Double Dipping my Bank Card; Paying for the right to spend money
We get serviced charged up the ying yang these days. It’s a fact of life; if you don’t like it, carry cash. In my recent attempt to become more fiscally responsible, I’ve stopped using my debit card for everything and try to pay cash when I need to pay for something. I get that cash from an ATM of my bank so I don’t pay a service charge there as well. We all do our best.
But here’s something that really gets under my skin. If I go to a small retailer and purchase something with a debit card, I pay my bank a service fee for doing so. The merchant pays a tiny bit as well; it’s part of the ‘cost of doing business’. Most retailers include that in their business model so that it does not become a separate cost from the actual product they sell. This is good policy. With credit card machines there is a slightly higher fee the retailer pays, which is why you will often see signs in small stores that say things like “Cash or debit only under x dollars”. Makes sense, right? But here’s the one that get’s me hot under the collar: merchants who use debit machines that charge me an extra 25 cents or whatever at the machine to use that machine. Sorry, but that’s a bullshit gouge by the retailer using it. It’s double dipping, which in and of itself is a bit aggravating to me, and there’s no need for it which makes me madder. There are several vendors of interac machines, so don’t give me the “that’s what the vendor charges” excuse…find another vendor.
Earlier this week I went to the Salad Loop for lunch, as I often do these days. I had thought I had 20 dollars in my wallet, but I didn’t; I had forgotten about the coffee and hot chocolate I had purchased for Ruth and myself on the weekend, among a couple other small things. So I pulled out my debit card to pay. I was a bit surprised when this chain store had a debit machine that wanted to charge me extra for the right to spend money there. I generally only see that on tiny little ma and pa operations, where every penny counts, and even though I don’t agree with it there either, at least that makes more sense. But no, this was a busy shop that is part of a chain, at most a franchise, with a set and finite revenue per month model. So why are they charging me extra to use my debit there? Is that 25 cents worth that important to them? Cuz here’s what I did. I looked at the lady ringing in my sale (it was the store manager, possibly owner) and said “Is this thing really charging me to spend money here?” She kinda looked down her nose at me and said yes, so I smiled and said “That’s unfortunate. Have a nice day.” I didn’t say the rest, which was “cuz I like your product but I won’t shop here again. The fact that you charge me again to spend too much on a salad is too hard to swallow. Sorry, and thanks for the many salads i’ve had here over the past several months.”
I don’t know, maybe I’m out of line in this, but the fact that they want to financially punish me for not having cash in my wallet at the point of purchase is assinine. So, as with any other store that has tried to charge me to use my debit card, I no longer shop at the Salad Loop in Royal Center Mall. There’s another Salad Loop down Pender street and a third salad place in the next building; those stores will get my business now, at least until one of them tries to double dip my bank card. And it’s not the 25 cents…it’s purely the principle of it.