docpop.jpgMany San Franciscan business owners seem to have completely neglected to keep up with advances in the field of payment methods. They either don’t allow the use of those pesky plastic money cards that keep popping up everywhere these days, or they punish people for using them by making some insane, and ever changing “credit card minimum” so that we are forced to supplement our gum, with random Kinder candies, mini flashlights, and airplane-size bottles of liquor that add up to EXACTLY $10.00.

You always think while you’re adding these useless items to your pile that the counter person is going to get tired of this stupid game, and waive the minimum or only make you buy one mini bottle of Ouzo, but they never do. Choosing instead to let you humiliate yourself for your refusal to take out more than $20 at a time from the ATM, like, “Oh this should be enough for the rest of this MINUTE.”

You would think that with the preponderance of corner stores, bars, taxis, and street food vendors that only accept dollar dollar bills San Franciscans would make it a practice to have cash on hand or at least make it a practice to not act shocked and indignant every time they go into one of these cash only establishments.

But for some reason ‘cash only’ is something San Franciscans refuse to wrap their heads around. It’s like S&M with your wallet: it hurts, but you like it. Here is a scene that plays out at least 10 times a night in this city:

“Wanna go to a bar?” “Duh.” “How about Toronado?” “Isn’t that place cash only?” “Is it? Ugh REALLY?!” “We should be able to remember this since we were just there yesterday.” “Is it cash onlyyyyyy? Somebody tell me the truth.” “You’re getting hysterical Margaret.” “Who the fuck is Margaret?” “Do they have an ATM there?” “I’m NOT gonna pay HALF the price of a drink to get money from a non-denominational ATM.” “Walgreens?

Once you’ve had this depressing conversation you realize how poor you really are or how cheap your friends are, or how unfair the class structure is in America and you hardly even want to drink at all anymore. You kind of just want to crawl under the covers and try to figure out why people hate debit cards and why your friends keep calling you Margaret.

Photo of register at Humphrey Slocombe by Doctor Popular

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