To carry cash, or not to carry cash, that is the question when it comes to city living. This quandary put me at a HORRIBLE disadvantage at my library recently, no I didn’t have late fees, how dare you even think that *squinty eyes*, full story in a bit.
But most urban dwelling folks I know NEVER have cash, which makes splitting dinner with girlfriends a pain of 5 separate credit cards, and occasionally prompts hubby and I to glare at each other in frustration when it comes to taking a cab home from the bars.
I would be pissed at DC for not having credit card readers in their cabs like Boston, New York, and Chicago do (I’ve been to all three cities in the past 4 weeks!) but at this time I’m just too grateful that DC is now using METERS instead of the horrible zones system to calculate the fare. Yeah, that made NO sense and it’s sad that I’m so grateful for something that should have been a basic human right all along.
/dc taxi rant.
I’ve also gotten over my fear of charging really small amounts to my credit card. For some reason I got this weird sense of guilt for charging $2.02 on my card for an iced coffee, I would always try to pay cash. Lastly, when hubby and I combined our lives and finances in marriage he said he prefers we charge EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to the credit card to keep track of our expenses better – all bills, all carryout dinners, all grocery runs even if its just for milk, we even got the dogwalker to open up a paypal account. Plus we’re earning a shit-ton of miles and points! It’s actually great, VERY clear where all our money goes. We may or may not have even had a competition to see who could spend the least in a month (yes, I realize this is like the babysitter having a competition with the kids to see who could be the quietest for an hour) and I may or may not have cheated by spending cash every now and then to make my credit card bill seem lower. When I confessed to him I cheated at the end of the month turns out hubby did the exact same thing. We were destined to be together, I tell ya!
And then the reason I hide deep down inside for not carrying cash: getting mugged. This happens often enough in DC that I get really nervous if I’m carrying a lot of cash. Cards can be replaced, money can’t.
Everything is for purchase with plastic, I rarely even come across those signs that say $5 minimum purchase with credit card. After living in the city for 5 years I can’t think of any times I’ve truly been thwarted by “cash only” places. The Amsterdam Falafelshop in Adams Morgan only takes cash, but I have places like that memorized so I can plan in advance. Plus they have an ATM in their store, and again, living in the city means there is an ATM of some type on every block.
Here’s where my library comes in – *shaking fist at sky in frustration* I was trounced soundly and thoroughly last week by the WORST KIND OF CASH ONLY situation a lusty reader ever could be:
A sign like that for a lusty reader like me was like finding El Dorado, like an oasis in the middle of a desert, like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, like all my brithday wishes and prayers coming true…ok enough with the hyperbole, you get what I’m saying. NOT ONLY that, but this was the first day of the sale! Look how FULL the shelves are!
And guess what, y’all?! I DIDN’T HAVE A DOLLAR TO MY NAME. Not one stingy bill, not 4 quarters, not 10 dimes, believe me I LOOKED. I shook out my giant work purse and scrounged like a beggar. Nada. Zip, Zilch. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried a little.
I got to the library when I was already 45 minutes into my lunch break. I know the area around my office well and since it’s sadly 30 minutes outside DC it was too suburb-y so there was nary an ATM be found nearby.I would have had to take like a 2 hour lunch break to go out and get money, go back to the library, then walk back to work.
I made a stack of the EIGHT books I couldn’t live without and kindly asked if I could “put them on hold.” My request was kindly denied. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried a little more. The librarian tried to comfort me by explaining this was their “small book sale” to clear out some inventory for their “BIG book sale later in the Fall,” but the sea of books for sale spread out before me, and the pile of 8 in my arms required instant gratification on my end and nothing else could appease me.
Don’t worry, I wasn’t crying throughout the whole conversation. I promise.
1. I’ve tried carrying “emergency $20” before, but always either a) use it for non emergencies or b) regardless what I use it for, I never replace it.
2. Now this is the worst, I would understand if wanted to squeeze out a few tears in sympathy for me. I WENT BACK THE NEXT DAY AND THE BOOK SALE WAS GONE.
Yeah, let that sink in.
GONE! GONE WITH THE WIND! Turns out not only was this the first day of the sale, but also the only one.
Hubby tried to comfort me by pointing out we don’t have any more shelf space, each shelf is double stacked, and my bed-side table and dresser-top are already overrun with piles of books, so I don’t really need anymore, do I?
I’m sure you’ll agree the librarian’s promise of future, bigger book sales was a much better comfort. He tries, he really tries, but he does not get what being a lusty reader really means.
And that is the story. Of the time. I FAILED the city-living question of whether to carry cash or not. BIG time.