The first time I saw that sign in a package store, I stood there and gawped. CASH not accepted? But … isn’t cash our money? I mean, isn’t it supposed to be accepted everywhere?
These days, the sign is not so uncommon. A lot of places won’t accept cash. Why not?
Cashiers can’t make change. No one told them how to count backward to get to the right amount. They can’t do basic arithmetic in their head. I;f they are supposed to give you 99 cents and you say “Wait, I’ll give you a penny, and you can give me a dollar,” they look baffled.
If you repeat it, they look frightened. Are you trying to steal their money? Their register says 99 cents and by god, they are going to give you whatever the register says. They do not understand that if you add the penny to that 99 cents, it equals a dollar. It’s what modern math has done to the brains of our youth.
Furthermore, they don’t understand that 100 pennies make up a dollar. I’m pretty sure they are even less sure about half a dollar or quarter (a quarter of what?) and are equally vague about all the other coins. A lot of our quaint American speech — like “two bits” has gone the way of the dinosaur. Two bits equals 50 cents because a quarter is “one bit.” In case you aren’t from around these parts.
CASH IN REGISTERS GETS STOLEN
The guy with the Saturday night special (a cheap handgun for those of you not up to cop street language) isn’t looking for credit card receipts. He just wants cash to pay his dealer or his bookie or the guy who sells booze down the street.
YOU CAN MAKE A LOT OF MISTAKES HANDLING CASH
Even if you know how money works and even if you can count properly, that doesn’t mean that the amount of money in the cash drawer at night is what it is supposed to be. I was (oh so briefly) a cashier before I was really working for a living and I don’t think I ever came out at night with the right amount of money.
I wasn’t short (or long) by much. Usually a few dollars and sometimes, even a few cents. But it’s got to be exactly right or your boss gets peckish about it and is likely to fire you.
A LOT OF MACHINES ONLY TAKE TOKENS
The baskets on toll roads often don’t take cash. These days, they just read your license plate and send you a bill in the mail unless you have a “reader” in your car. Why not?
Let us fondly remember the golden olden days when you were trying very hard to drive from New York to Washington D.C. and the entire Garden State Parkway (New Jersey) would only accept cash in its baskets. But NOT pennies because pennies are not real money. Certainly not paper money. So there you are behind someone who is digging through every compartment of his car including the floor, the trunk, glove box et al because he’s missing a nickel.
Traffic cannot flow until he comes up with that nickel and his five pennies don’t count. Or a cop comes by and arrests him for lacking a nickel. I don’t think they hang you for that these days, but the other drivers behind you might.
PAPER MONEY CHANGE MAKING MACHINES
For that matter, you know those machines that are supposed to take your paper money and give you change? They were very popular for selling lottery tickets.
Except they don’t accept your money because it’s wrinkled. Machines cannot read wrinkles. Or, they don’t have enough change so they just keep your five or ten — and you get a very expensive soda or nothing — in return.
This is why you find elderly people using up the last of their physical strength trying to get a machine to give them their money back (assuming it took it in the first place) or at least give some change in return.
$100 BILLS NOT ACCEPTED
That’s because the cashier can’t tell a real $100 bill from a counterfeit and neither can I. My mother once got $300 in counterfeit money from her bank and they wouldn’t take it back. No, that’s not true. They did take it back, but she got nothing for it. Apparently, we are supposed to know if it’s counterfeit — AT THE BANK.
Banks are not supposed to give you counterfeit money. There are laws about that. That was at least 50 years ago, so $300 was quite a lot of money. In fact, it was school clothing for me and my sister.
So where can you use cash?
- Liquor stores. They get cash because a lot of drinkers don’t want it on their credit card. ‘
- The grocery store when the power is down and the registers won’t work.
- Your bookie only takes cash as does the guy who runs the gambling saloon in the basement of the liquor store.
- I never have any cash because even taxis take plastic these days and everything is so expensive, I’d have to carry a big fat roll of cash to even buy groceries.
If you want to look rich, buy 100 single dollar bills plus one 20 to put on top. Everyone will look impressed and you can pay for newspapers for at least a month and a half. Maybe even coffee and donuts!