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When is the last time you used cash to make a purchase? Go ahead, look in your wallet and compare the plastics to the papers. With which of those do you use to make most of your purchases?
That little plastic debt-machine in your wallet was introduced in 1950. Since its introduction, it’s lauded you points, airline miles, and cash back on nearly all of our purchases.
If you’re using the right card at the right time, you can get 4 percent back on your purchases. If you have the airline’s credit card, they may award you double — even triple — miles on purchase of travel with them.
It’s made shopping both fun and easy.
Walk over to your most convenient of convenience stores, grab a bag of chips and a soda, swipe your card, and you’re out in seconds.
No need to count the change and forget the receipts — just go online and check your account.
Need to order something online? Type in those 16 digits, and Amazon will have that tchotchke shipped and at your door within 48 hours.
And unlike the greenbacks, you know where your plastic has been.
According to Time Magazine, that $10 bill in your pocket has an 80 percent chance of containing trace amounts of cocaine. Researchers swabbed $1 bills from a bank in New York City and found a variety of micro-organisms, some of which cause acne. They also identified pathogens such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella and staphylococcus aureus.
So, what’s the down side?
All of those points you’ve built up over the last year come at a cost. Mr. and Mrs. drugstore owners are paying 2 to 4 percent on every transaction.
That means the price of your bag of chips and soda went up 3 percent when you swiped that card.
A business that pulls in $1 million in a year in credit card business lost $30,000 to the banks that serve them. That’s enough money to hire another full-time employee.
We’re lucky to live in a community that supports small, locally-owned businesses.
We’re mostly free from giant corporations and their big-box stores. The businesses here are generally owned and operated by your neighbors. That’s a precious and unusual thing these days.
You see these business men and women at the grocery store and and your kids’ basketball games.
You’ve probably seen them dancing at the Cake Picnic or brushed elbows while catching an evening flick at the Rose.
Every time you hit, “purchase with one click,” it weakens our community.
So be a responsible holiday shopper this year: shop locally and use cash.
And please, for your own sake, wash your hands.