Following on from this posts and the comments it prompted I found myself dwelling on the nature of cash.
I’m not a complete Luddite (not that only using cash is Luddite behaviour), I have used card to pay for a few things, mainly shopping but this is because I do like have money on me, just a card is a bit odd and very much like eggs in one basket.
When I was on twitter and known by my handle and this blog, I was one for keeping private, as such even when I went to beer shops I’d pay cash so the people, even those I frequently talked to, did not know who I was and if they did, then they would not have my details.
I suppose wanting to be private can lead to paranoia but I like paying in cash in on the whole.
How do you tip if you just pay by card?
Of course, an establishment only taking card does not mean that the customers don’t have cash on them but I’ve never much liked tipping jars, I like to give to the individual.
I suppose what it does remove (apart from apparent lower insurance costs) is the need to check balances and not have to accuse people of creaming money out of the till, or of patrons by over-charging/short changing.
The loss of mental arithmetic
In that there London over the August bank holiday I found myself in The Carpenters Arms, Fitzrovia. They took cash but the barman (very good service I will say) looked all a bit confused and the wait for getting my change, despite being in big numbers on the till, took some time.
Of an evening the club I frequented, which was busy, after I’d said my drinks request, was met with a sometimes rather sharply thrown card machine in my direction. This was met with a smile and a flash of a note (again, faultless service).
Any over reliance on technology, as complimentary as it can be, does have its downsides.
Loss of Customer Service
Everything seems a bit mechanical, if all you do is give your order and then tap your card it seems that you, and the server, lose a bit of human contact and interaction. The automation of one part of service seems to turn us slowly into automatons.
Contactless doesn’t just describe the method of payment.
Addiction and Duty of Care
Don’t serve drunk people, or those who have clearly had enough.
Don’t serve those you suspect are under age.
Don’t serve those you suspect may drive afterwards.
Bar staff really are the front line between people and the harm they can cause to themselves and others and whereas it seems obvious that a server would have no idea if the person they are serving it spending they’re last £20 in cash or by card, speaking from experience, you can get a feel for a customer and their habits more from cash.
In the end it comes down to personal preference and especially personal responsibility; the physical nature of cash, going out with an amount you are willing to spend all ready in your pocket (yes, yes you can top up at a machine) is a far better way of monitoring your own finances than hot chip on pin action.
Plus I’m not having the state tracking and cataloguing my drinking habits…
Comments welcome below.
Thanks for reading.