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Cash or Credit?


Barbara
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OMG--- tonight I received a phone call from a restaurant for which I have a reservation during RW. Well, not only were they confirming five days in advance, they told me I had to give a credit card to maintain my reservation. The request took me aback. If the requirement had been set out on the OpenTable system when I made the reservation, I probably would not have for my own personal reasons not that I plan on canceling my reservation.

The caller was a bit rude when I said I was not comfortable giving them my information considering the reservation was made without the requirement. During the course of our conversation she told me that so far 15 reservations have been cancelled on account of the request. Now there are two ways to look at the cancellations (1) the people who made them were eventually going to cancel or (2) the people cancelled because of the request. I have friends going with me on Friday so I didn't cancel. I reluctantly gave the caller my credit card number but regret doing so...

I NEVER give my CC number out to somebody who calls me out of the blue. Or, sends me an email. When I made an Opentable ressie with Corduroy for NYE, it was part of the site that I had to give it up because it was NYE. No problem. I consider this the same as the fake emails I get from "PayPal." Whenever I get one of these, and I do often, I just forward it to spoof@paypal.com. It always turns out to be a phony phishing thing.

Coupled with the thread about the cost to restaurants for using CC or Debit Cards, can we have a consensus that using CASH is the ethical way to pay for our meals--particularly at the places we just adore?

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Coupled with the thread about the cost to restaurants for using CC or Debit Cards, can we have a consensus that using CASH is the ethical way to pay for our meals--particularly at the places we just adore?

I am not so sure it is an ethics things, but it sure saves the restaurant folks a bunch of cash. And this should be standard practice when the board has an event at a restaurant.

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Coupled with the thread about the cost to restaurants for using CC or Debit Cards, can we have a consensus that using CASH is the ethical way to pay for our meals--particularly at the places we just adore?
I understand that credit cards cost restaurants a lot of money, but there is no way I am going to walk around my neighborhood in the middle of the night with loads of cash in my pockets. Also, restaraunts make much more money off of me now than they would if I were to have to acknowledge how much money I would be spending prior to going out and having a drink or two.
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I am not so sure it is an ethics things, but it sure saves the restaurant folks a bunch of cash. And this should be standard practice when the board has an event at a restaurant.
When it's an event such as $20 Tuesday or Dim Sum Sunday if people can pay by cash that is always easier. But when it comes to HH at Corduroy, Firefly, Kolumbia, etc. that isn't always a realistic option. Like lackadasi, there is no way I am going to carry enough cash to cover what I think I may spend that night at HH. Besides, I think we can agree that if having to pay by cash keeps members from coming to an event, we would rather have them come and pay via CC.

As for events where prepayment from members is required, payment to the restaurant varies from venue to venue. I work with the restaurant to determine if they would prefer cash or credit and go from there. Most restaurants do not have a problem with one payment via credit card. If you have any other questions on this feel free to PM me.

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I am not so sure it is an ethics things, but it sure saves the restaurant folks a bunch of cash.

There are a lot of studies which show that consumers spend a good deal more $ when they use plastic as opposed to cash. There is something psychologically screwy going on when folks think about the wad of twenties they'll have to lay down immediately as opposed to a piece of plastic that goes back into the wallet with no financial impact until they see their statement later. The restaurants do get hit with absurd transaction fees, but the bottom line may still be better than that of a cash only operation.

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It is just the cost of doing business. There are credit card processors that charge between 2.5 and 7%. Hopefully they have been wise enough to look for the lower rates.

I also would never carry cash around. As mentioned above it helps not hurts an establishment for the consumer to be able to pay by credit as it doesn't seem to hurt as much!

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Just to be a jerk, I'd like to point out how annoying it is when nobody has cash and everybody's trying to get their airline miles on my meal. Mrs. B and I have lived in the most dangerous neighborhoods you can imagine since the early 80's, with a grand total of two muggings. I'm not concerned about the establishment's cut -- that's their problem -- but the whole dueling credit card thing at the end of dinner can get a little absurd. I think many waiters are very patient.

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Just to be a jerk, I'd like to point out how annoying it is when nobody has cash and everybody's trying to get their airline miles on my meal. Mrs. B and I have lived in the most dangerous neighborhoods you can imagine since the early 80's, with a grand total of two muggings. I'm not concerned about the establishment's cut -- that's their problem -- but the whole dueling credit card thing at the end of dinner can get a little absurd. I think many waiters are very patient.
My parents (and my inlaws) both lived through the Depression and credit was something taken seriously. Maybe I'm a bit obsessive, but I try to carry enough cash to pay for my meal in the event a credit card doesn't work for some reason. We generally pay for full meals ($50+) with a credit card, but if I alone am getting a burger and beer somewhere I pay cash. I used to pay for cc meals with a cash tip, but I don't do it anymore because of the convenience of adding it to the card and not really knowing what the restaurant does with the tips.

I don't really want to walk around with a huge amount of cash, but I use cash for many more transactions than my husband does and, consequently, usually have some on hand. If I have a $40 dinner tab, I usually have enough cash to pay that.

And don't get me started on dinner companions who expect the waiter to do all the work to divide up the bill (I don't mean separate checks. Oh, don't get me started :lol: )

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I don't mind charging a meal on my credit card, or more likely my debit card that is the cost of doing business in this day and age. However, I like to leave the tip in cash if I have planned correctly so that the servers won't be penalized in any way for my use of a convenience. Doesn't always work but at least I try.

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Mrs. B and I have lived in the most dangerous neighborhoods you can imagine since the early 80's, with a grand total of two muggings.
There's something very chilling to me about this sentence. (knocking on wood here) I was mugged once, in the 70s, and I would not dismiss two such experiences as if they were no big deal. Maybe that's not what you meant.
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It is just the cost of doing business.
This is my take on it. I don't see there as being an 'ethics' issue in how I pay for my meal.

If a restaurants weighs out the risks and benefits of taking credit cards and decides that the risks outweigh the benefits, then they state they accept cash only. I'm then at liberty to decide whether that works for me (is it too big an inconvenience to have on hand the amount of cash necessary to cover my meal?).

If the restaurant decides the benefits outweigh the risks, I assume they factor the additional cost of accepting credit cards into their pricing structure. If they're not smart enough to do that, then I won't be surprised when they go out of business. It doesn't mean I won't be sad, but I'm not going to start carrying around wads of cash because a restaurant accepts credit cards, but doesn't price their food to cover the additional cost of this so I need to be sure to help them out.

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There's something very chilling to me about this sentence. (knocking on wood here) I was mugged once, in the 70s, and I would not dismiss two such experiences as if they were no big deal. Maybe that's not what you meant.

I'm just saying that the odds against a person being mugged are pretty small.

Having lived east of 16th Street between 1982 and 1997, (and in Mt. Pleasant on the "oughts" -- ask me about the dangers of dog-walking in my 'hood) most of the time without a car, we're pretty up on the dangers of modern urban existance. Mrs. B had a purse snatched on 14th and T, I got mugged at knifepoint in the elevator of my apartment building, back when 11th and Mass had a lot more trannies than yuppies running around. I was bitter -- they took the tips I'd earned after working unitl 3AM at Flaps Rickenbackers -- but we both walked away from our respective incidents and went on with life.

To get back to the original point, we always try to carry cash to group meals, because the credit card splitting thing is such a pain in the ass for everyone involved. By my calculations, there's a .00109% chance of being mugged (which will happen whether you're carrying cash or not - the mugger doesn't know) and a 99% chance of multiple credit cards being a hassle.

BTW, I once had a restauranteur discuss with me the thought of doing away entirely with credit cards and installing a cash machine near the bathrooms. Turns out that this modestly-sized establishment was paying between two and three grand a month on credit card fees -- enough to hire a new employee or buy a BMW 7-series for the owner. Makes you wonder why they take credit cards at all.

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If restaurants were non-profit institutions (by design rather than unhappy circumstance), then I might agree that it might be "right" to use cash. But as long as they are aiming to earn more money than they are spending, I'll happily use my credit card and let them do the math.

(My credit card, by the way, gives me 3% cash back at all restaurants. That's all the incentive I need.)

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Makes you wonder why they take credit cards at all.

Because it's a pain in the ass not to take them. Some places do this at the bar (Black Cat and 930 Club spring to mind), but I imagine the bartenders have to put up with tons of people who don't realize the restriction even though it's posted clearly. It probably doesn't lose them many drink sales, but it probably has at least a little effect (drunk asshole orders drink, tries to pay with credit, realizes he can't, "goes to the atm" and never returns?).

The bottom line is that for most places it's not worth the hassle or the potential loss of a sale, especially considering how ubiquitous it is that people pay with credit.

And it's one less interaction when you're paying your tab at the end of the night: "close it on the card" as opposed to "can i get my tab" + fumble through wallet for cash + "can i just get $2 back please"

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Agreed that cards are convenient, but so many restaurants walk such a fine line between profit and disappearance, that I'm surprised that more don't do the cash-only thing. Probably wouldn't fly on K Street, but for a modest, neighborhood joint I'll bet that it would pay off weel for them. When I worked at Restaurant Nora briefly in the 1980s, they were cash-only (they now take Visa) and it eas never a hassle. Once in a great while (not that I worked there a great while before getting canned) someone would have neighter cash nor a check, and the restaurant wouls just send them a nicely-worded bill. Given the massive, guaranteed expense of credit card fees, I'm surprised that more don't do away with it.

(My credit card, by the way, gives me 3% cash back at all restaurants. That's all the incentive I need.)

Indeed. And I like my AmEx points. But when I open The Rusty Spoon, that 3% is going into my pockets and the pockets of my employees. :lol:

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There's something very chilling to me about this sentence. (knocking on wood here) I was mugged once, in the 70s, and I would not dismiss two such experiences as if they were no big deal. Maybe that's not what you meant.

Waitman was mugged once I was mugged once. I don't think that's too bad for 25+ years of fine city living. I am grateful to be here to tell about it and don't want it it to happen again but it wouldn't surprise me.

I usually try to have enough to pay my share in cash if I'm going to be in a group but don't usually want to carry more than $250. Oh but really I don't carry it I give it to Waitman to carry. I usually keep throwdown money in a pocket.

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Why are restaurant card fees 3%? I've been thinking about taking plastic in my business and the fees are between 1% and 2%.

I take checks because my clients aren't going to bounce a check on me -- only one bad check after 20 years and it was for less than $200.

But if taking a card meant the difference between getting the business and having the customer go elsewhere, then 97-98% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Nobody carries the kind of cash you need for restaurants anymore. Everybody uses their cash card.

If they want to cut fees, get a pinpad in so you can use your cash card.

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Why are restaurant card fees 3%? I've been thinking about taking plastic in my business and the fees are between 1% and 2%.

I take checks because my clients aren't going to bounce a check on me -- only one bad check after 20 years and it was for less than $200.

But if taking a card meant the difference between getting the business and having the customer go elsewhere, then 97-98% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Nobody carries the kind of cash you need for restaurants anymore. Everybody uses their cash card.

If they want to cut fees, get a pinpad in so you can use your cash card.

I wish CC companies could see your reply here and think about lowering or even not charging any fee for the transactions.

but then they wouldnt make much money as they do now and their stocks wouldnt go up in NYSE just like Mastercard went up 2.5 times in the past 6 months. :lol:

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Agreed that cards are convenient, but so many restaurants walk such a fine line between profit and disappearance, that I'm surprised that more don't do the cash-only thing. Probably wouldn't fly on K Street, but for a modest, neighborhood joint I'll bet that it would pay off weel for them. When I worked at Restaurant Nora briefly in the 1980s, they were cash-only (they now take Visa) and it eas never a hassle. Once in a great while (not that I worked there a great while before getting canned) someone would have neighter cash nor a check, and the restaurant wouls just send them a nicely-worded bill. Given the massive, guaranteed expense of credit card fees, I'm surprised that more don't do away with it.

Indeed. And I like my AmEx points. But when I open The Rusty Spoon, that 3% is going into my pockets and the pockets of my employees. :lol:

Honestly, it is impossible to not take credit cards. There's always gonna be a Full Kee here or there, but 90% of your big tabs are paid with credit cards. Sure, $20 here or there is fine, but to expect your customers to carry bundles of cash is silly, and not just because of potential crimes. And also, I get kind of annoyed, as a customer, when I have to use a bar's ATM in order to pay cash. Now they're collecting a fee from ME for THEIR convenience! Also, sometimes people who pay with a credit card do so because they don't HAVE the cash in their account. It's just the cost of doing business, man!
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I almost never carry cash, I use a debit card 90% of the time. I think merchants should suck it up as a cost for doing business. We live in a cash-less age.

I once had a dry cleaner refuse to give my my clothes because he would not charge under $10 on a debit card! If I had know this fact, I would have gotten cash beforehand. He would only give me my dry cleaning if I let him charge me an additional $.40 to cover the credit card transaction. I let him charge me the additonal funds, after an arguement about how much business he was going to lose over $.40 ( our household dry cleaning bill is pretty high every month), and I have and never been back to that place.

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I almost never carry cash, I use a debit card 90% of the time. I think merchants should suck it up as a cost for doing business. We live in a cash-less age.

I once had a dry cleaner refuse to give my my clothes because he would not charge under $10 on a debit card! If I had know this fact, I would have gotten cash beforehand. He would only give me my dry cleaning if I let him charge me an additional $.40 to cover the credit card transaction. I let him charge me the additonal funds, after an arguement about how much business he was going to lose over $.40 ( our household dry cleaning bill is pretty high every month), and I have and never been back to that place.

It is actually illegal to refuse any charge/debit amount. And, to be honest, I don't think business owners are crying over those fees any more than the rent, insurance, phone bill, etc., etc. It's just the whole nickel-and-dimed to death thing that's annoying.
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After repeatedly ordering lunch delivery only to find that drivers weren't carrying change, my coworkers and I now charge our lunch deliveries, unless we can come up with exact change, which doesn't happen often.

For the business I work in (veterinary hospital), credit card transaction fees vary by company (and vary greatly sometimes) and even by the amount of money in question. We recently changed from one bank to another, and cut our fees dramatically, maybe in half.

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It is my understanding that it isn't illegal to set a minimum purchase, it is a violation of the merchant's agreement with the credit card company. The credit card companies set this condition to encourage/protect the people who use their cards. It has been a long time since I looked at this, but I did once review standard agreements from Visa, MasterCard, and American Express and this prohibition language was in all three. I would imagine that a quick google search could turn up the language. I suppose you could call up the credit card company and rat out a business preventing you from buying that $8.63 sandwich.

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It is my understanding that it isn't illegal to set a minimum purchase, it is a violation of the merchant's agreement with the credit card company. The credit card companies set this condition to encourage/protect the people who use their cards. It has been a long time since I looked at this, but I did once review standard agreements from Visa, MasterCard, and American Express and this prohibition language was in all three. I would imagine that a quick google search could turn up the language. I suppose you could call up the credit card company and rat out a business preventing you from buying that $8.63 sandwich.
By illegal, I meant it is a violation of the business's contract with the CC processor/CC company to refuse to accept any charge amount, no matter how small. Practically? That is another matter, obviously.
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I pointed out the difference between illegal and a violation of the agreement because it means the consumer has a different complaint path if troubled by the restriction. Don't bug the police, bug your credit card company.
Exactly. My point was that, practically, you're screwed.
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