    by a Cop and having to explain that all that cash is not drug money. I have nothing to do with drugs. But, I read stories about
    Cops being able to keep everything they find, even if you are never
    arrested. No, facebook, no twitter, just anonymous in this world.

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  10. I only use the credit card for reservations and online purchases. I have three ATM cards and have specifically gotten ATM cards that are not debit cards. I have zero fear or concern that someone could track my purchases I simply prefer cash. As for worrying about being robbed usually the risk is not based on what's in your wallet unless you have flashed your money in front of criminals. If someone is going to rob you it will be based on how you look (prosperous vs broke and aware vs texting with headphones on) and not how much money you carry. Right now I have $500 in cash but usually I have only $300 or so. But Levis and a T-shirt (or sweatshirt in the winter) don't shout "I'm carrying a lot of money". Also staying out of bad places goes a long way to protecting yourself.

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  11. My adult children just do not "get it"....their mom has never used an ATM or Debit Card. The fact that they do and are continually complaining about unexplained charges or card rejections tells the whole story as far as I am concerned. It is all about good planning and managing your time as well as your money. They spend far more time monitoring their accounts than I spend going to the bank and picking up the green paper dollars. I can't believe I raised these two with such little financial knowledge. Perhaps this is their form of rebellion over having to explain and justify expenses while they were being raised. Priority came first and if there were leftover dollars we could celebrate. Not much fun but there was always food on the table and clothes and shoes to wear.

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  12. Reminds me of one time at the grocery store when a huge thunderstorm knocked out power and phonelines. The store had a backup generator, so the registers were still working. As I got to checkout line there were five people in front of me and one woman was complaining loudly about how she had to get home and could not understand why the store could not process her debit card ("The lights are still on, so it has to work!!!"). The cashier tried explaining to her that in addition to electricity they also needed a phone line for the transaction to go through. The woman was at this point getting quite upset. Finally, the cashier asked if there was anybody who wanted to pay cash... I got to the front of the line instantly as everybody else had only plastic. If looks could kill, I would not be writing this today :-)

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    1. Good for you!!! That is why I always carry cash. I have prepped for that particular emergency, and that is exactly what it is! It is easier to get to the head of a line for gasoline if you are the only person with lots of singles and fives. In the end, I will help most folks in line. You see, the card carriers often have a $50 or $100 tucked away in the depths of the wallet and will need to use it, but no one in a grid down situation will bother to make change for them, and debit cards are useless. My/Your ones and fives and a few tens will get that line moving again, after I've gone to the head of it and am outside filling my car and my recently emptied gas cans.

      God Bless,
      Janet in MA

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    2. One local discount grocery takes only debit cards or cash - but their debit card reader is notoriously picky and often refuses cards, so I plan on paying with cash there.
      I am with you guys - I am moving towards more cash. I am smart about where I use my credit card so I don't spend much time looking at statements.
      Have any of you guys thought about the patterns you are establishing? One reason I still use cards for 'normal' purposes is that I don't want to trigger scrutiny by going completely cashless.

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  13. Here is how I think things are going to go. We are moving to a cash-less society and when that happens we are going to have to use our "cards" for everything from the time that we are born. We are going to be building a file. When you turn, say, 50 and are having a pain in your chest they are going to be able to look back at the purchases that you made and determine just how you lived and whether you are a good candidate for treatment or not. If you happen to have had one too many steaks in your life and the death panel Obamacare Dr. doesn't like what he/she sees then maybe you won't be getting that treatment.
    We cannot allow ourselves to fall into this trap. A cash-less society is a sign of the beast....................

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    1. it is the devil's plan to help usher in the antichrist.
      perhaps the attack on the electricity supply ,which is obviously in the planning, will force a return to cash ,at least for a while.
      in this way our enemies may find they've shot themselves in the foot, even of only temporarily.
      i have watched europe try to coalesce into one unit three times in my lifetime. each time it falls apart.
      this recent setback for 'one europe' means that the time is not ripe.
      all these things will happen as 'it is written', but it seems the time is not yet.
      it will certainly be horribly worse before Messiah comes and terror will reign.
      i pray for safety of my child and for God to protect His own.
      be innocent as doves but wise as serpents.
      wisdom comes from God and we need to ask Him for it every day.
      deb h.

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    2. Cash will never go away fully. The occasional power outage reminds people that electronic payments aren't as reliable as TPTB would like to have us believe. Cash is immediate pmt and (although I don't necessarily condone this) off the books, should the seller choose to do so.

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  14. Great story. I HAVE to link it on my blog and Facebook!

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  15. I am thankful that I found your blog; we are kindred spirits. Except that I am stuck in the city with a spouse who sees no need to prep. He believes in denial so he doesn't have to do anything. I agree with your stance on money. I rare shop and therefore rarely spend. Thanks for all of your prepping information!

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    1. Your husband is being very unreasonable. Do what's right, even if it means leaving him in the dark about it. After all, it's YOUR life, too! Someday he will thank you!

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    2. Who are you to get between a husband and wife? Shame on you.

      Ouida Gabriel

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  16. Several years ago, we went to a cash budget. Every pay day, DH who is retired, goes to the bank and withdraws enough for our regular cash expenditures. The money goes in envelopes and the money is removed when needed. We have a cash emergency fund and a small reserve in a money market so we'll never bounce anything. All other bills are paid via our banks online bill pay app. If we have an unexpected expense that is not truly an emergency, we borrow from whatever envelope is ahead. Luckily our gas envelope has been ahead this year because our car maintenance is running a little behind. Have already began thinking about the changes we'll make for 2015. Goals are to keep our internet foot prints down, better manage our money and never get caught in case of a power outage or disaster situation. So far. so good.

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  17. As much as we prefer to use cash, I have to say that we use the debit card way too much. I don't know why folks think it's an easier way to keep track of spending; I find it makes it way harder. It's all too easy to lose track of the little things. Maybe they don't keep budget books; maybe they just look at the total and go from there, I don't know. The tracking is the main incentive for using cash. Like you, it's not that we have spending secrets to keep, it's just annoying. A lot of places want our phone number when we make a purchase. I just say "unlisted." They don't like that either.

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    1. My husband always gives the stores 'Jenny's' phone number - you know, from the song? 867-5309. :-)

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    2. LOL - Poor, poor Jenny. My two teenagers always call that number to see if it's active when we happen to be visiting a new area code.

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    3. Too funny! I hadn't even thought of Jenny so I may try it when necessary. It's neem a while since anyone has asked me. Most cashiers don't push too far now. In previous years they were quite 'in your face' about it. Instead of arguing about it I now simply give them a random 3 digit area code and then 000-0000. By the time they punch in all the 0's they figure out that they aren't getting my number. I look innocently at them and say 'No, seriously, that;'s my number".

      I think that the asking you about your Flu Shot/Shingles Shot status has taken the place of getting your info at the cash register. They HAVE to ask you whenever you go into Walgreen/Rite Aid/CVS, etc. or they face discipline in most stores. On the other hand, they also get cash and prizes for the most Flu/Shingle shots they sell. No thank you. I can poison myself and have much more fun in the process.

      As of today, I am no longer even carrying my Rewards cards on my key chain. Silly me - I carry them but don't use them unless I feel the need. I think they can scan from much further away than we realize... I am taking them off. The extra $1 or $2 off isn't worth it.

      God Bless,
      Janet in MA

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  18. I don't have a credit card, debit card or ATM card. Cash or check. I don't shop big box if I don't have to. I choose smaller stores.

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  19. At what point do you stand out for scrutiny for not having an electronic trail out there? At some point not have a FB account, not using a credit card, etc is going to be a big red arrow pointing you out from the rest of society

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    1. I lost a job opportunity because they would not believe I did not have a Faceplace account so I was "lying about something" No real loss I would not have stood for them running my credit and checking my background every six months anyway.

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  20. I also switched to cash after having my card declined following a data breach. And I have been shopping local to avoid online purchases. It is clunky and not so convenient, but I work in technology and I don't see the data issues getting better anytime soon. In fact, it will probably get worse.

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  21. We've shopped local as much as feasible, using mostly cash, but we have a two-state household and I am the one doing the tracking on our on-line military bank, while we have a long distance marriage for 7more months. The plastic allows me to track and record purchases. Of course, these things are fairly benign: food, work purchases, home repair items.
    We built a big house and purchased much of our supplies cash. Our only problem with doing this was that the local bank we also have an account in, occasionally did not have the amounts we wished to withdraw. You see, the FED allocates how much cash each bank is allowed to have on hand. This coupled with the fact that the western town we lived near is the banking home of ranchers that also like to operate in cash, created a situation where the banks have a higher need for cash on hand than what the reserve dictated they could have.
    We were upfront with those we purchased items from and ASKED for a cash discount and often got one. There are costs associated with plastic and we didn't feel we should be paying the same price as our transactions were not going to generate those expenses.
    The lobby of the bank was large with locally made plush leather furniture for people to wait their turn, and the culture is one of a fair amount of politeness, with privacy for a transaction that is occurring. I guess you would expect this in a state where we may have had to leave our firearm in the truck while in the bank, along with the dog that would eat you alive, but once there you will be left alone as you replace the no-permit-required concealed equalizer.
    I would add that the poster above is correct, to use it or lose it. People are being trained to use plastic. How easy is society to control once TPTB have total control over what you buy and how much they allow you to spend. As society uses more plastic the fed will contract the amount of paper cash. We have a list of last minute "additional" purchases and always keep the cash to buy these things.

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    1. it also depends on the local bank's policies - I have accounts at 2 local banks; the one has as much money as you'll ever need in any of their branches - the other you have to go to the main branch in a bigger city to get out over $1000; it also has fees for many things and does not have free checking, so I am moving my business elsewhere.

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  22. As more and more people go to plastic the feds will shrink the cash that is allocated to each bank. Some of you live in cities where the banks can by law make you wait to get your own cash. Why? Because the banks are told by the feds how much cash they can keep. They often don't have enough, so you have to wait.
    Keeping cash is prudent. Of course, being trained in safety and how to use "safety" is important as well. We have a list of last minute purchases to make and I am betting cash will be the only accepted means of payment (other than PM).

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  23. We use debit cards because my wife works in a grocery store and they only pay the employees through direct deposit. The debit card comes in handy now and then, but we still mostly use cash. I don't understand why so many people are given a hard time when they use cash, or how often they come up against hostile sales clerks. We have NEVER had any problems when paying for things with cash. Now and then a clerk will ask if we'd like to open a credit card account with that store. We say no, thank you and that's that! No sneers, rolled eyes or looks of shock, surprise or disgust. But then, we live in a very conservative state where open-carry AND concealed-carry without a license are legal. Folks seem to be more open-minded and tolerant here.

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    1. I live in "that" state, also. Folks seem to mind their own business more in that state, while being "open-minded". You can generally carry large sums of cash and are safe because those with ill intentions are tempered by the thought that the intended victim is probably packing a loaded firearm.
      It is probably just coincidence, but after law abiding citizens were disarmed by "law", the marketing campaign began of how unsafe cash was. Goes hand in hand.

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  24. Great stories. A few weeks ago I was in a JCPenney waiting for my wife and daughter to finish picking out some new shoes. I was standing over by one of the checkout stands in the men's shoe department and an older gentleman (60-65) bought some shoes and paid cash. After he walked away the two "kids" (early 20's) behind the counter were shocked that he had paid cash, and couldn't stop talking about it. Their late 20's manager walked up a few seconds later and they excitedly told him about the whole transaction, like they had just interacted with a unicorn. I guess I made their day doubly amazing because I paid cash for my wife and daughter's shoes not 5 minutes later.

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    1. I have to add this story - I once worked at an upscale clothing store. The 30-something age managers instructed us to treat normally but consider any customer who paid in cash as a prostitute, because "no one carries cash", and to thus keep an eye on them for any reason to call the police. What a way to look at the world, eh?

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    2. What?! Or a plumber, electrician, or piano teacher, all of whom are usually very glad to accept cash...

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  25. patrice,
    rick steves, who has the europe travel show on pbs, always carries two wallets.
    one is a fake and the real one he conceals.
    he has been robbed but it didn't make any difference.
    i often carry the checkbook with cash, credit card, and driver's license down the front of my shirt.
    the rest of my 'stuf' is in my bag but wouldn't cause too many tears if taken.
    deb h.
    it is an idea you might use when you go to the big city.

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  26. Your manual credit card machine may soon be obsolete. I have read that within a few years all credit cards in the USA will have chips in them for security, and no longer have raised numbers needed by the manual machines.

    With a smart phone and PayPal, Square, or similar service you could still accept credit cards, but it does require a smart phone with a connection to the Internet. I rarely accept credit cards in person because I almost never make a face to face sale, but accept credit cards through PayPal all the time on my websites.

    When it comes to cash, I find that anything larger than a $20 bill may be impossible to use because most stores can't make change for anything larger. This is particularly true of small merchants and taxis.

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    1. Don't fall for it! Just brazen it out! Don't move until they serve you and give you your change. Be polite but don't be a mouse! If I buy $70 worth of merchandise I feel perfectly justified in giving them a $100 bill. That is only $30 back in cash after all. If it's a small Mom & Pop store you should expect that they might have a 'change' issue, and only use your small bills. But not if it's a large grocery store. And if someone is silly enough to buy a bag of chips and a soda with your $100 and expect $90+ back in change, you should expect to be shown the door. Keep using your cash. Every day. That way the cashiers will get used to it again eventually. There is no perfect system anymore and only God truly knows what is coming, and what His time frame is for allowing it. The Mark of the Beast still has to wait on His timing. Amen?

      God Bless,
      Janet in MA

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  27. This Forbes article is old but a very good representation of what those loyalty cards and/or credit purchases can glean from you. Pretty scary stuff. Katherine Albrecht at spychips has a ton of good information on the subject too.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/

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  28. I remember those credit card machines. One time I was on the road heading to Fairbanks, I was driving a M1009 and had a fleet card. At the half way point, I pulled in for fuel, fueled the truck up and went in to pay for it. I handed the attendant the fleet card and he asked "do you have the pin number?". Hmmm.. No.. I wasn't given one of those. Sooooo.. We called the fleet card company and the woman on the other end would not authorize or give up the pin for the card. She did not care that it was -20F and snowing and 150 miles in the middle of nowhere. The attendant finally started waving and gesturing to hang up the phone.. From under the counter, he pulled out an ancient credit card machine and put it on the counter. He took the card and ran it on the old machine, handed me the slip and said "sign here". Pretty simple. I had a receipt, he had his, done. On the return back from Fairbanks, I pulled into the same station and the same attendant was at the counter. He saw me walk in, he reached under the counter and pulled the old machine out again and did the transaction. I guess he didn't want to deal with the wench from the fleet card company again.

    I am a firm believer in "Cash is king". My buddies Franklin, Grant and Jackson never complain the phone line is down, the scanner is busted or the power is out. I have had the bank question why I take part my paycheck out in cash. My reply- "I don't trust you completely". The teller giggled and said they'll never have problems. Rebuttal- "Tell that to Cypress and their banking system".

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  29. What a lot of these cashless people don't realize (and millenials for example) is that everything is costing more for everyone because of the increase in credit card use (and debit cards). Consumers pay more for all goods (including food and mundane things like parking meters). I advise anybody who is paying with cash to ask for cash discounts, especially when shopping at small businesses.

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  30. I was at a water and ice store in Phoenix one time, and watched a lady not get sold a .79 FRN soda using her debit card b/c the owner would have lost money on such a small transaction. She didn't have 79 cents on her...

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  31. When I worked retail in the early 1970s, we took credit card phone orders. At the end of the day, one employee had to call the card company and read off all the card numbers and the amounts charged.

    I don't use the store reward cards (and yes, as someone said, they really push me on this); I've never used an ATM and don't have a cell phone. That last quirk really freaks people out. I just don't want one.

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    1. One way to get around the badgering at the checkout is to fill out the application with a virtual personality and address, e.g. my name is 'Valued Customer', my address is PO box, you get the idea. The clerk often chuckles at the 'Valued Customer'. If they complain use cash.

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  32. Cash is king and anonymous! Today, I went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond for some additional drapery panels. They didn't have my color of drapes in the store, but offered to have them sent from the warehouse-with free shipping. (Okay, good customer service.) I gave the clerk my debit card number with my new address. The card was rejected because the bank had not yet changed my account to the new address from the old one. Good grief! Do I really want this much surveillance on me?? I said "Look, how about I pay in cash?" The clerk gave me an odd look-like I might have a hot truck in the parking lot filled with illegal drugs-and then slowly said......"Well, Ohh-kayyy, if you insist." If I INSIST!?? This was another slap upside my head to remind me to do cash, cash, and keep my my own business my own. Stealth Spaniel

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  33. Count me in. For the longest time I used my debit card for EVERYTHING, hardly ever used cash. When I got married, my new wife was a check person, and always complaining about the cost of a box of checks. Trained her to use the debit card, and she's never looked back. A couple years ago, I realized just how much info I was passing on to my bank about my purchasing, and how much of that would be available, via subpoena, no matter how much the bank wants to "protect" their customer's "privacy". Then there was all the targeted advertising I received, based on my purchases. I don't have anything to hide, but I do value my privacy for its own sake. So now, about 95% of my face-to-face purchasing is done with cash. Each payday I get enough from the ATM to get me through. If there is any left over, I stash it away as part of the "rainy day fund". (I also never spend coins. Any coins I get back as change goes into a jug at the end of the day. I just counted and rolled the coins from the last few months, and had almost $90. Nice! A painless way to save for that fund.)
    Every once in a blue moon I find myself short on cash and have to use my debit card, but that is very very seldom.
    I have received a few surprised looks when I pull out cash instead of plastic, but so far haven't had anyone come close to arguing with me about it. Same when I routinely refuse to sign up for the "reward" cards, and refuse to give my name or other personal info. No hassles. Every once in awhile I am asked for my zip code, because the store likes to keep track of where the customers come from so they can be smart about where to advertise and where to build new stores. I don't mind giving the ZIP code; that doesn't identify me personally.
    I just wish I could get my wife on board with this. She handles our bookkeeping and likes the fact that she only has to make two checkbook entries for me each month, when I do my ATM withdrawals. But she is still wedded to her debit card, still uses it for everything. She says I created that monster and now I have to deal with it. I suppose she's right about that, at least.

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  34. I still write plenty of checks. I would be afraid to carry too much cash around because, as an old lady, I'm too much of a target. But for certain transactions--especially the kind you don't want a lot of people to know about--cash is best.

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    1. My Mom is 78 but can still kick a$$ so she carries any amount she wants, plus her pistol. Your mileage may vary! Mom is a former prison nurse and I am a prison guard so we both know the score and refuse to buckle under.

      Folks, you can get 'hit' at any time, day or night. Going into your home, going into a store, going into church, going into a restaurant. Think ahead - this is a very real possibility for each of you. And if you plan ahead, your heart won't punch it's way straight through your chest when it happens.

      I was/still am an advocate of 'mugger money'. That's the fake cheap wallet you carry in a handy place so that you can hand it to anyone who threatens you. Act it up! Be upset. Cry. Say "this is all I have, I'm on social security so I have nothing" and then hand them the mugger money wallet. In this wallet you should have one $5 bill and two or three $1's as well as an old credit card FROM A CANCELLED account or an old library card, etc. Flesh is out with some coupons and a paper with fake phone numbers or a shopping list to look real. If the worst happens, you get away with your life for about $7 plus a cheap wallet. It works... I have seen it happen.

      God Bless,
      Janet in MA

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  35. One of the forgotten benefits of cash is that in the event of a power outage, or heaven forbid, a total grid crash, you will be the only one who can buy emergency supplies while the stores are still open. That extra food, medicine and other supplies while be a great help. I keep $500 as an emergency fund for everyday living, but in the event of a SHTF moment, it can give that last big supply run before bugging in or out.

    Renee

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  36. It's also cash for us, as much as we can. I went to a mall yesterday & had a similar experience as Holly. I love it when the purchase is say $9.77 & I hand them $10.02. If they don't have a machine to punch in what I gave them, they have no idea what change I am supposed to receive.

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  37. I would like to be helpful! If you carry more than a couple of those pretty new 100's wrap them in foil. Yes you chuckle but we will all soon be wearing foil hats for real. They are making foil covers for your radio chip Cards now. If you live near an international border especially the Mexican border and pass through the interior stations, Don't carry more than one or two of the new 100's at a time foil or not. Home stash in foil. In the southern border states everyone runs on cash for almost everything, especially paying for labor. Everyone is happy that way. The non chain businesses often give a discount to make up for Credit card costs. Try to get some kind of discount everywhere but Walmart. And I am not slamming Walmart. Great Blog !

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  38. Thank you for the wonderful post!

    I pay cash for purchases as often as I can and always so 'no' to requests for loyalty cards, phone numbers, etc.

    A great youtube video on what 'the system' knows about you (now and in the future) can be seen here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNJl9EEcsoE

    I send the link out via e-mail regularly in the hope that people will start thinking about privacy in different ways.

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