It happened while I was gone
The United States has become a Cashless Society
Back in the 1990s, when I was still living in the United States, people used credit and debit cards, but you always wanted to have cash in your wallet, because not every place took a card.
When I returned to live in the States I realized, things sure have changed! Some of my friends here have told me flat out – “I don’t carry any cash.” Wow.
I would say that when I go to a store if I observe people at the checkout (especially the self-checkout), few people use cash. In fact, I would say fewer than 10% pay with cash. I don’t recall seeing anybody write a check for anything. Back when I last lived in the United States paying by check was the most common payment method for larger purchases.
Cards are the rule of the day
Plastic is the way that almost everybody pays. Credit Cards. Debit Cards. Prepaid Cards. Payroll Cards. There is a card for everything.
I even wonder, but don’t know… do kids even have cards now? I would expect that they probably do, especially teenagers. I suppose that the day is coming when at birth you will be issued your first card and your parents will bring it home and save it for you. 🙂
Data Collection and Tracking
In my last article, Self Checkout, some readers made comments on Facebook about privacy concerns. Things like data collection and tracking of your activities. To me, the use of any kind of cards, debit or credit, is more of a privacy concern. If you go into a store and buy something using cash, that is more or less untraceable (at least it can’t be traced through the payment method). If you pay with a card, that is very traceable.
However, data collection and tracking of our activities is more or less a lost cause already. The Internet makes such tracking a breeze. We are all more or less addicted to the internet, and add in all of the other things like cards, CCTV and such, and those who have access to the information know everything about us. It’s sad. 1984, right?
There have been so many changes
In the two decades that I’ve been away from the United States, there have been so many changes. That is why I am writing this series of articles.
I think that many people who have lived here all of these years don’t even notice the changes. It is not like you wake up one morning and everything is different. No, it happens slowly, and you don’t even realize the changes. But, for somebody like myself who left the country years ago, and has now returned, wow, the changes are huge!
Keep coming back, I have plenty more “it happened while I was gone” articles on the way.