what happens when you drop your credit card terminal11 Jun 2017
a couple of weeks ago i was in vancouver hanging out in a neighborhood coffeeshop (the wilder snail) when the credit card machine went down. and by “went down,” i mean one of the two dudes in the couple dropped the portable terminal. (sidenote: in canada, everyone’s credit card terminals are these little mobile, wireless devices… fascinating. makes the wired american credit card system seem archaic).
now, i could go probably write a whole post about the hilarious and shady interactions between the two husbands about whose fault it was that the machince went down, but i won’t… at least not today.
what i want to talk about was the beautiful way that not having a credit card machine impacted all the interactions between the owners and the customers. there were a couple of different categories of interaction:
the shopkeepers told the regulars to just pay up tomorrow
they told the semi-regulars to just pay the next time they came in
the randos and newbies, they asked to pay in cash or they said to just try to remember what they got and to pay the next time they were in the neighborhood
it was a fascinating day… so much so that i stayed for many hours just to watch the interactions. it just really reminded me that money is a completely created construct. it’s simply a way for people to trade goods. and when a part of the system stops working, what becomes clear again is that it’s really all rooted on trust. the money makes the trust unnecessary, but when exchanges of money aren’t possible, the trust between people can still keep the system alive.
ps - sitting in this coffeeshop and grocery run by a gay couple made me really want to start something similar… it also added to my fire to start a queer bookstore… someday…
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