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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Your money is no good here

At first I thought it was a joke. The person at the register across the way at Best Buy was saying she would take credit and debit cards. I laughed when I told the guy at the register I went to that that I had the old-fashioned green stuff.

The joke was on me.

"I don't have a cash drawer," he said.

No signs, by the way, to warn you that anyone with that filthy, germ-laden paper was destined to be shuffled off to some special line somewhere in the nether regions of the store. Out came the credit card and we were off.

It's now a running gag with a younger colleague. I'm the guy who messes up the smooth and swift lines in those Visa commercials. She swipes lunch, snacks, you name it on her debit card.

Cash? Only when she goes out to dinner with a group and needs to settle up her tab. No need to worry about balancing a checkbook, she says. It's all on line.

I, on the other hand, am the Neanderthal. My Declaration of Financial Independence was getting a checkbook. It's tough enough to do the math, let alone cope with a gazillion small pieces of paper to make sure the darn thing is balanced. But I learned it that way and I will welcome the electronic age in every way -- except one.

OK, I am a devoted follower of ATMs -- seeing an unhappy bank teller got old a long time ago. Ditto direct deposit of the paychecks. I just spent too much time shredding old pay stubs to even want to see them.

But I draw the line on paying my bills on line. Perhaps it was the psychic scars when a former employer (in Chapter 11 at the time) decided upon direct withdrawal. It all worked out fine in the end, but I have no great desire to give NStar or Citibank or some corporate giant the keys to my cookie jar.

So I carry around pictures on Andy and Alex (and Abe and George). Getting old sucks. But not as much as getting ripped off. Or even worrying about it.

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