Generation Gap Has Many (electronic) Faces

We got a note from a typical “grumpy old GUARDIAN” reader today questioning the authority of the government to “get into our accounts” when we send them a check, prompted by the notice above.

It brought to mind the half dozen clients who will pay us for the Day Job images only through direct deposit. We never can balance the the checkbook because the deposits don’t have the name of the depositor in most cases or the end of month deposit doesn’t “clear” until after the statement is sent.

Or the auto insurance company that thinks I am unreasonable asking for a bill through the “snail mail” instead of the much more “eco-friendly” electronic billing. They don’t REALLY care about saving trees, they care about not paying someone to prepare the bill.

When I told them I sent a reply last month, they said it must have gone to spam and offered to send me a form that would save me time and effort with “automatic payment.” I suggested they give me THEIR bank account details and I would make a “direct deposit,” but they declined the offer. At least I think they did because I never got a reply.

We went to the movie over the weekend and it was total sticker shock. Old People tickets are $6.50 each a SMALL drink was $4.75. The previews had multiple notices to “silence your phone” and a bunch of ads for really really loud shows with things like dragons being chased by Black Hawk helicopters. When I complained to some younger friends about the prices, each and every one of them had a cheaper solution that involved NetFlix, a computer, “streaming,” various subscription plans–no doubt all come with an automatic withdrawal.

For the record, I still carry a white handkerchief in my pocket and stash a big bill in my wallet for emergencies. I have also NEVER been to an ATM machine. A neat trick worth a free cup of coffee is to offer up a $50 or $100 bill. Chances are the “barrista” will simply give you the java rather than waste her time debating the merits of cash transactions with someone so old fashioned as to not use plastic.

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Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Re: auto-pay. Luckily for me my auto insurance co., Farmers, sends me snailmail paper statements with no lobbying about electronic. My pension fund keeps trying to get me on electronic and I continue to say NO. I did go for auto-pay with a few utilities because I hope they are pretty immune to hackers. But after a recent hackjob on my website, I was reminded once again why I do not bank online, and why whenever I buy something online I do it with a sweat-beaded brow.

  2. How about grocery stores and other outlets that eyeball your $50s and $100s in front of other customers to ensure that you are not a counterfeiter in disguise? Or, agencies that absolutely refuse to refund overpayments and instead apply them to “credits” or other things, yet threaten to “cancel” or “terminate” your policies for a penny shortage! Money orders, my friend, are the way to go. Make a copy of them before you send them, log them on a spreadsheet monthly along with your other bills/payments. MOs cash immediately. You’ll pay up to .75 cents apiece, but much better than bank overdraft fees! EFTs only to companies you trust and have been associated with long term; letter to bank that only a certain amount may be withdrawn without further permission personally from you. Online banking is fraught with dangers. Also, carry $20s and loose change!

    Best of luck,


  3. Good one Dave.

    I never use an ATM either. The first time I tried, it ate my card. Figured they didn’t want my business so I use checks, cash and credit cards, the latter with cash back only.

    Kind of dopey on the Treasurer’s part to say “if you use a check”. Do they think we’re going to give them cash? And if you use a credit card they ding you for an extra 3%. I guess cost of doing business never enters into government’s lexicon.

  4. Chris Mitchell
    Nov 29, 2010, 4:24 pm

    There’s no school like the old school.

  5. These things did not come to pass overnight… someone has been suffering from apathy. Perfectly happy as long as their favorite entitlement got funded?

    Put limits on the checking account and un-link it from the main stash.

    Sara, lots of people use cash… what do you think the TSA is really looking for with those scanners. The feds want cash gone… to hard to track and tax.

  6. sam the sham
    Nov 30, 2010, 10:08 am

    Yup. Senseless change. I am pretty sure that generations past have suffered from the same thing as they grew older…. observing the senseless changes of the world which they moved around it quite well. It’s good to see that I am not the only one who spends time as an irritating older person towards the stupidity of change for the sake of change. It reminds me of one of my old bumper stickers…. QUESTION AUTHORITY. It’s a way of life for me.

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