At Joe & the Juice in Palo Alto (cashless), I was buying a drink with my friend, and a clearly homeless man in front of us was trying to buy a coffee with cash. They refused and he got upset, so my friend paid for his coffee to de-escalate.
We were outside when the cashier ran up to us in the street, explaining "Please don't buy drinks for these guys, they come in here and get a drink and use that to stay all day. It's not the look we're going for, and it's one of the reasons why we have this cashless policy."
Cashless stores are convenient and I understand the arguments for them (as well as the arguments for not buying homeless people free stuff), but as long as cashless can be used to disenfranchise lower income people, I'm opposed to it.
Not wanting this behavior is absolutely reasonable, but what I'd find suspicious and don't understand is why cashless would be the method. I know of plenty of places that have policies along the lines of "during regular hours 15 minutes per drink, 40 with drink & food" or whatever is appropriate to the location. It's private property though a public business, and they can set non-discriminatory customer neutral policies for free use, particularly around interfering with other customers. It also doesn't seem like it'd be at all a class thing, I know lots of cafes around here have had issues sometimes with someone coming in and getting a single coffee then pulling out their high end notebook and using a table as a free internet accessible office for an hour or two. They are not even slightly poor, they've got credit cards and smartphones, they're just rude.
But the result was just that businesses instituted policies and simply ask such people to leave if it seems to be deterring other customers, and that also seems like the obvious general solution. I'm honestly curious about why in Palo Alto that wouldn't be true too, is there some local law/ordinance that prohibits asking a customer to leave or the like? If there is no such thing it does seem more likely they were just lying, and the real truth was that they want customers who meet some specific level of dress code and also don't want to be honest about it (for legal reasons or just plain PR or both).
There are plenty of real reasons for a business to want to take the hit to go cashless (managing significant amounts of physical cash is a genuine expense, and in some places raises the attractiveness for robbery too). This really doesn't seem like one of them though.
On top of that, I could totally see a time limit rule being implemented poorly. The well-to-do looking businessman probably never gets asked to leave, while the young non-white person gets asked to leave...
I'm not saying cash-less is a good system, just saying the other policies have their issues as well.
It eliminates the confrontation at the end of the 15/40 minute grace limit.
You might not be disgusted, that is your right. It is their right to be disgusted.
If you're looking for an argument why one should be disgusted, one cannot be forthcoming. I cannot give you a very persuasive argument why you should be sympathetic to the personal circumstances that the homeless find themselves in. That sort of sympathy is kinda just its own purpose or its own end; if you lack it then there is very little I can tell you that would definitively convince you of its merit. Like I can BS with fallacies all the day long about how this sort of empathy was important to our species in premodern times and continues to be important in modern times, but the fallacy will remain that simply because that disposition exists in a collective historical interest, that does not mean it is in your particular individual interest.
Because that feels like a false dichotomy.
Do you also think that if someone has the right to view pornography, they have the right to do it everywhere?
Do you think that if violent child molester deserves a right to a job, that should include the right to working at a day care center? And if someone thinks that's not a job they should get, they must lack empathy?
Those feel like unwarranted inferences, intended more for emotional appeal than constructive engagement.
I’m just saying that people have a right to be disgusted by the store’s reasoning. I did not say anything that could be construed as supporting violent child molesters and the fact that you think I did says much more about you than me.
Your comment is bluster in search of a fight. I don’t have one to give you. You were just wrong. Tomorrow’s another day.
I think it's reasonable to have some sanitation and pleasentness standards in a restaurant. Anyone from any economic class could meet or not meet those standards. It may be harder for a homeless person to stay relatively well kept, but I don't think that is the responsibility of the restaurants to fix. We should reduce the people living in filth, not accept and encourage filth I'm public spaces.
edit: also, the no-cash policy does not filter against the "middle class home owner who hasn't bathed in months", so that does not hold.
More interesting would be to get a business license you must supply services to different tiers of pricing access.
Instead, this policy clearly screens against a group of PEOPLE (those without access to electronic means of payment), which may or may not overlap with those participating in the undesirable "behaviors" I agree a restaurant should have the right to not tolerate.
There’s a Sweetgreen chain restaurant in the neighborhood. Being in there always fires off a bit of liberal white guilt, as there are few African Americans in the neighborhood (a Brooklyn outlier), but nearly everyone employed there is. It's the most visible marker of segregation here.
Three black women were ahead of me in line. They have their lunches made to order, get to the register, and are told they cannot pay with cash. None of these three adult women had a credit card or debit card with them.
I immediately offered to accept their cash and put their lunches on my card with my own order. Two of the women were very grateful, the third vacillated between visible embarrassment that some white guy had to come in and rescue her, and anger at the restaurant.
Make no mistake about it: cash-only policies hurt lower income and minority people. Even after this experience I was still sort of on the fence about it, but having mentally reviewed this episode and spelled it out here, I don't think I can continue in good conscience to shop at establishments like this anymore.
We want private businesses to deal with the homeless and mentally ill, but I’d like to see all these white collar offices open themselves up so the homeless can come hang out.
I went to Seattle’s downtown public library once, beautiful building and I would have loved to explore, but I had to leave due to the overwhelming stench of all the homeless people.
Because it subjects real people to petty indignities for no good reason.
> I went to Seattle’s downtown public library once, beautiful building and I would have loved to explore, but I had to leave due to the overwhelming stench of all the homeless people.
Some people used to think just like that about black people, so they wrote laws and put up signs to exclude them . The people at Joe & the Juice that the GGP describe are the same, but they just have to be more subtle about it.
I’m all for helping people, it just shouldn’t be the job of private businesses, especially when it’s costing them other business. Let’s build facilities to treat the mentally ill and help addicts, let’s help the homeless who have hit hard times. Let’s not make it the job of hotels and cafes and libraries to host them and play the “discrimination, but not discrimination” game.
To be perfectly frank: that justification stinks of rationalization. I'm sure that the people who put up those signs I linked also felt that the presence of black customers would have affected them negatively.
> Let’s build facilities to treat the mentally ill and help addicts, let’s help the homeless who have hit hard times.
Those laws I mentioned previously had something to say about limiting black people to special facilities built especially for them, and excluding them from facilities built for whites .
> Let’s not make it the job of...libraries to host them and play the “discrimination, but not discrimination” game.
Are you serious? Libraries are public institutions.
Libraries are for learning, community events, tutoring, many things, but having homeless people stink up the place ruins it for everyone. I don’t understand how someone can argue that society should let a group of people ruin it for everyone. It’s the same as someone walking in with speakers and blasting loud music in a library.
I don't understand how someone can make sweeping generalizations about an entire group of people, and argue that they should be excluded from "learning, community events, tutoring, many things" because of ignorant stereotyping
>It’s the same as someone walking in with speakers and blasting loud music in a library
It really isn't at all. People don't walk around blasting loud music because they don't have access to proper facilities and products to care for themselves at the same level that you are able to.
The root comment made no mention of body odor, let alone body odor so bad that it would affect other customers. It also referenced a region where the rent is so damn high that people have been driven out of stable housing and are forced to live in campers on the street . It only described a situation were a business was trying to keep "those people" out.
It seems pretty clear to me that you're engaging in negative stereotyping to justify your prejudices. Thank you for the education, it's rare in my life that I see such attitudes so openly displayed.
Why are you repeatedly implying that homeless people reek of body odor and are mentally ill when the original comment made no mention of either? It sounds a lot like the kind of excuses made about black people, jewish people, and other groups that have been stereotyped and dehumanized in order to justify poor treatment and cruelty. There are plenty of homeless people that are not mentally ill, and strive to maintain their hygiene despite not having access to the same facilities products that people take for granted. People seem to be able to get away with talking extremely poorly about homeless people, and yet if you replaced homeless with a particular race/religious group/etc you would likely be called a bigot. It sounds like you've never experienced homelessness or had family/friends that have been homeless, and your comments are ignorant and show a complete lack of empathy.
I'm more worried about the loss of privacy in a new fully accounted world without cash.
They're wielding a "cashless" policy here much in the same way states used to use things like literacy tests and poll taxes as ways to disenfranchise minority voters.
By contrast what is missing includes reliable sources of clean drinking water, reliable sources of quarters and possibly detergent that could be used to do laundry, reliable sources of personal-needs products like toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, dish soap, changes of underwear/socks since those are less-often donated to clothing distribution locations.
Indeed the argument against giving the homeless money seems to me a little strange, since it inherently places them in a distrusted role over their decisions about themselves and emphasizes your control over someone else. It's not that the argument has no merit—it still has some. But in many regards the argument is limited, simply because wisdom cannot be imposed on someone from outside but must be learned and chosen from within: if I create a sandbox for the homeless where they can only do the activities that I approve of, I might get them out of homelessness—but am I really sure that then when I send them back into the world they will fare better? Put another way, how many people go through drug rehab and then relapse? Giving someone money and saying “I don’t know if you are going to spend this on booze tonight but I trust that if you keep having opportunities like this eventually you will learn that its more wise to spend it on your laundry” may be worse overall—but it's not clear that it’s worse in the long run by a substantial margin.
> Additionally, I like eat in a clean environment if I can. I don't want to eat where it stinks to the high heavens or is dirty. It is a preference. There is nothing stopping homeless people from going cashless by simply buying a AMX card at walgreens with cash already on it.
These two arguments are at odds. Cash is not what makes stores stink or get dirty; what you're saying is that you prefer stores without people you associate with stink, ie., homeless. But if the homeless could "simply" get a card, cashless stores wouldn't have that advantage.
And the reality is that they can't; prepaid cards have monthly fees, which are only waived in certain cases (e.g. have a monthly direct deposit of over $500).
You are reading more into what I stated than what is there. I'm saying I don't care if someone is homeless or not. If they stink in a restaurant or coffee shop I don't want to eat there. That's all I said. I did not link it to the store being cashless or not. You added that in yourself.
Then I simply offered up an alternative to get around the cashless rules. Someone collecting a monthly fee from the cards does not matter as much if it's just going to be spent within the month anyway.
Many businesses have cashless as a theft prevention measure. It's only mildly more difficult for people to do transactions there if it's more difficult at all. When I was poor I preferred cashless. Nothing has changed since I'm less poor now than I was before. With cards I have recourse. With cash I have zero recourse if something is stolen or there is fraud.
Cash must be accepted. It is the only form of payment (besides cryptocurrencies) where the individual does the payment. Other forms are merely large corporations/institutions using their financial clout to signal that they will pay for something in the future. And those corporations always have perverse incentives to both sell your purchasing history to anyone that wants it as well as enact financial embargoes against arbitrary people/companies whenever even slight political or social pressure is applied.
Only accepting corporate or institutional payments is racism against non-corporate persons (humans).
The way credit/debit cards work is far different IMO.
That said, I won't be surprised if a growth sector of tomorrow's job market is in literally digitizing what didn't need to be digitized, so that Big Tech has an even bigger data pie to gorge upon.
Honestly, I'd like to see universal acceptance of cash extended into federal law.
We've three ways of paying I know of:
1. Fill at the pump, go inside (or sometimes to an outside payment booth) and pay with cash or card. Almost all manned stations offer this way of paying.
2. Start a transaction at the pump with a card. A large enough amount to fill a large car is reserved on the card.
After filling up, the real (lower) amount is confirmed and written off. (deferred sale). This is used at most unmanned stations. Also manned stations sometimes offer to pay at the pump this way, next to option 1.
3. You pay an amount up-front, at the pump with cash or card. Tricky part is you have to guess how much fuel you'll need, because there will be no refund if you use less.
I've only encountered these pre-paid-only ones at some unmanned stations on the east coast of Italy.
The main issue for me is that if society is cashless, we could get negative interest rates, and we would be at the mercy of banks. All kinds of offers and conditions could be tied to and bundled with an increasingly abstract concept of money, credit and income.
Having cash as a universally accepted backup is a good thing. That being said, I can see all the issues with the implementation - I've experienced some of them myself. But, why have we not seen any improvements? We already have mechanisms for processing cash and change automatically, vending machines do it all the time. Self-checkouts seem to manage cash just fine.
Just a speculative idea, but why not an automatic cash processing machine on the side of the main line? Tell it what the amount owed is, person can move over there and take all the time they want digging through wallets without disrupting the main flow. Possible issues with employees having to take time out for fixing issues with the machine, but then you have that problem with card processing machines anyways. Some Walmarts have both cash/card machines and card only machines - seems like a reasonable compromise.
There are clear benefits to being able to process both card and cash - why are we so fixated on getting rid of cash instead of bringing the process to the same level as card?
"The store owner agrees to adhere to the Jim Crow laws at the time they sign their articles of incorporation, or their business licenses. If they want to serve black and white people in the same space, they're free to talk their political representatives about it, or operate in a different jurisdiction."
Repeating that the law is the law is not a productive contribution to a discussion about the merit of the laws.
Laws attempt to balance the interests of the individual with those of the community, and can be influenced by the participation of the community. Jim Crow lasted as long as it did because the people that it harmed never got a vote.
For such a law to be unjust, you'll have to show some evidence of people being negatively affected by it. The only counterpoints offered by the article are concerns from Amazon, about a store that does not even exist in Philly yet.
Businesses continue to have the right to refuse service to anyone. Just don't tell them it's because they brought cash. I don't recall Jim Crow laws having such loopholes.
The upscale cashless places mentioned in the article already have most if not all of their customers using credit cards, so this law won't be losing them any customers. Although as the article says, their cashiers may have to learn how to add and subtract change every now and then.
Then ... I don't think there can be any real meeting of the minds on this :-/
I haven't stopped going to that ramen shop, and I often pay for things with a debit card anyway, but it feels wrong not to have the option to use cash.
I know that banking in the US is both weird and antiquated compared to the rest of the developed world, and I also know that the unbanked population is relatively high, but surely most low-income people can own a debit card and pay without cash, no?
I usually feel like an outsider since I generally carry no cash in an area where it feels like everyone pays for everything with cash.
Yes, and it's up to the community what kind of business practices to accept.
In the UK yes.
There are rules about the maximum you can pay in different denominations.
1p – for any amount up to 20p
2p – for any amount up to 20p
5p – for any amount up to £5
10p – for any amount up to £5
20p – for any amount up to £10
25p (Crown) – for any amount up to £10
50p – for any amount up to £10
If you wonder what 25p (Crown) is, the law dates from the early 70's which was the era we went over to decimal coinage.
A state must have a monopoly on its money. We don't let people print money and cards are an indirection, but they must still deal in US currency. The note is the most basic form of that currency.
So yes, you should need to count 1,000 pennies. You might not like it .. it may be abused, but those are the rules of the system we currently have.
There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.
Yes, this has always been the case.
Other groups to consider (not mentioned in this article) are foreign visitors and kids.
Foreign transaction fees on each transaction can add up, so it's often best to get local currency at an ATM or a bureau de change. As for kids, parents often give kids cash as a budgeting mechanism.
I avoid all gas stations that have a "cash" price.
Worst case is someone who actually accepted the clerk's sales pitch to sign up for an affinity card. That takes forever.
Credit card is usually 2-3 seconds tap and you're done, whereas cash means I have to find it, cashier has examine it, to enter the denomination into the cash register, hit button to open the cash drawer, collect the correct change (which could be a combination of bills and coins), and give it to me, close the drawer etc - minimum of 15-20 seconds per transaction. In a line up of 10, that's 3-4 minutes; in a large busy store, it can really add up.
1. Sometimes it's said in the ad world that you take your greatest weakness and market it as your strength. Airlines selling on friendliness and roominess, for example.
2. When Visa made a big push for debit cards, the TV commercials had people in a cafe moving in rhythm, and the person with cash was the person who slowed everything down.
I was a kid then and accepted it uncritically. But when I actually rethought #2 in light of #1, they basically did this. You're right, cash has pretty much always been faster than a debit card. I dunno how much this had an impact on the uptake of debit cards, but it definitely made me a bit more cynical about advertising.
: YouTube pulling through in the clutch! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jslUaywn7h4
And there are legions of time-wasting upsells regardless of how you're paying.
Septa key is their new transit card. But it can act as a debit card with money loaded via cash. No bank account required. Caveat that the kiosks aren't spread every where. But they are in enough locations.
Despite that I have barely heard mention of it during this cashless discussion. The whole crux is allowing underprivileged to access stores. Which was one of the reasons for the Key card as well.
> In February, New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres introduced legislation that would prohibit retail establishments from refusing to accept payments in cash. The council hasn’t made a decision on the bill yet, but Torres is confident that it will pass by mid-year. If it does, cashless businesses could face fines of up to $500 for every violation ... Also in February, both houses of New Jersey’s state legislature passed a similar bill and are only awaiting the governor’s signature. San Francisco has recently proposed a similar ordinance, and Washington D.C. and Chicago have also introduced legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against cash as a form of payment.
>“Most of the people who don’t have credit tend to be lower >income, minority, immigrants. It just seemed to me, if not >intentional, at least a form of discrimination,” he said. >Now, he said, stores will be required “to do what businesses >have been doing since Ben Franklin was walking the streets of >Philadelphia.”
Shame on Philadelphia for punishing innovation instead of helping low income families access banking and credit cards.
Exactly this. This is why cash is good. Anonymity.
Enjoy it while it still exists.
Perhaps some day the government might come up with some sort of usable electronic cash system, but until that day I carry around bills and coins.
Businesses are also prohibited from charging a cash processing fee higher than the processing fee of any other type of payment. Depending on how this is interpreted you could introduce an alternate form of payment that carries a high processing fee and charge the same amount to pay with cash.
Edit: Replaced joke with the technical insight it was meant to suggest due to downvote.
My assumption is that this is to protect the buying power of the unbanked - which are predominantly low-income, as I understand it.
And notes that Massachusetts has banned cashless stores since 1978
On one hand, cash is legal tender. If you're a business charging money in that currency, not accepting that currency seems wrong. Even moreso given some of the socioeconomic impacts of people not able to have bank accounts / debit cards.
On the other, this is capitalism. As a consumer, innovating towards a cashless society is a good thing, and I would be afraid that such legislation would have a chilling effect on innovation in this area. As a business, if eliminating the requirement to deal with cash makes business sense, go for it. If you're a consumer that wants to make cash transactions, or feels that others should have that ability, vote with your feet and take your business elsewhere.
At the end of the day, I'm more concerned about businesses that only accept cash. That's annoying to me as a consumer, but I wouldn't suggest legislation: I might just vote with my feet.
(I do think that public/government entities should be required to accept credit cards, though. Toll plazas, for instance. I don't always carry cash in this... increasingly cashless society.)