This week, I made the biggest purchase using cash since I came to Fletcher last August. I bought an iPhone 4 from a fellow Fletcher student! I had lost my phone in an unfortunate event during my spring break trip to Paris, and I had been desperately looking to buy a used one. Before checking eBay, I asked the Social List to see if there was anyone willing to sell his or her phone. Luckily, I got a response within four hours. After testing the phone for a few days, we agreed on a price, and I paid the person with cash.

Coming from Tokyo, where cash is still a popular (or even preferred) method of payment, I was pretty comfortable about giving up my credit card and Jumbo Cash for a week. After all, I wasn’t expecting to make any online purchases (at least for a week), and with good planning, I knew that I could even manage to make a big payment, like buying a smartphone, using cash.

Sure, it is more convenient to just swipe my Charlie Card to take the T to downtown, or use my Jumbo Cash to buy a sandwich in Mugar Cafe. But cash had always been my primary means of payment, and the prospect of going cashless for a week made me more nervous than giving up electronic payment methods for this experiment. Actually, I wanted to prove to my friends (most of them preferred cards) that we could still live the old fashioned way even in a country like the United States.

So I was very satisfied when I got my new phone using cash, and I was convinced that this was going to be easy. But I have to admit that I was underestimating the importance of cards in our everyday lives.

To be continued… 



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