The “Haught” of Snobbery

Sep 27, 09 The “Haught” of Snobbery
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The Wall Street Journal has a story about a New York restaurant that is no longer accepting cash.  They have chosen to become one of a growing number of “plastic only” establishments.  Named Commerce, the owners of this haughty tabernacle of fine dining are obviously not versed in the art of spin.  The Wall Street Journal has a priceless quote from the co-owner, Tony Zazula.  “If you don’t have a credit card, you can use a debit card.  If you don’t have a debit card, you probably don’t have a checking account.  And if you don’t have a checking account, you probably shouldn’t be eating at Commerce to begin with.”  This type of unbridled arrogant snobbery is so quaint that it belongs in a children’s museum.  However, it does underlie an interesting trend.  Are we moving toward a cashless society?

About two years ago, I was walking down Michigan Avenue in Chicago.  Michigan Avenue has dozens of high-end stores that cater to a wealthy (or fake it till you make it) clientele.  Having a small amount of disposable income, I went into Macy’s in order to buy the new Burberry cologne.  Well, Macy’s didn’t sell it, but the nice woman informed me that I could purchase it from the Burberry store just down the street.  I went into the very small store, picked out the cologne that I wanted, and went to the register in order to pay for it.  I was quoted a price and pulled out a few twenty-dollar bills.  Imagine my surprise when I was informed that I had to go into a literal backroom because the main register did not take cash.  No, the “cash register” was not broken.  I was ushered into a smoky employee break room in the back of the Burberry store and purchased my cologne as if I was conducting a back alley drug deal.

I say that, to say this.  Few airlines still accept cash for purchases made on the airplane.  Many other stores make it extremely difficult to conduct transactions with cash.  There are those who worry about moving to a cashless society.  I don’t subscribe to their theories, but my momma always told me to keep a couple of dollars in my pocket.  “What if you gotta make a phone call,” she’d say.  Speaking of which, has anybody seen a pay phone lately?  Eh…

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