So you don't want cash? Get off my lawn

John Mueller,

They say the world is becoming more modern all the time and technology will make things more convenient. Oh really?

Wednesday, a trip to the University of Minnesota for a state swimming meet. While driving to the ‘U’ is no big deal, a byproduct of growing up in St. Paul, there is always some trepidation over parking. It’s never easy, especially on a campus with 40-plus thousand people on it and major sporting venues.

Imagine the surprise when there was a short line into a parking ramp adjacent to the swimming and diving venue. Never figured that would happen. But good things don’t always happen to those who think they finally got a break. After all, the odds of readily available parking close to the venue is at best, highly unlikely.

After waiting for a short line to pay and take their tickets and drive into the parking ramp, with several cars joining the line behind me, it became apparent the machine was not going to accept a $10 bill to pay for the privilege of parking in one of the U of M’s taxpayer funded ramps. The college student matter-offactly said the machine didn’t accept cash and i’d have to use a credit or debit card to pay for the privilege of parking in one of the ‘U’s ramps. What might the student have done if the driver was not carrying the mandated credit or debt card? Would they make him back out, interrupting what was now a long line of cars carrying spectators to see their daughters compete? They probably would have made the person drive around and leave via the exit. As it turns out, after the event, spectators parking in the ramp were free to drive out of the ramp. There was no attendant in the booth at the bottom of the ramp to make sure the driver had a legitimate ticket to park in the lot.


Why? The youngster had no answer when asked what if a person didn’t have a credit card and wanted to pay with good ol’ American cash? Later, another student worker told me to take the issue up with the Board of Regents, the folks who made the decision to install the devices that somehow won’t accept cash. Apparently, the U of M has no problem with paying a processing fee for payment and it apparently is either blind or unconcerned with the potential of credit card info being illegally obtained from its system.

There are a ba-zillion students on the campus paying way too much in tuition. Many are no doubt hoping the government will somehow find a legal way to rescind some of their debt. Get a job. Instead of using technology to replace jobs, how ‘bout we strategically create jobs in places where they can help someone.

The message from on high, from my wife, is this kind of service is the way society is moving. The world is apparently going cashless. Again, hogwash.

A U of M student later told me she had just returned from a visit to Japan and found it to be a cash-based economy. We’ll show them. Just wait until the day they find out nobody wants to deal with cash, that paying service fees and keeping people from working are the coming trend.

My wife of 38 years, a wise and oh-so-tolerant woman who is far more willing to accept these advancements, rolls her eyes during these rants. She claims, ‘you’re going to be the crabby old man who yells at people to get off my lawn.’ She’s not wrong, partially, and shouldn’t be surprised.

Back in the early-‘80s talking with a pastor as we prepared for our wedding, the pastor asked about my management of money. The pastor was surprised a college student, even back then, would avoid carrying a checkbook or credit card. Open your wallet to find out how much money you have. It seemed so simple back then and, in the absence of restraint, probably prevented a lot of unnecessary debt.

And today, you must have a credit card to park in a ramp. Hogwash.

And get the heck off my lawn.



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