I went to Target this morning, spent $65. I am cardless this week, so I had been sure to bring enough cash along for what I planned to buy. (Target is, of course, notorious for shopping mission creep. My fixed amount of cash limited but did not completely eliminate this.)
My reason for writing is my experience of paying. Usually I only use cash for quick purchases, or bars when I don’t want to open a tab. And rarely, if ever, would I pay out more than twenty dollars in cash. I can’t even remember the last time I pulled more than one $20 bill out of my wallet at a time. Anything over that, I just pay with my card.
With the card, there’s no difference between paying $6, $60, or $600. Swipe, sign, done. But now with cash, I touch, I feel the fiber of each of those three twenties, one five and one dollar. A five and a one I can hand over any day. Add three twenties and it’s not so easy. Paying with those bigger bills somehow gives them an importance greater than their worth. It was comforting to have those bills in my wallet – they had taken its shape, its musky smell, and I feel that they belong there. And then, I hear the *ching, and they disappear into the cash register.
But as I hand them over, my hand hesitates, and hangs on for a split second longer…