Monday, October 09, 2006

GRR! Cashless Society In Grave Danger

On an average day, if I were to be held up by some dude with a gun, he'd be pretty disappointed. I could offer him some pocket lint, but I wouldn't have a single greenback on me. I was among the early adopters of a cashless society several years ago, and today I only go to places that accept credit cards.

Credit / debit cards offer conveniences both to the consumer and to the merchant. For the consumer, it allows a buy now pay later mentality. For the merchant, it is almost always the safest transaction method. Merchants have to pay for that safety; credit card companies typically charge the merchants an additional 2 or 3 percent of the purchase price. Obviously, the credit card companies do not want the merchants passing this cost on to the consumer, as this would dissuade people like me from using credit cards. And in many places, it is actually illegal to pass this charge on to the consumer.

In our recent trip up north east, Jessica and I went to Sturbridge Pottery, a local mom & pop pottery merchant in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. We were going to buy a small 20 dollar item. I noticed when we were going to pay for the item that they had a sign that stated "Credit card purchases are subject to a 5% fee." When the merchant saw that we were using a credit card, they proceeded to add 5% on to the cost, citing their credit card policy.

I told them I do not want to pay an additional 5% for using a credit card and that I'd rather just use a check. Yes, I realize that 5% of 20 bucks is only a dollar, but it's the principle of the matter! They balked at that and insisted I used a card, which is understandable since we were out-of-state (and merchants aren't required by law to accept specific forms of payment, even cash). It seemed to me that they were blatantly lying, passing the credit card surcharge on to us, padding the charge in the process, and refusing to accept a check as an alternative. I am aware that Massachusetts had a 5% sales tax, but the 5% that they proceeded to add was specifically due to their credit card policy. It seemed that Sturbridge Pottery was either selling everything under the cuff or they embedded traditional sales tax in all of their prices and pretended as though they didn't charge sales tax whenever they perform a non-credit card transaction. Regardless, what they are doing is to me highly unethical, devious, and possibly illegal.

If you're in the pottery market, don't buy from Sturbridge Pottery with a credit card. If everyone started acting the way Sturbridge Pottery does, then the cashless society would be in grave danger. I'll be among the early adopters of the Greenback-only society.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like plastic. Only have a debit card though, and a gas card. Green, well, green is not my friend.

Go cashless society!

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Mel said...

So did you end up buying the goods?

4:21 PM  
Blogger Torrak said...

This is Sturbridge Pottery, and yes it really is Sturbridge Pottery in Sturbridge Massachusetts! First of all, this is not a mom and pop store, we're not old. Second, you must be a moron! We were charging 5% for the freaking Massachusetts tax, not for the used of the freaking credit card!!!!! This is a large misunderstanding and you should be ashamed for posting such a horrible offense online, when it is not true in ANY WAY!!

3:09 PM  
Blogger Torrak said...

seriously though, we take both credit and cash, and put a 5% tax on the item because we live in Massachusetts and IT'S THE LAW!! We only add the tax when you buy it, like everyone else does, so get a life!

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a customer of Sturbridge Pottery for years now and paying the 5% is the law. I have never been offended when this was done.
I have always been pleased with the quality of the handcrafted items.
As usual I will be shopping at Sturbridge pottery for wonderful gifts for the Christmas season.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Denise said...

Good Heaven, what a misunderstanding this is.... You were paying the Massachusetts Sales tax. Didn't you buy anything else when you were in MA? If you did, then you paid a 5% tax at that establishment too. did you send a negative comment, to tarnish their reputation too? I have been purchasing from Sturbridge Pottery for many years now. I have never found them to be any other than steller in the way they handle me and my purchases. It is my first stop when I need a special gift and I have never had to go anywhere else I always find the perfect item every time. Shame on you for smearing a hard working couples reputation - next time do your homework.

11:10 AM  
Blogger gapid said...

I'm afraid you're mistaken, Sturbridge Pottery. You had a very clear sign that stated "Credit card transactions are subject to a 5% fee." It doesn't get any more blatant than that. Anyway, here's hoping that you've abandoned that practice!

1:25 PM  

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