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THE Lowly Peon

Cash or Credit 
05 June 2011, 2:02pm

One thing I love about being back in America is that I can use my credit card for just about any transaction imaginable. So why is it that yesterday I went from having about $100 cash to zero?

Daisy and I went shopping for some business casual clothes for her wardrobe. We went to this great little boutique — so much more comfortable than shopping in a Chinese mall, by the way — and Daze found some good stuff. At the register, the cashier asked for my name. I asked politely if it was necessary. She said yes, which surprised me. Then she asked for my address. I asked if that was necessary, and to my astonishment, she said yes. I was trying not to be difficult, but we get enough junk mail as it is, and I see no need to share the location of our living quarters with a boutique simply for buying a cute top. Her excuse: "We're a small shop." What? So, I paid cash. Poof, my cash is down to about $40 in annoyingly small bills.

Later in the day, we met with some friends to go to this somewhat bizarre Italian exposition in the Houston expo center. It was pretty fun, mostly because we were in good company. The expo itself was really weird — lots of smelly Italians with either horrendous BO or too much cologne to try to mask their horrendous BO. Catwalk for fashion show, lots of fancy looking cars that to me look like nothing more than gas guzzlers, lots of gelato, etc. And at the end: a whole section dedicated to tasting wines. They were server tastes in this tiny shot glasses, the kind that a doctor would give you a pill or two in. But nearby they were selling wine glasses, and if you had wine glasses, so our friend told us, they pour quite a bit. What the heck, we need some good wine glasses anyway. What's that? Don't accept credit? And poof, down to $20.

We found some excellent stuff at that tasting section. (None of it was wine, though. I can't stand Italian wine, truth be told.) Namely, we found some cheese that was aged in truffle oil. I've been really into truffle-related foods ever since I discovered a black truffle pizza at The Tasting Room down the road from our apartment. This cheese was incredible. So I wanted some. It was a bit of a charade to buy this cheese — need to wait in line at the booth, ask the guy to cut some, he seals it, then you go to the other end of the expo, wait in line, then pay. So we saved all of our purchases for the end. What's that? There's a 5% surcharge for using a credit card? (This recently became an illegal practice in Illinois.)

And poof, there goes the rest of my cash, except for two dollars, three quarters, three nickels, four dimes, four normal pennies and two really weird looking ones that I'd never seen before.

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[05 June 2011]

On a related credit card note, did you know that Visa & MasterCard prohibit businesses (who use their cards) from requiring a minimum credit card purchase? I know I've been told before, "You can't use a credit card here unless you're making a purchase of over $25" and at work we had to stop putting "minimum $3 purchase for credit cards" in our signage.


THE Lowly Peon

[05 June 2011]

nocturtle: i personally don't understand businesses who limit that stuff. i know they need to pay transaction fees (which are actually much higher than one may think), but places that only accept cash (or only accept cash under a certain limit) in my head will become businesses that don't get my business. the world is going the way of the credit card.



[05 June 2011]

Peter, you're wrong, the world has been a credit card world for years. were going the way of mobile payments soon! Gah. I hate places that only take cash (yet another reason why SF bothers me). Totally agree with you, I just don't get how places only take cash.