I’m going back to cash. Not completely, mind you—the prospect of carrying around large sums of money (and making it public) isn’t exactly appealing or practical—but for meals out or a quick trip to the store, I’m going to keep the plastic static.
Why? Several reasons.
First, Slate Magazine is running a series on money and cash this week. But their whole article seems to be sponsored by “cashless” businesses (see picture). Objective reporting … suspect.
Second, I’ve found myself making rather impulse and arbitrary purchases lately. By only spending what I have in my wallet, I figure I’ll be less likely to add that pack of cigarettes to my home-colonic kit* purchases.
Third, I like spreading my money out on my bed and rolling around on it.
Fourth, every credit card purchase costs a retailer 2-5%, which in turn is passed along to the consumer in the form of higher costs. And, yes, cash incurs additional costs (time spent counting tills, risk of petty theft, transferring money), but oftentimes the sum total is far less than 2-5%. So going with cash allows retailers to keep more of their money and, hopefully, give them an incentive to stop increasing the cost of goods so rapidly**. Also, it would be nice if everyone thought about the toll their convenience has on the overall cost of goods and didn’t just assume that their “sky miles” were actually free.
Fifth, I don’t like being tracked. I clear out my browser’s cookies regularly. I turn off my location based services on my phone. And I pay cash when buying illicit drugs, hiring prostitutes and purchasing large quantities of knock-off handbags***. Especially when I’m making it rain at the strip club or gambling all night at the casinos. That way, Target won’t know that I’m pregnant and send me creepy offers in the mail (link below).
*Strangely, I’ve never purchased either of these items. I don’t even smoke or colonic.
**Okay, yes, I admit this is more of a pipe dream than an actual incentive. Okay, yes, there is no incentive.
***Again, I’m not sure why I’m providing examples of actions I’ve never performed.