When Did Cash Get Dethroned?

Cash is King

By Chuck Roy

This weekend, Nancy and I traveled to Austin for our much-anticipated Easter weekend with our family.

Of course, it is all about the grandkids nowadays as the others are far too old to be bothered with finding a few hundred highly decorated, yet hidden, eggs.

We never miss an opportunity to celebrate Easter and the half dozen family birthdays that surround the day – I think our family members have 6 birthdays within the next 30-days. One large party seems to make the most sense.

And a larger party for us begins with boiled crawfish, with all of the accouterments, and beer. Call it the Louisiana-American way.

What was not American, at least in my older-than-most mind, is that when I went to buy a case, or 10, of beer at an Austin beer emporium, my cash was turned away with, “Sorry, we do not accept cash here.”

What, my cash is no good? Do you want me to take it home and launder it?

Since my college days, I did pretty much everything in, or very near to, a liquor store. Having my cash declined is truly a first ever experience.

Now, I have often joked that, “My credit is so bad, that my cash had to be called-in for approval.” But that was a joke. The 20-something Dude behind the counter wasn’t joking and he made me feel like a senile old fellow that just fell off the turnip truck.

I probably would have accepted it as a compliment if I had been asked for an ID to prove that I wasn’t too old to buy beer, but this refusal of my cash payment in a most disingenuous manner was a slap in my proletariat looking face.

Really, who doesn’t remember when cash was King – When did it get dethroned? Did the inflation lead to an assassination?

Austin, Texas, prides itself in being weird. It is even on their custom license plates, “Keep Austin Weird.” I am not kidding, the license plate is just below the Dude’s BMW emblem and just left of the car’s bumper sticker, “Vote Biden-Harris.”

Weird is Ok, just so long as it doesn’t get really weird, like bringing back Prohibition.

Apparently, it is too inconvenient for this Dude’s store management to handle all that nasty cash. Yeah, too much trouble counting, separating and taking all those tens and twenties to the bank. And the horror of actually touching all of those germ ridden pieces of paper and bits of metal is more than this Austin establishment was willing to withstand.

When this pizza-faced individual, aka Dude, convinced me that he was serious about my cash being unacceptable, he proceeded to lecture me on why the new wallet I got for Christmas in 2014 was not an e-wallet because it did not have a Payment Gateway in the little slot reserved for my Driver’s License.

I felt like an idiot Neanderthal. I now need a Payment Gateway to guzzle my case of beer? My Amex, VISA, Master Card, and debit cards were also not welcomed as they charged the store an outrageous service fee. “We need to maintain our margins,” said Dude and the Dudette who had now joined us.

I had to learn that Venmo was more sanitary, that PayPal was a portal of choice, and that Apple Pay was tasty, FaceBook Pay was fantastic as was MasterPass, Visa Checkout, and Amex Checkout. The Dude lectured me that I was either going to have to give up drinking, stop doing business at “his” store, or get “with the program.”

Or maybe, from this old man’s perspective, simply do not forget that it says, “This note is legal tender, etc.” right there on the dollar bill.

Long live the King.