Saturday, June 17, 2006

Cash vs Electronic

I'm a little annoyed by all the inserts in my bills each month urging me to "sign up for Easy Pay!" or "Kwik Pay!" or "Hassle-Free Web-Pay!" or whatever their brand of electronic payment is called. It's not that I don't appreciate all the trouble they've gone through to make my life easier ("You can spend more time at the lake instead of stuck at home paying bills!") or to save me all the money I spend on postage when I mail them a check. Maybe then I could retire earlier, and spend even more time at the lake! Many restaraunts and convenience stores as well as gas stations no longer accept personal checks.

I read in last Sunday's newspaper that some companies now pay their employees through "payroll cards", which contain their wages in "stored value" and can be used at ATM's or to make purchases. My employer encourages, but doesn't
(yet) require, automatic deposit of our paychecks, and when I return something I bought at Menard's I can never get cash back, just an "in-store credit voucher."

I like to mail in the payment for my electric bill when I have the money in my account, and I don't want it withdrawn automatically. I don't like anybody withdrawing money from my account automatically.
Whatever happened to cash money? I like to keep a little around the house in case of a freak snowstorm or power outage or other unforseen event, of if the kids or a friend would need to borrow some in a hurry. Maybe they can't wait ten business days for the money to be transferred from my account to theirs.

I was hoping I'd be able to talk about this irritant without mentioning the book of Revelation, because much of that book is so far over my head that I really have no idea what it meant to the original readers or what it means to us. But there IS that part about no one being "able to buy or sell, save him that receives the mark of the beast." Conspiracy? Paranoia? Well, maybe both I don't know. I don't know how receiving a "666" or "616" or any other mark on my hand or forehead would mark me, a Christian, as a follower of the Beast. But it's written there for some reason.

Is having all of my transactions pass electronically from a barcode or microchip in my right hand through some database controlled by the Antichrist the only way I'll be able to "buy or sell"? Well, jeez, ya know a guy needs groceries... No, I don't know, that could happen but it seems a little iffy to me right now. My main concern is that from time to time my computer has crashed, and I've lost valuable data. What if that happens with this huge, mega-financial giant world-wide database with all of our financial and personal information (think retirement fund)? I can't reach under my mattress (no, that's not really where it is!) and grab some money to buy my groceries if they won't accept cash money. And if I use paper dollars instead of EDU's (electronic devil-units) how will the Antichrist know that I bought more oatmeal that morning? That really is a big privacy thing, by the way. Not with the Antichrist but I mean with electronic transactions. Someone knows where you shop and when and what you buy and how often. It's crazy!

That was a long way to go to say, "I like cash. It's convenient, it's anonymous, and it never crashes or has technical difficulties. Why can't we just keep using it?"


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