Image from PCMag: From "skimmers" to "shimmers" ...
On being wise as well as bold
All that "shimmers" is not gold.
(Apologies to Shakespeare)
APNews: As cashless stores grow, so does the backlash
I don't usually focus on just one article, but I take exception to so many assumptions in this one that I feel duty-bound to rebut the dang thing.
The very first line is misleading: "no person can be left out." Sounds good, eh? It implies that all have equal rights, but what it really means is that everyone must be equally obedient to the system in order for it to be fully functional.
Hembert Figueroa has learned this lesson the hard way:
The man literally had to stand aside, holding onto his taco, hoping for the kindness of strangers, one of whom eventually did offer to take his cash and pay for his food using a card.
It's a relief to learn that:
See the assumption being made there? That people who use cash don't have bank accounts or cards and so have no other option than to use cash?
What about people, like myself, who do have a bank account and a credit card but still prefer to pay by cash because, for one thing, it gives them better control over their spending? It's too easy to lose track of purchases when using a credit card so that a month down the road one has to worry about whether or not one might have been a bit hasty. Oh, well, one might say; at least one doesn't have to pay it off in one shot.
And that's what's called a "slippery slope".
Is it worth it to also have to worry about one's private information being readable and recorded by machines in every place doing business in the world? What about people, like myself, who voluntarily live on a set allowance so as not to risk ending up in debt? That was, at one time, considered the height of personal responsibility, not to mention respectability. Now people are actually goaded into irresponsibility solely for profit purposes.
And if that doesn't concern you, then what about people who don't want to pull out a card in public any more than necessary because of the risk of having it scanned by a card reader in the hands of a dirty crook standing in line behind them?
You think this is paranoia? Read on, my friend.
If Amazon truly is the motivator behind this highly undemocratic system, then Amazon is the first place people should cease doing business, and after that, all the wanna-be Amazons.
It's far too easy to lose control of one's own finances when every purchase made is done with a card. When you know it's almost the end of the month, and you have only a twenty-dollar bill left from the allowance you gave yourself, you govern yourself accordingly. But most people have no idea just how much they've overspent until they get the credit card statements.
And that's why Canadians topped the list in 2017 of the biggest debtors in the world:
It stands to reason that the situation has not likely improved since 2017.
Oh, well, you don't have to pay it all at once, do you? That's the beauty of credit, eh? But then you end up paying more for the items you bought, because of the added interest. But that's the nature of Debt, and it's the reason so many people are so dangerously in it.
Not to mention that, primarily because of credit and bank cards, personal privacy has become a thing of the past.
But even where you are allowed to use cash, you may be asked to provide your telephone number or your postal code for the store's information. I personally don't like having to say my telephone number out loud in a line with strangers listening in. I get enough nuisance calls as it is. And I live alone, and am a senior citizen who knows there's such as thing as "Reverse LookUp" where people can find my address just by punching in my phone number on this Canada411 page.
I could further enrich Bell Canada by paying more for an unlisted number, but why should I have to? Where do stores get the gall to ask for the personal information of their customers? And why do customers feel they must comply?
It used to be that during election time it was accepted practice for a list of voters and their addresses to be posted on telephone poles so that the whole neighbourhood could check it out. As I grew older and a bit more savvy and bold, I phoned up the election centre and pointed out how that made single women vulnerable, and it wasn't long before that practice ended. I'm not taking credit for that, because surely I could not have been the only one to complain, and it was a Liberal government at the time (when the first Trudeau was a big item) and we all know how politically correct they like to appear to be.
(Here's an aside about Pierre Trudeau. He was PM for a total of 15 years, 164 days; in other words for most of my daughter's life when she was in her teens. Being then old enough to become aware of politics and elections, she was astounded that the PM had to be voted for. She thought he was something like a King who just was always in charge. That's how long that guy prevailed, and why his son imagines he's the current king of the jungle.)
What stymies me is how obediently most people do things they don't have to do. Even Mr. Figueroa of the taco purchase has conceded he will do what's required of him in future to obtain his lunch. I hope he doesn't have kids who want to get post-secondary education and need a part-time job to get by on when cashier jobs, personal service, and money itself no longer exist.
What will proliferate and profit greatly are "debt consolidation" companies. Along with all the places you do business, they too know everything about you, so don't be surprised when they high-pressure you and lie to you about how they are going to help you get out of debt. The number of telemarketing calls you already receive will increase, and, apparently, you don't know what high-pressure sales is until you've let one of those crooks bend your ear.
Scroll down this Gov't of Canada financial advice page to the section titled: "Tips to avoid taking on more debt". You'll find out what to do in order to avoid getting into a situation where your finances require the ministrations of a debt consolidation shyster.
But here's the government's best advice of all:
See that? "Use cash"! How much longer they will be saying that, though, is anybody's guess.
We need also to be educated regarding criminals who use "card readers" (Read sections 14 through 17):
And then there are "shimmers" (PCMagazine) - probably from the word "shim" (a thin wedge of material for driving into crevices) reportedly sometimes located in ATM booths.
I'm hoping to see a real backlash among cash users, and some articles that don't make them out to be throwbacks or down-and-outers. As to card use being more efficient and therefore speedier: this throwback (moi), who uses cash, completes her transactions at the supermarket a lot faster than many card users I've seen, because they often don't have much of a clue about what they're doing, or they insert a card that's already reached its limit, or they can't remember their pin, or they want cash back but don't know how to do it ...
Not having a clue is dangerous to your freedom!
Related on YYC: The Future of Filthy Lucre
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