June 25, 2022

MAKE YOUR OWN CASE: The cashless thing isn’t making sense

Several months ago I wrote a column explaining my concern and frustration of people at businesses who struggle counting back change. The younger the employee, the more likely they won’t know how.

But what I experienced earlier this month, which was a reminder of last fall, I’m fearing we will have the day where a portion of the math part of our brain will blow away like dandelion spores. We won’t need that skill.

A friend of mine was visiting another in Kansas City and we had the idea of attending a Royals baseball game. I had not been to a Kansas City game in years as I tried for at least one a season before COVID hit. Before leaving town, a stop at the ATM for cash for parking was worthless. When we arrived at the stadium parking lot, I had the window rolled down with a $20 bill in hand. The attendant politely said it’s “pay by card only.”

Producing a credit card to pay wasn’t a problem. But it was only the beginning of a plastic day.

About the third inning, it was time to visit the concession stand. Wife Jennifer knew I was there to watch the game so she offered to go get us some treats. She had our ATM cash. She came back with the treats and told me she had to use a card.

“It also happened at the Iowa game, but I didn’t tell you,” she said about our Hawkeye football game last season.

I don’t mind having a few bucks cash with me. When filling up the truck with gasoline, I may want a pop or cup of iced tea afterward. Coffee and a doughnut, paid with the same cash, have started many days for me. Something is needed for the house and one of the kids offers to go get it, hand them the cash. It was great to drop a few bucks into the poppy donation bucket during Memorial Day weekend. You get the idea or may do the same.

Cash, knowing how often it can be passed on from person to person, was suspected as being a way COVID was being passed to others. Moving to a card payment prevents as customers typically insert their own card into the reader.

I’m hoping with the bulk of COVID behind us, cash will make a comeback. Checks are becoming fewer since stores don’t want to take the risk of accepting a bad check. (Interesting to see stores where they have posted names of people who attempted to use bad checks.)

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.