Transitioning to only accepting digital payments is a form of classism

Fair warning: It’s Friday night and I have been thinking a lot this evening. While I follow this train of thought in my head, I question my ability to adequately convey the thoughts.

Prior to COVID, the western world was already deeply entrenched in digital payment systems. Credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Crypto Currency, these are all forms of digital payments that have been driving the economy for several years now. This transition to digital payment mediums was only exacerbated by the pandemic when many businesses transitioned away from accepting cash because they wanted to limit their employees handling cash.

Cash carries germs. Germs could get employees sick. COVID is bad. COVID comes from germs. Therefore cash is the enemy. At least around here it has been.

I can’t tell you the number of businesses I’ve been to since March in which digital forms of payments are the only payments they accept.

Eventually, even after we’re all vaccinated, digital payments are still going to be the norm. We know this because this was already a transition happening prior to COVID.

This is classism.

We’ve already played the ageism card and told seniors and the elderly they need to get with the times and learn our technology. Now we’re playing the classism card and telling people that if they cannot pay for something digitally, they cannot pay for it at all.

We are (as a society) developing a system for people of financial stability and resource to be able to easily purchase their goods and services with digital means, ignoring the fact that technology is a luxury. Technology is not something that everyone has. Despite what people say, it’s not even something the majority of people have. I know that we like to pretend everyone has a cell phone and everyone has a bank account, but factually, that’s not the case.

What will homeless people do when they’re no longer able to take their cash to purchase… well… anything? What are they going to do? When they can’t even buy a freaking banana, or a hamburger or whatever it is they might need and would have otherwise in the past used cash to pay for? They’ve had a hard enough time finding businesses that accept cash during the pandemic. So what happens when we transition to a fully digital payment system for good?

Banks treat homeless people as liabilities and very few banks actually provide (very few) homeless people with a bank account (I’ve only ever seen one bank here in Canada that seeks to give homeless people a bank acccount). If they don’t even have a bank card they’re definitely not going to have the newest iPhone to use Apple Pay. Are Apple or Samsung going to step up and provide technology for the homeless and a system for a reloadable balance?

Please don’t say ‘Well they shouldn’t be homeless anymore’. That is a form of classism. You and I have no idea why, or how, someone wound up homeless and we don’t deserve the right to judge them. We can help them if they would like help, yes. Judge them? Hell no.

What about people who live in abject poverty? Because, while people don’t always like to admit it, there millions of Canadians, and tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of Americans who don’t just live below the federally or locally determined poverty line, but actually live in abject poverty. Their roofs are caving in, their meals are few and far between, their resources are almost non existent. These people don’t necessarily have bank accounts because, quite frankly, they don’t have money to put in a bank account. Even if they do have a bank account, though, if they don’t have any money in the bank account, they may not be so inclined to take what little money they do manage to get from a family member, friend, neighbour, side hustle or whatever source they’re getting it from, to put in a bank account in order to pay for milk and bread.

Banking fees are no joke. If someone’s already dealing with an extreme budget, or lack thereof, forcing banking fees upon them is only furthering the burden they’re already bearing.

Please don’t say ‘well they shouldn’t live in poverty, then.’ If it were truly that simple, then no one would be living in poverty.

I’ve really only begun scraping the surface of what issues come from not having, or using cash any longer. I don’t know who else has noticed but a lot of charities are only accepting digital payments these days (unrelated to COVID). That means for every charitable donation made, banking fees will be incurred. There are A LOT of organizations who relied heavily on an extra dollar here or an extra five dollars there from a lot of people. It might not seem like much if you’re well off, but what would normally be providing an extra $5 bill now has the possibility to incur a $1.25 (or more) banking fee, depending on where someone banks. That’s enough to turn people away.

This future that we’re building around cards and smart phones, wireless transfers and so on… it’s a deeply flawed system being built for the financially stable, the resource rich and well off people of this world.

Everyone else? I guess they’re out of luck.

Be kind to one another, please

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell each and every one of you to please be kind to one another. This is a tough time for the world over and the last thing we need to do is turn on each other.

Show compassion, empathy and care. Ask someone how their day was and genuinely listen for the answer. Call your mom and dad or grandma and grandpa just to tell them you love them. If you’re financially able, buy the next person in line their morning coffee. Kindness goes a long way in this world and we desperately need more of it. So give kindness. Spread love, not hate. And please, please, please do it from a safe social distance.

Remember: you cannot do all of the good that this world needs but this world needs all of the good that you’re able to do.

Things I wish would die in 2020

All of the following opinions are completely my own. If you disagree with me, that’s totally okay. I’d be happy to have open and honest discussions about that, so long as it’s done in a respectful manner.

OVERCONSUMPTION. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. You do not need a closet filled with clothing you’ll never wear. I don’t care if the display is pretty. It’s not necessary. Having a lot of one thing, or many things, does not make you cooler. What’s cool is making use of what you have. What’s cool is investing your money in pieces that will last for a long time, things that you will love and appreciate and be good to you.

Single-use plastics. These have got to go. You can buy cloth grocery bags at the Dollar Store for 50 cents each. You can buy produce bags for just a few dollars, or make your own for free. Food that comes in plastic can come in glass jars, or recyclable cardboard. Water bottles? Well it’s 2019, if you don’t have a reusable water bottle at this stage of the game, you’re behind the times. Will it be a slow transition? Probably. But I’m genuinely hoping the world as a whole takes more strides in the direction of eliminating single use plastics and that I don’t have to see so many photos of whales with red-solo-cups found in their belly.

“What I eat in a day” videos on YouTube. On the rare occasion I stumble across a YouTuber who showcases what they eat in a day and it’s actually proper, balanced nutritional intake for a 24 hour period, they’re typically the YouTube videos that only have 100 views. The people who get views are those that promote really unhealthy or dangerous diets. They promote extreme levels of intermittent fasting, or just all in all, are making under-eating look glamorous.

Something that a lot of people don’t understand is that, just because you’re eating a lot of Kale doesn’t mean that you’re eating healthy. We just treat food as food. You know… green is good. Potato chips are bad. Simple concepts like that the masses know and understand. But most people don’t take a deep dive into what proper nutrition is for them and their own body. A diet that’s right for you isn’t going to be the same as the diet of a girl with 1.5 million subscribers on youtube.

You need regular doses of vegetables, carbohydrates and proteins to keep your body functioning properly and to be taking in the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Watching someone drink their first two meals of the day and then eat a half a salad for dinner is dangerous misinformation. And honestly, I can’t prove it, but I’d bet they’re eating a lot more behind the scenes that they aren’t showing you. There’s a reason why there have been so many ‘scandals’ in the YouTube Vegan Community this year and why one of the most famous YouTube Vegans who sold meal plan guides and promoted her raw vegan lifestyle for several years was caught with a plate of fish in front of her and fessed up to eating animal products all along. Your body needs proper fuel to function properly. So please don’t believe when the pretty, skinny girl on YoutTube is telling you. If Nutrition is that important to you, save up some cash and go see a Nutritionist.

Bike Shorts. I don’t understand this trend and I never have. I’ll say it – they’re not flattering. Whether you’re size 2, size 12 or size 22, these don’t look good on people. I understand the use of them if you’re actually biking, but unless you’re about to get on your bike and ride 70 miles, why are they being worn? Some of (what I consider to be) the most beautiful women in the world I have seen wearing bike shorts this year and they just don’t look good. Girls everywhere, please find a new trend!

College/University Textbooks. For too many years too many trees have had to die for overpriced, underused College/University Textbooks. Professors know this. They know students aren’t reading 1200 pages of content in four months when they have four other subjects to do as well. They tell students they know this. They told us this when I was in University from 2006-2010. So, let’s be real. It’s 2019. Everyone is practically required to have a computer, and likely a tablet/Ipad to get through their degree. Why can there not be digital copies of a textbook? There has to be a better solution. Couldn’t students purchase digital copies? Copyright materials have protections now better than ever before. And could someone hack them? Maybe. What’s the likelihood of every college/university textbook material on earth being hacked and distributed? It just seems as though there could be better options.

The Penny. This is nothing to do with Canada (as we did away with the penny years ago). This is to specifically take aim at any country that uses the penny as a unit of currency. To use the United States of America as an example, it costs 22 cents to make one single penny in the USA. That’s right, it takes 22 cents to put 1 cent into circulation. In 2018 the United States produced roughly 7.5 billion pennies. 22 cents times 7.5 billion is a whole lot of money spent on a currency that is practically useless in society and could easily be done without.

Vaping. It’s not cool. It’s not cute. It’s not good for you, your health or your well being. People all over the world are getting sick and dying from Vaping related illnesses. Physicians and researches have yet to get a full grasp on what effects it has on the body. If you quit smoking and started vaping, you likely should assess why you’re jumping from one addiction to another. And if you started vaping without ever smoking, just stop. Find a hobby.

Facetune. I’m so tired of seeing people change their entire appearance in photos. Facetune is probably the worst app that was ever invented. Actually, I’ll just go ahead and say it, it’s not probably the worst app, it is the worst app. Prior to Facetune, we had to remind ourselves that magazines were photoshopped and try to not compare ourselves to the men and women that graced the pages. Now, everyone has the potential to change their appearance in it’s entirety. And, since society is a beauty worshiping pit of vanity, Facetune sells. Changing your appearance sells. As a society we’ve accepted these completely unrealistic standards of beauty that is a waist so small a woman’s arms look larger than their waist, or lips so large, they take up half their face. It’s dangerous, not just to vulnerable minds, but to all of us. If we see something enough times, we normalize it. These overly Facetuned images should never be normalized.

An excess of lip injections. I would like to stipulate that I have no problem with lip injections, when done properly. A lot of women have an insecurity about their lips and I can understand the desire to fix that. But, A LOT of women take it too far. A lot of women will get so much lip injections at one time that they begin to take on the appearance of what resembles that of baboon lips. It’s not cute. It doesn’t look natural.

Mukbang. I don’t like watching people eat. I don’t understand the point. I think it’s even more annoying to watch people try to eat and talk at the same time. And, a lot of people look really disgusting when they’re eating. I also, personally, hate the sound of people chewing. Mukbangs need to go out of style. Fast.

Crop Tops. I’m 31 years old. Dear EVERY brand on earth, I want a full shirt. Midriffs are so fifteen years ago, honestly. If someone wants a crop top, they should have to cut it themselves. It’s bloody ridiculous to go into a store and see the women’s clothing section filled with cropped shirts and cropped sweatshirts that are $80+. If it’s half the shirt, it should be half the price… Bring back full shirts.

Tiny sunglasses. They’re not cute. They’re not functional. They’re basically a useless accessory for you to spend your money on and to look stupid on your face. I’ve yet to see someone pull them off. The point of sunglasses is to protect your eyes from the sun. If your sunglasses aren’t doing that, why are you wearing them on your face? My apologies to anyone who likes them, but my opinion stands. This is a trend that needs to die in 2020.

What are some things you wish would die in 2020?