Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Credit Cards

Just a thought for the holiday shopping season. Spread the love this season, and let a little thoughtfulness guide your buying habits.

I know that a lot of you love the convenience of credit card shopping, but please think twice when you whip out your card in small, locally owned businesses. BTW, bank/debit cards are credit cards!
Did you know :
That credit card machines cost at least $900, and must be replaced every 2-4 years?
The business is charged at least $35/month to run the machine?
Each credit card transaction you make, costs the business at least 10% of your bill?
Corporate cards have an additional $1/transaction fee, in addition to the 10%?

AND my all time favorite. Do you know why we don't get new credit cards every year anymore? Because the magnetic strips wear out on your card, forcing cashiers to manually type in your credit card number. The devious credit card companies charge the business $1 every time a number is typed in. Please request a new card from your credit card company when your card will no longer scan.

Mom and Pop operations can't afford these charges. Most small businesses only accept credit cards because they have a few corporate customers, who shop big and can only pay by card. Credit card companies have become insidious in their quest to get people to use their cards. They offer thousands of different perks such as airline miles and cash back bonuses. Perks are paid for by the businesses, not the credit card companies. Thank the businesses, who accept your card, for your next trip to Aruba, or the down payment on your GM or Ford product! Feel free to screw over big businesses like Walmart by using your card, but think about these charges the next time you whip out your card in a locally owned small business.

Credit card companies won't allow businesses to add a surchage to credit card purchases, but I have come up with a plan for my boss to almost break even on her credit card transactions. I suggested that she raise all her menu prices by 10%. Then offer a 10% discount for cash transactions. All this would require is to program one of the extra buttons on our cash register as a -10% key. This would also defray the costs my boss incurs on all the checks she accepts. Our local banks charge business accounts a $1/check fee on all the checks she deposits in her account. I don't understand this policy. Why can I deposit unlimited checks into my personal account, but she gets charged $1/check? We have customers that write checks for $2.29 for a roll and coffee. After the check fee, my boss gets $1.29. Anyone can see that we just lost money on that customer!

My boss agrees that my plan would solve her problem. She even said that if we advertised a 10% discount for cash, we'd probably attract some new customers. BUT...she refuses to implement my plan. She says that the 2 afternoon waittresses won't be able to figure out this system. Whatever!

While I'm on the subject, I have one more axe to grind. PLEASE, don't insult your waiter/waittress by asking for your credit card receipt back, so you can put a zero in the tip column! We don't mind if you do this when you sign your receipt. But if you forget, just let it slide. I realize that you've heard horror stories about servers filling in outrageous tip amounts, but most people are honest and would NEVER risk losing their jobs over a few extra bucks in tips. Every credit card machine that we've had won't allow a tip to be entered that's larger than the bill. Keep track of your receipts; if there's a discrepancy, report it to your credit card company.

Feel free to follow these suggestions YEAR 'ROUND! Small businesses everywhere will thank you.

99 Comments:

At 11/15/2006 7:00 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

I knew some of this stuff but certainly not all of it. I don't use my card that much because I'm broke these days, but thanks for the info. Just more big businesses trying to make as big a profit as possible out of the pockets of people who can least afford it...

 
At 11/15/2006 7:04 PM, Blogger SME said...

AWESOME post!! This is really helpful, real-world stuff for everybody - that's hard to come by.

 
At 11/15/2006 7:55 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

You said it WC! Banking is nothing but a licensed con game.

SME, at least there's ONE advantage to living in the 'real world'...experience points. ;)

 
At 11/15/2006 8:44 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

brilliant idea! Your boss should have taken it and ran. I didn't know all the things you posted. I do know of the surchages, because as we planned to get all our land records on line, we had to figure out how to cover the credit card charges for using the credit cards, and the County can't legally pay the charges - so they have to go back to the customer. Interesting American economics, huh?

 
At 11/15/2006 9:26 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Doll, how DID your county work around that?
My boss does a LOT of foolish things with her money. :(

 
At 11/16/2006 7:15 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Two of the biggest "legal" scams in this country are credit cards and student loans. Stay away from both if you can. I no longer use credit cards, though I do still have a debit card. I'm in the process of retraining myself to use cash for my purchases and the debit card only when I have to. The student loans, eh, I'll die before those are ever paid off. *sigh*

 
At 11/16/2006 8:15 AM, Blogger Squirl said...

I see people using their card for the smallest transactions. I don't know why it's so hard to carry some cash.

But if your credit card is stolen you have some recourse, usually only responsible up to $50 max. Having your cash stolen, though, means you're SOL.

I still use cash when I can, though. Thanks for info on helping out the Mom-n-Pop's.

 
At 11/16/2006 2:16 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

VV, so true! We now have 1 credit card that we use for online purchases. I don't like putting my debit card, with my bank info, on the internet. We pay it in full each month.

Squirl, I see a lot of people using their debit cards and throwing away the receipt. How do they know how much money is left in their account?
I prefer using cash as I can keep on budget better that way. We DO use our card on vacations, so we aren't carrying a lot of cash.

 
At 11/16/2006 4:05 PM, Blogger tweetey29 said...

You know we have one credit card and thanks. I never thought of what this place is doing to other places besides charging us an enormous anual charge because our credit is shot but working on it. I am here for another reason today tshsmom. I had another person stop by my blog and say hi but i couldnt view her or his profile? Is there away around that. His or her name is askingstoo? ever heard of her or him??? it would be great if you could get that much back to me. but back to the subject at hand. yes i agree with you totally aobut your boss. she should have run with the idea and taught the aftenoon waitresses. it doesnt take but a few minutes to make a meeting and say we have a new system this is how it works. ask questions if you have them. I will work with you on this new system. Some people just dont like to do the leg work for new things. but I dont know her so i cant say to much. Well i hope her business goes well after you suggestion. Maybe after the new year you can suggest it again and see what she says. Well i am off to get K from school. She has an after school program she goes to with the YMCA. Maybe I will post that tomorrow or so. Its an interesting thing for the kids. Well alright i am really going.

 
At 11/16/2006 6:48 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Tweets, I answered your question over on your post.
Cleaning up your credit is probably the most important thing you and J will ever do.

 
At 11/17/2006 6:43 AM, Blogger tweetey29 said...

Yes found it thanks. I will watch for more of those as I go. And I agree with you totally about our credit. But like I said yesterday we are getting there. Well got to go feed my babies. K has school today. And then next week she only goes monday and tuesday and then has the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays everyone before i forget.

 
At 11/17/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Heeeeeesssss bbbaaaaacccckkkkk :-(

 
At 11/17/2006 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize that you've heard horror stories about servers filling in outrageous tip amounts, but most people are honest and would NEVER risk losing their jobs over a few extra bucks in tips.

I always wonder about people who worry about crap like that.

Don't they stop to think that if a server really wanted to screw them, they would record the credit card numbers and order a bunch of porn with it - porn sent to the person's house...

And if your server hates you that much, you've got bigger problems than a dollar or two being added to your bill...like you should maybe check your food before you eat it...

Happy Friday.

 
At 11/17/2006 2:01 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

LOL VV!! Yeah, and with a vengeance...and as clueless as ever.:(
WHERE does he get the idea that we're not working?

So true Shawn! I have to bite my tongue when people do this. Fortunately they're always tourists. My regulars would NEVER think of not trusting me.

 
At 11/17/2006 3:58 PM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

A GREAT post! I was applauding in my mind the whole time. The small business owners especially get screwed by American Express. That's why tons of small business owners don't accept them.
The waitress thing with the tip amount is really important--thank you for explaining it.
I think your plan in a good one but the restaurant business is such a sketchy one, I can see why your friend hesitated.
My grandparents owned a small Mexican resaurant that worked in my whole life until they retired in '99.
My grandpa used to swear that the mere act of giving the "free" basket of chips was killing him and yet, he refused to charge the customers for additional baskets. We had a regular customer that used to chomp through 5 baskets of chips in one sitting.
*sigh*
Again, wise post.

 
At 11/17/2006 4:16 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Good point Sadie; I forgot to mention American Express!
American Express cards will not work on a Visa, Mcard, or Discover credit card machine. They only work on machines issued by American Express, which will also accept the other cards. HOWEVER, American Express's surcharges are way higher than the other companies.
I think this scam is backfiring on them now. All the businessmen that come in our restaurant ask if we take AmEx, then use another corporate card when we tell them no. AmEx is losing business, big time, over their greed.

Your Grandpa sounds like my boss. She gives away more food than she can afford.

Thanks Sadie, I KNEW that you would empathise with this post! ;)

 
At 11/17/2006 5:35 PM, Blogger Miranda said...

Wow. I didn't know any of that.
How about if it's a store where "Mom" and "Pop" are evil?

 
At 11/17/2006 6:26 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Good point Miranda! ;)
Use your card 3x a day in those places!

 
At 11/18/2006 11:12 AM, Blogger Nancy Drew said...

I'm in WC's boat and this post helps.

 
At 11/18/2006 11:34 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

How about adios FOREVER, numbnuts?!

 
At 11/18/2006 11:37 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ND, I find it much easier to budget, when I deal with cash rather than cards.

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Vest said...

not forever yet

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Vest said...

SOON MAYBE

 
At 11/18/2006 3:42 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

ohhhh, its back. I hope mine stays gone. Anyway.

I need to ask: What is proper procedure for tips? I tip 20% when at a sit down restaurant. Carryout, I usually don't tip anything - I write "carryout" in the tip space and total my ticket. Buffets, I tip around 15% because sometimes the gals are running their fannies off anyway. I leave $.50 if I get a latte - usually once a week treat. Hairdresser, and if I'm lucky enough to get a message or pedicure through a gift certificate or something, I leave $5.00.

Student loans are almost as bad as being indebted to IRS. The trick is to become so poor you qualify for PELL. But then, our current administration here in U.S. is cutting way back on student assistance. And we have a doctor, medical professional shortage - go figure. Many nurses pay $10,000 to get their RN and then find they can earn $15.00 - 18.00 - what is going on here! Ooops soapbox coming on.

Yeh, credit cards are a racket, and God help anyone who needs the companies to work with them to pay them off if you have a major medical issue come up, job loss, or other catastrophe.

Didya ever think - maybe there is a conspiracy to keep most of the citizens of U.S. (maybe Canada, Britain too????) at a low middle income wage. That way we give in and charge things, not luxuries but needs, and then we are trapped, paying more and more interest, going deeper and deeper - maybe to BR, which the companies write off and come out ahead on taxes while we spiral ever down?

I wonder.

 
At 11/18/2006 5:34 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Doll, childish, isn't it?

Tips should be 15% for adequate service and 20% for good service. If I just have a cup of coffee somewhere, I leave at least $.50. That comes to about a 40% tip, but the server had to do just as much work for me as if I'd had a meal.
I leave beauticians a 20% tip.
You sound like a GREAT tipper to me!

Our daughter went to college on a Pell Grant. Last year Bush drastically reduced the funds for that. :(

I KNOW that the big corporations want to keep us at their mercy. That's why I try not to let them control me. Credit cards have been a salvation for us at times. I'm thankful that we're now debt free and hope to stay that way!

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Tshsmom: a twenty per-cent tip to your beautician is unjustified, she should pay you not to return, Aahhgh.

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Vest said...

w c, Laura and v v have the largest fart trumpets

 
At 11/20/2006 5:36 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Sadie has weired looking sprogs

 
At 11/20/2006 5:36 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Sadie has weired looking sprogs

 
At 11/20/2006 5:36 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Sadie has weired looking sprogs

 
At 11/20/2006 5:36 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Sadie has weired looking sprogs

 
At 11/20/2006 5:36 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Sadie has weired looking sprogs

 
At 11/20/2006 5:36 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Sadie has weired looking sprogs

 
At 11/20/2006 8:33 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Verbal masturbation at its finest!

 
At 11/25/2006 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good investigative work, Thanks for the tips!

 
At 1/30/2008 10:18 PM, Blogger shannon said...

i had a very different opinion about not making credit card transactions at small businesses until i read this post. i used to think that it was the cost of doing business, just something the businesses should have to put up with because they're getting all kinds of extra customers (and customers that are buying more, as credit card customers usually do) by accepting plastic. but, i can understand your point, too. why in the sam heck do you accept checks?! nobody accepts checks anymore!!!

and... i know it costs more to type in credit card numbers manually, but i think the part about them not replacing the magnetic strip so they can make that extra dollar might be stretching it, though.

 

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