While the July 10 front-page article “Cashless movement faces a D.C. backlash” focused on cost-cutting, businesses have a second motive: boosting revenue. When paying by card or by app, customers don’t physically see money leaving their wallets and so feel less inhibition to spending more. The Dutch Central Bank concluded “electronic payment allows more scope for impulse buying.” One study in a university cafeteria even found that card payers purchased 10 percent more calories than cash payers.
A second effect comes through customer selection. As the article noted, posting a “No Cash” sign in restaurant windows excludes poorer customers with inadequate access to banking. This does not deter the wealthy, who tend to purchase more expensive, higher-margin items. During mealtime rushes, when logistics limits the number of patrons who can be served, this enriches the queue with wealthier patrons and increases the profit per transaction.
For the benefit of all consumers, we should support the proposed ban on cashless restaurants.
William Stone, Annapolis
I just checked: Every unit of paper currency in my wallet says, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” The bills also say “Federal Reserve Note” across the top. But there is no federal statute mandating that a business accept my legal offer.
So am I now free from arrest when I have no other option except my “legal tender”? Will they give me two chicken legs as change for a payment of a half bushel of barley? Will the waitress be happy with five eggs for a tip?
Art Kosatka, Olney