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Swipe out; my problem with plastic…

The other day I had to hit the grocery store. Not much to get, just a couple of things. Everything came to about sixteen dollars.

Then I did something really weird…I put my hand in my pocket and pulled out some cash.

Remember cash? The medium of exchange, the standard of deferred payment? The use of cash, or “money” for those who are apparently unfamiliar with the term goes back to about 3000 BC when someone exchanged a couple of beads for a goat, or a friggin’ donkey or something. For the last five thousand years it’s been a pretty good system.

The cashier automatically assumed I would be using my debit card instead of cash.

Of course I gave her cash – it was only sixteen bucks, for Christ’s sakes.

When did the idea of using a debit card for every damn thing you buy become de rigueur? It really drives me nuts.

Now before everyone wets themselves telling me about the advantages of using debit over cash, I want to say that I don’t fucking care.

Cash is easier and faster and it gets me out of the store quicker.


Case in point – last week I was at the store and a guy in front of me was buying a newspaper and a pack of gum. His purchase was only a couple of bucks.

Literally – a couple of bucks.

He then proceeded to pull out his debit card to make the purchase.


A debit card for less than a three dollar purchase?

I stood there in disbelief as he swiped his card about 50 or 60 times because it wasn’t working. The cashier apologized every time it didn’t work. He turned to me and offered a weak smile.

“Ah technology…what are you gonna do?” he says.

Um, how about “Here’s a couple of fucking twoonies for my gum and newspaper. I shoulda done this in the first place instead of being such a thick headed twat.”

Unbelievably, he pulls out a credit card.

A credit card…for less than a THREE DOLLAR purchase???

It was becoming incredibly close to a case of card rage.

And, of course, the credit card didn’t work either. No amount of swiping, tapping or saying “c’mon” seemed to work.

“I don’t understand,” the cashier said. “It must be the machine”

Yeah, it was the machine, all right. It had become self aware and realized that the moron was trying to pay a three dollar bill with a credit card and said “Fuck this shit – use cash, you arsehole!”

Finally, he pulls out a five dollar bill. The dickhead had a five dollar bill the whole time!! I swear to god, I wanted to hit him in the face with a gym sock full of cat turds.

Why, oh why do people do this?

For a large purchase, sure, use your credit card or your debit card. That’s what they’re for – so you don’t have to carry large wads of cash around. But what happened to the idea of always having cash on your person at all times? I always have a couple of bucks on me. It just makes sense.

A few weeks back there was a sale on televisions and I thought I’d pick one up for the bedroom. The price was good so I hit the ATM and took out about two hundred dollars. When I got to the store, I grabbed a tv and headed to the cash to pay for it. There were six spots at the checkout, but only two cashiers.

Seriously? Two cashiers? There’s about a hundred people buying cheap tvs and they have two cashiers – brilliant.

Anyway, I wait my turn and when I finally get to one of the cashiers, he says “Credit card or debit?”

“Neither,” I said. “Cash.”

“Oooh, I’m sorry – I can only take a credit card or debit.”

Fuck me…

I told the guy I wanted to pay cash.

He shrugged his shoulders and grinned like a chimp that just discovered masturbation.

Okay – why the hell are they’re called cashiers anyway?

I pointed toward the other cashier. “What about that guy? Does he take cash?” I asked. He said no. He’d have to page the cash guy. After a few minutes, it was apparent that the cash guy was either on a coffee break, in the shitter or deceased.

Goddamn it…I was forced to use my credit card. I gave it to the cashier and he placed it in the reader.

“All right,” he said “just enter your PIN for me.”

PIN? For my credit card? I didn’t even know I had a PIN for my credit card. That’s how often I use the goddamn thing.

I told him I didn’t know my PIN. I asked him if he could just swipe it. He told me it didn’t work that way.


So I put the stupid credit card away and pulled out my debit card. I put in my debit PIN (at least I know that one) and chose “Savings.”

Well, surprise, surprise! It didn’t work. Of course it didn’t work. I tried again…and again. Same thing.

I tried “Chequing.”

Yep – same shit as before.

As I understand it, these cards are supposed to make things easier, right? Bull-fucking-shit. I think it would be easier to catch a lard covered football spinning end over end with my mouth. So far this transaction has taken up more time than it took for my mom to give birth to me.

Such horseshit. Finally the cash guy showed up. I duly moved over to his spot. I then pulled out my cash and the transaction was done in about thirty seconds.

Thirty seconds!

Fact – it`s faster and easier to use cash…case fucking closed.

What’s next?

Handing a homeless person your Visa?

Strippers with debit card swipers for lap dances?

Neighbourhood kids with wifi at a lemonade stand?

I guess when they say if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

I say fine – make the lemonade, but make ‘em pay cash.