Last week in New York, a woman was allegedly punched by a cabbie after she realized she didn’t have cash to pay her fare and tried to use her credit card. According to the victim, Tamara Perez, the cabbie refused to allow her to use her credit card, claiming that he didn’t know how to use the credit card machine. He tried to force her out of the cab to get cash, and when she tried to call her husband for help, he shoved her and then reportedly punched her in the face. Obviously, if this story is true, the cab driver’s behavior was abhorrent.
This story brings to mind all the times I’ve gone days or more without any cash in my wallet. I can remember a time when I wouldn’t have dreamed of “charging” a cup of coffee. If I didn’t have cash, I’d either hit the ATM, or go without. Now it seems like no one in the US carries cash anymore, and most people don’t think twice about pulling out their debit or credit card at McDonalds. Just look at the commercials showing people who pull out cash in the cafeteria wreaking havoc on all the other happy, card swiping customers. It’s no wonder no one can count back change anymore.
I keep resolving that my wife and I should actually carry cash for emergencies or small purchases, but it doesn’t seem to happen very often. How about you? Do you carry cash, or do you swipe your card for everything? What do you think about all the “fast pay” options enticing you to scan, swipe or wave your card in front of a reader, instead of reaching for cash – a good idea or a very bad one?