Forget cash, I’m high on debit


I do not, nor have I ever, used or abused cocaine.



But I might be carrying it around with me. That is if I actually had money in my wallet. What cash I do have is usually doled out quickly to the kids for allowances, lunch and such.

I might have to reconsider that, though.

In the paper the other day, I learned that an average of 90 percent of American bills have traces of cocaine embedded in them. This is according to an annual study done by the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, which found a marked increase in the number since 2007, and produced a finding of 67 percent of the bills to be tainted.

The study used 234 bills of varying denominations collected in 17 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Salt Lake City had the lowest level of cocaine in the money, while our nation’s capital had a 95 percent rate of cocaine in bills collected there.

Yuegang Zuo, the professor who led the study, surmised that the high rate was probably due to the bad economy, which leads to people trying to snort their problems away. Of course, none of the stories I read indicated how he came to this conclusion. I suspect the fine professor was just guessing. The economy seems to be the reason du jour for any problem these days.

Here’s what I think.

I think that the only people really using money anymore are people who use it for drugs and strip clubs.

Other than the aforementioned kids lunches and trips to the vending machine, I rarely use cash. Many people use their debit cards. Of course, I know there are a few fine folks out there still using cash to pay for gas, but for me, pay-at-the-pump is a godsend. Out of the car, insert the card, push a couple buttons, fill the tank and I’m gone.

It’s the same at the grocery store, although I do take issue with people who use the u-check-it for their main grocery shopping. A sign saying 15 items or less is merely a suggestion for these folks.

I don’t even mind the people who are new to the self-scanners. We all were newbies at one time, and I’m more than willing to help someone through the steps.

The beauty of the debit card is its ease of use. I rarely see anyone write a check at the grocery store, and when I do, I stare like I would at someone using a typewriter. But some stores treat checks a lot like a debit card, where it is scanned and returned to the purchaser.

I do still like to write checks to pay bills, though. I have, on occasion, paid a bill online, but that has only been when the due date and pay day have come too close together. In the old days, you could write a check and count on at least five days before it cleared the bank.

That changed a couple of years ago when banks were allowed to process checks electronically. Now the time is down to a day or two at most when that money needs to be in the account. It’s a little like playing Russian roulette.

Anymore, the ones who use paper money in the family are the kids, who usually can pry a couple of bills out of their grandmother. With cocaine on the bills, I guess that explains why they’re bouncing off the walls all the time.

McClannahan is the editor of the Mountain View Telegraph. He can be reached by calling 505-823-7102 or by e-mail to