Cash or Card?
Gone are the days when would I would willingly waste precious time locating an ATM machine to supply me with my cash needs to fund night outs. I am one of the those early adapters to go by card, and card alone. I am that annoying customer bar staff hate, who wanders up, hands in my pocket, requesting various drinks of different varieties to suit my friends miscellaneous tastes, pointing out the right concoctions, pointing at the drinks he just served asking me to repeat for the third time which one was which. I then thank him and pull out my bank card, give it a little wave in the air to indicate I would like to pay by this method. He then rolls his eyes and slopes off to stand patiently behind the other staff member who is currently trans-acting on the one card machine of the entire bar for another person in my group.
By now the bartender truly wishes me harm and as he not only has to spent extra personal time with me waiting for the machine to print the receipt but there is no chance of a tip as I have no change to be given. Sorry about it. Also on this note, am I the only one who always accidentally cancels the transaction in an effort to avoid adding a tip? They are purposely making it confusing for customers to say no to selecting the tip. Usually after cancelling the transaction a second time - the bartender will know what I am trying to unsuccessfully do and begrudgingly move past this area for me.
I detest nothing more than lining up to withdraw money from an ATM. Why should I line up for my money? Screw that I'll pay by card. It's not my fault every bar in existence only has one card reader: they need to get with the bloody times. Another reason I prefer card is I am no longer a student and can guarantee how much I will spend on any given night out. Back in the day, I would take out 60 pounds and that would do me for the night. That's including my drinks for the night, McDonalds afterwards and even my share of the cab fare home. Lovely. Sorted. Job done. Living in London, I never know the price of anything as it changes drastically location to location. Paying by card means I don't have to do quick maths and set a budget for the night out. Also I don't end up with a bunch of coins in my pocket at the end of the night that will no doubt give to a homeless person who tells me their life story. It s happened before it will happen again.
But don't you think it's dangerous? Until very recently I did not. My logic is simply. I will only spend what I want to spend. Taking out cash from a ATM for me is automatically deducting it from any monetary value it had in my account, as soon as it lands in my wallet, it needs to be spent. Keeping it my account and going by card, I don't spent more then I need to. Again, I end up with less coppers which have been in countless peoples hands. Right here I will point out something for my Irish friends. I don't have to pay any bank charges for card transactions. Sorry about it. Not sorry.
The other weekend I was Grand Union in Brixton buying the usual round of Gin and Tonics. The night was young. I did the usually card wave in the air to signal ‘get the machine bitch’. He lined up for the one machine between 8 bartenders. He handed me the card machine and I started to enter my pin when a friend quickly stopped me and urged me to look at the amount. ( I am aware it is a bad habit to not look at the amount - a habit I have now broken after this incident. Having been urged to look at the payment balance, I saw to my horror that it was asking payment for a total of £157,573.47. What the actual fudge? Alarmed and panic, I shoved the card reader back into the barman's hand screaming about the amount on it. He looked slightly shocked, muttered sorry and re-adjusted the amount. Ridiculous no? It got me thinking, how many other times has this happened? Not to the extent of the amount above of course but a extra few pounds certainly would go unnoticed. There you go. Consider me warned. This, in no way, will mean I am giving up paying by card. It just means I will always ensure, no matter how drunk I may be, check the balance of what you're paying.