Saturday, December 22, 2007

COMMERCIALS vs. REALITY: CREDIT CARDS vs. CASH


I am so sick of the credit card commercials that have everybody doing a synchronized dance up to the cash register. Everything is in harmony, until one person tries to pay with cash. The whole line stops, as well as the background music. After the awkward stares from everyone, the "cash" person produces a card to swipe at the terminal, restoring music and harmony to the commercial.



Here's the real story. I have twice as much handwritten paperwork to do for credit card customers at my job, so it's exactly the opposite of the insipid commercial. Credit card customers take longer to process, for reasons besides the paperwork. ID requirements are strict at my job, which means I've had to make people go back to their cars for their ID, if they want to pay with a credit card. We accept debit cards, but the pinpad also takes much longer than paying cash. Are you getting the point of this post yet?



Contrary to the stupid commercials, it is actually easier to use cash, in my place of business, at least. I see these commercials as selling the opposite of what you get from using the product they're selling. It's probably convenient at the "swipe by" terminals, but I have to verify that the person is the card holder, and that takes a little more time. In plain language, credit/debit card customers hold up the line, especially when it's busy. It's clearly false advertising, which would be worthy of a lawsuit in the EU, I'm sure. (See the EU's banning of Master Card's service fees, after 40 years; but I digress)



Do the clerks in these commercials wonder if the people swiping their cards to the music are actually the people whose names are on those cards, or could they care less? What are they selling in these credit card commercials? Convenience. I've already shown that to be a fallacy.



If someone steals your cash, you only lose that asset, and perhaps any assets it secured. If someone steals your credit card number, or other electronic key to your assets, they can steal your identity, and abuse it. They can "swipe" your credit card electronically, by walking next to you, these days



Maybe I'm crazy, but I still have high confidence in the US dollar bill (not that I have many, mind you). I'd buy as many of them now, while they're cheap, as I could, were I an international investor. That's not the same as buying packaged debt securities, whether they're based on US credit card debt, or US real estate mortgages, neither of which is a good investment, currently. Just a PS, mind you.

1 comment:

BobG said...

Hey, Dhris, just wanted to wish a very merry Christmas to you and yours.