I Remember Cash

There was a story on our local news last night about how a high school worker at a Dairy Queen helped spot someone trying to use counterfeit $100 bills. As part of the news story, the on-scene reporter showed how to hold the bills up to the light and check for several different watermarks. Apparently, these watermarks and new design are all the way down to a five dollar bill now. I didn’t know. I don’t remember the last time I used cash to pay for anything other than parking downtown. And the reason I use cash there isn’t because I have no other options. I could use a credit card. I would, except that when I’m in line to get in and I have to wait for someone to scan a card, I get annoyed. I refuse to be that guy, the hypocrite, who complains and then does the same thing himself.

Yesterday, at the express-self-checkout of our grocery store, a woman wrote out a check. As I watched her look at her total price, write the check, take it to the cashier, and walk back to collect her bags, I noticed I had developed a small tic in my left eye. Because it took an extra 15 seconds.

When Rhiannon and I are at the checkout together, we had a strong sense of pride about how fast we can actually get ten items scanned, bagged and paid for. We even know some of the produce codes by heart. And a credit card doesn’t require a signature, so it makes it all that much faster.

Our finances are pretty automated. If I kept track of our cash on hand from month-to-month, it would probably be the same twenty-dollar bill that we’ve had laying around for the past half year.

But the lady who wrote out the check, I imagine that if you asked her how much she spent in the store as she was walking out – she would probably know. Me, I could probably tell you how much it was to the nearest 10 dollars, but even that might be a guess based on what I know I just purchased and how much it all was.

Maybe slowing down and realizing that you’re actually spending money once in a while isn’t such a bad thing.