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And will that be debit or credit? Hurtling toward the cashless society

As we swelter in the Dog Days, which this year didn’t wait for August, but started in late June (106 degrees as I write this), these random musings:

• Does anybody, save moi, buy stuff with cash any more? It seems not. Every checkout line I’m in these days seems to be moving at a snail’s pace, and the holdup invariably is that everyone’s paying with a debit card. Either the store’s reader device won’t read the card, or the customer can’t get it to accept his/her PIN, or Jupiter is not aligned with Mars, or…

And all the while, there is a line of people muttering because they’re having to wait to get to the register to use their own debit cards and repeat the same scenario they were fuming about.

I have — I kid you not — been behind people who used their debit card to buy a pack of gum or some other equally minor purchase.

The checker-outers seem almost surprised when I hand them cash.

Now, we’re told cash, debit cards, credit cards are all becoming outmoded, that we’re headed to a cashless society, and that we’ll soon pay for everything with our smart phones. More secure, more efficient, those promoting the technology say.

Yeah, I can hardly wait to see how that clogs the checkout process at the local Wally World.

• And speaking of transaction snafus, at a big box home and garden store recently, I handed over cash for a few on-sale plants and a couple of other items. Wham, bam, and I’m outta there. Or so I thought.

The cashier handed me change and a receipt … but I noticed that she’d charged full price for the sale items. She acknowledged the error, but couldn’t get her register to open to give me a refund until she had another cash transaction.

She inquired of those waiting in line (this in the sweltering heat/humidity of the garden center): “Anybody paying cash?” Nobody was.

Her solution? Now follow this: She reached into the nearby soft drink cooler, took out a soda, fished a dollar from her purse, scanned the soda as a cash sale, which opened the register. She then gave me my money, refunded her own purchase, put the soft drink back, shut the register, and greeted the next customer — who was, of course, paying with a debit card.

Simple, huh?

• I confess that I cannot recall all the biblical plagues: swarms of locusts, frogs, flies, lice, livestock diseases, yucky boils that wouldn’t heal, etc.

As bad as all those may be, I now nominate a new category: gnats, which this year are everywhere in vast numbers. One can’t set foot outside without them swarming about ears, nose, eyes. While one can be thankful they don’t bite, they are nonetheless infuriatingly maddening.

Another of my ongoing concepts of hell would be to spend eternity in a roomful of gnats.

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