All Change

A staff member stood at the entrance to Wilko, apologising that the computers were down and they were only taking cash. I was vindicated, smugly waltzing in with a £20 note in my purse. Anybody who has been to Wilko’s will know you can get quite a few things for £20.

How many of us have been ’treated’ to a meal by younger relatives only to see them turn from the till and say ‘Have you got any cash on you, the card machine is broken.’

Will cash be phased out, should it disappear? Covid hastened the avoidance of real money in those early pandemic days, when we were told to avoid touching anybody or anything. Even shops that had been cash only started accepting cards. Anyone who has hands that don’t work properly, whether through stiff joints or peripheral neuropathy, will ruefully remember their school days; Saturday shop jobs when they were amused to see old people tip the whole contents of their purse onto the counter, as they could not see the coins properly. Swiping your piece of plastic, phone or watch could be seen as a great way to avoid fumbling around as the queue at the till builds up behind you. So why should we preserve the Royal Mint?

How can children learn about money if they can’t see it and see their pocket money disappear when they buy comics and sweets? Who doesn’t look back fondly at jobs where their weekly pay came in a brown envelope. If your salary goes straight in the bank you never see your hard earned money.

You may be reluctant to buy a coffee if you have to break into a shiny new note, but loose change is handy, vital for lots of things. Putting the smallest coins in your piggy bank probably won’t amount to a holiday, but you can have fun pouring the contents into a Coinstar machine or taking a bagful of coins to an amusement arcade. If you are selling raffle tickets at your club’s evening event you hope everyone has real money in their pockets. At the library coffee morning there may be glares if you have no coins to drop in the ‘voluntary contribution‘ tin.  Then there are the times parents have used a coin to unlock the door of the cubicle in the public toilets when their child was locked in…

Counting up other times I need cash there is the Big Issue seller ( yes I know some of them have card machines now, but ours haven’t ) , spending less than £5 at the greengrocers and putting a pound in the saucer for the Wick Ferry.

Money is part of our national identity and a highlight of your first holiday abroad is working out the ‘foreign money.’

Do you take cash out with you? Wads of notes because you are laundering money or just a fiver and a few coins?

26 thoughts on “All Change

  1. Guilty as charged. I only carry a small amount of cash these days and often none, having fallen slave to the fantastic plastic debit card. However I fear we will soon be hoist on our own petard and have our financial fate at the whim of banks and governments. Lionel Shriver’s book ‘The Mandibles’, set in the near future, gives a frightening insight into what that world will be like.
    Top-up cash cards are part of the solution to hiding your purchase data from vendors but to be truly secure they need to be topped up with cash. Catch-22, eat your heart out.
    The only long-term solution is to lobby politicians to create laws that:
    a) Make it impossible to outlaw cash
    b) Make it mandatory that all vendors must accept cash
    c) Only allow vendors to harvest credit and debit card purchase data that cannot be traced to a particular individual.
    One can only hope the demonetisation debacle in India sharpens their minds considerably.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Doug, I confess I use my card quite often, to save keep getting cash out. Of course cards themselves are old fashioned as people use their phones and watches… and probably chips embedded in a body part of their choice soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the perfect companion to my recent discussion on a local community group following the closure of yet another bank branch in the area. An ignorant 20 something insisted there was no need for branches because you can do your banking on your phone, innit!
    What about the elderly, disabled, non-techy or even those who had a question the computer couldn’t answer? ‘Let them eat cake,’ would have gone right over his head. 😀 I had a quick smirk at the thought of you waltzing in waving your ‘proper money’ note. Did they manage to work out the correct change?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha, I always wonder what happens if you lose your phone! A friend went into a real bank hoping for real service and the human directed him to a machine. When he objected she offered to help him through the process and asked him to give her his phone. When he handed over his vintage unsmart mobile she burst out laughing! But it’s their jobs we are trying to save.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s so easy and convenient now just to swipe a card. Yes, I think cash will indeed be phased out, but not in the immediate future. Shops don’t take cheques anymore, and some I’ve found do not take cash either. It’s called ‘progress’, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Stevie it certainly is, not like the days when you had to put your card on the cumbersome machine with bits of paper and carbon to take an imprint of the card! How much easier or harder it might be for shops to take cards I don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. When I was in Morrisons on Friday, I was approached by a charity collector who had permission to be inside the store. I told him I had no change, as I rarely carry any money at all. He smiled, and produced a contactless machine. For his enterprise, I gave him a couple of quid for the charity.
    Last year in Lincolnshire on holiday, we took along a bag of change just for paying car park fees. But many of the car parks had changed to ‘Pay by phone only’. This is a cumbersome system where you have to text your card details to the local council and await a confirmation reply text that you have paid. (Or face a hefty fine) As we couldn’t get a mobile phone signal, we had to drive out of them without visiting the place or attraction.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Contactless machines are indeed spreading! Christchurch Priory has a collection box where you can put coins in or swipe to donate a fiver; as they have just acquired lovely new toilets and have a nice cafe, I don’t mind swiping occasionally. I can just imagine the car park situation, that happened to us years ago, heading back down south, anticipating a nice lunch break and stroll round York. We couldn’t figure out how to pay with phones and ended up just nipping in the toilets and leaving.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When my mother died I inherited what felt like an enormous sum – it wasn’t really but when the end of every month was nerve wracking that kind of buffer was a godsend! I asked the bank if I could see what it looked like in real notes because just figures on a statement didn’t seem real. They refused! I suppose I could have insisted on withdrawing it in cash and then paying it back into my account but I felt their disapproval so strongly I didn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We most certainly seem to be headed towards a cashless society. I admit to using my debit card for most transactions. What seems to happen, at least to me, is that I lose track of exactly how much I’ve spent. This didn’t happen when I paid with cash.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Mark, yes I use my debit card a lot. When we were on a tight budget with the family at home we kept all our receipts and I obsessively kept a daily tally. Now I only check once a month. It is so easy to forget the money is coming out of your bank account.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s