Editor"s Note: Other entries for Story Slam 2019 will be piblished daily until Oct. 23, so watch for them.
WE BOUGHT A PIGGY BANK for our newborn grandson Hogan. It seemed appropriate to me, thinking back a few years. Well, make that quite a few years ago, back when money was what we could hold in our hand or put in our piggy bank. A sign at the corner store which jokingly proclaimed WE ACCEPT CASH was, to us, the funniest thing we had seen. That was because, to us, cash - and in particular coins - were of preeminent value; like gold at Fort Knox.
But , I wonder, what happened? The cashless society is almost here. Airlines, and a number of other businesses, do not accept cash. Everyone in front of me in the cashier line now taps with their credit card. Someone seeking to pay with cash can receive an austere response (and Heaven help the person searching her purse for an extra quarter to make up the purchase price!).
This issue of cash and society came back to me when I was visiting Hogan at the maternity ward in Yorkton. When departing, I put my parking pass into the machine at the front of the hospital. I owed $1. I now rarely carry cash on me, and had only a $50 bill in my wallet. It had been there for a long time, given the dust on it.
Looking for a quick exit, I opted instead to use my credit card. The machine declined it. Card Invalid was the reply. I turned the card around and tried again. Same response. One problem with the cashless society is the futility of explaining to a machine that this card was working just fine an hour before. The machine did not care.
So, I got out my $50 bill, and put it in the slot. The machine acknowledged payment of my debt, and I awaited my change. Suddenly, I heard a rumbling noise louder than a major payoff from a casino machine. With everyone around me looking over to see what the commotion was, this friendly contraption dispatched $49 to me in loonies and toonies. Coins were flying everywhere. My pockets were bulging. Like my youthful days, I, again, had cash on me. But it did no t feel as good as I remembered, and I quickly looked for a place to unload these coins. Perhaps a piggy bank, I thought. Hogan will thank me some day.
A story on the Story Slam event is available here.
The winning story can be read here;