Friday, October 14, 2016

Cash or Credit?

I like cash. Don't we all? (And I'm not talking about Johnny Cash. Although I can't help but sing along anytime I hear "Ring of Fire.") I like the look and feel of dollar bills in my wallet. (There's not much in there right now.) There's something very gratifying about paying for something with a crisp (or wrinkly) bill, then getting a few bills of smaller denominations and some coins handed back as change.

Not a current picture.
(Man, I wish I had that much cash in my wallet right now!)

Too bad that doesn't happen very often anymore.

Credit cards have taken over. We use them at the grocery store. At the gas pump. At the hair salon. At the restaurant. At the McDonald's drive-thru. At the donut shop. At the pizza place. At Wendy's. At Arby's. At Taco Bell. At Subway. At IHOP. At Burger King. At...well, you get the idea. (Sorry about that. I'm hungry.)

As much as I like cash, I must admit that paying at the gas station is much easier with a credit card. Especially now that you have to pay before you can pump. It used to be you could pump the gas, then go inside and get a snack and a soda and pay for it all at once. Now that I have to pay before pumping, I avoid going inside at all, thus saving me money on muchies. (And helping my waistline.)

Pre-paying with cash is not fun. If you want to fill the tank it turns into a game of The Price Is Right as you have to figure in your head how much to pay (without going over) to get your tank as close to full as you can (without flowing over.) Because if you've pre-paid, the last thing you want to do is have to traipse back inside the store to get some change. (I know I said earlier that I like getting change, but not if I have to walk all the way back into the store and stand in line just to get my $1.28.)

Credit cards make things easier at the grocery store, too. Do you remember getting in line, then discovering in horror that the person in front of you is trying to pay with a check? They would always look at their checkbook as if they had never written a check before in their entire life. And why not fill everything in but the amount and signature beforehand while waiting in line? Were they somehow suddenly surprised by the fact they would be paying by check?

At least that's now a thing of the past. (I remember the first time a grocery store cashier asked me, "Paper or plastic?"  I had no idea he was asking about bags; I thought it was his way of asking if I were paying by check or credit card.)

Having said that, cash still does have many advantages over credit cards. Such as:

1. You never have to wonder if you need to swipe your cash or put it into the chip reader.

2. With cash, you never have to wait for approval.

3. No one denies cash!

4. When you pay with cash, you only pay once. Unlike credit cards, there will be no monthly bill from the cash company asking you to pay again for all the things you already paid for once.

5. There is no legendary country singer named Johnny Credit Card.

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