Customers Face Payment Predicament As Retailers Snub Cash

Posted On: 1/4/2019

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A recent Wall Street Journal article underscored the value for vending operators to continue to accommodate all forms of payment customers have in their pockets.  The paper cited how retailers who no longer accept cash are putting customers without other payment options in an awkward situation, making them feel humiliated and annoyed, and simply turning many away.
 
Among them is Drybar blow-out salon in Los Angeles, where a woman who had her hair blown out had workers in a tizzy when she said she could only pay with the cash in her pocket. A cashless fellow customer intervened by using her own form of payment for the blowout in exchange for the woman's cash.
 
"More and more businesses like Drybar don't want your money -- the paper kind at least. It's making things awkward for those who come ill prepared," according to the WSJ article. "After all, you can't give back a hairdo, an already dressed salad or the two beers you already drank."
 
WSJ also cited the salad chain Sweetgreen, which has stopped accepting cash in nearly all its locations, and a Starbucks store that went cashless at a Seattle location last January.
 
Retailers who have instituted cashless policies says it makes for a faster experience for customers and for employees and reduces theft.
 
But, WSJ reported, despite the popularity of debit- and credit-card transactions, cash represented 30% of all transactions and 55% of those under $10, according to a Federal Reserve survey of 2,800 people conducted in October 2017. And  while U.S. banknotes feature the words, "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private," there's no federal law that says businesses have to accept cash, according to the Federal Reserve's website.
 
Massachusetts is the only state that currently requires retailers to accept cash and some New Jersey legislators have similar legislation in the works. In New York City, Councilman Ritchie Torres has introduced legislation that would prohibit retailers and restaurants from refusing cash, arguing that not accepting cash is discriminatory against people without bank accounts and credit cards, and those who simply wish to keep their transactions more private.
 
Legislators in Washington, DC, and Philadelphia have also proposed similar legislation.
 
Click here to read the WSJ article.