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State of the Life of Jason Douglas: Monthly Edition

January 31, 2009 1 comment

Today brings the close of the first month of 2009.  Overall, January has been a good month for me.  Let us go over the highlights of this month and how I am doing on my 2009 Goals/Resolutions.

Highlights:

  • Still have a job; still doing alright, but the ceiling is extremely high, and there is no reason why I shouldn’t destroy that ceiling.
  • Social life is pretty good; reached out to a few long lost friends and re-connected with them; hope to do more in February
  • The two things I really wanted to work out: with one, I know where I stand and that’s on hold, the other is just not going to happen right now; not what I wanted, but the situation does not allow for anything else. I hope it works out down the road; there is just something about it that is unfinished.
  • Someone told me that I don’t have to take the pc route in answering questions, that I should be me and speak my thoughts.  I will work on that.  Buyer beware 🙂

Evaluation of 2009 Goals:

  • Move out: Not happening until spring.
  • Improve overall health: I have done an above average job with this.  The diet has improved some, working out has gone well losing 7 pounds this month.  February brings a more intense workout regimen with more emphasis on just running and training for the half-marathon.
  • Smile more in pictures: Well, I can not remember the last time I had a picture taken, so this one is pending.
  • Create a personal blog: I have kept up with this; the response has been more than I had ever expected.  Thank you to all the readers that have taken even a minute of time to spend reading my ramblings.
  • Eat out less: FAIL.  I still go out to lunch 2-3 times a week; and eat out for dinner at least twice a week.
  • Improve money management: if I eat out less, that will help out in this department. I’ve been alright at this, can be better.
  • Ask questions: still working on this one. I need to act like I am five and ask ‘why’ more.
  • Become more giving: It is not about what you do when people are looking, it is what you do when no one is looking.  I am happy with what I have done so far; again, there is always more that one can do.
  • No more drinking: This one has been the most intriguing for many of my friends. I made it through January drink-free, and people are still willing to hang out with me!  Here is the shocker: it was extremely easy.  There is no reason why this will change.  My goal is to go through the half-marathon training without a drink, then celebrate by having three beers the next day on my birthday and passing out.   P.S. it has been since December 28th since my last drink, just for the record.

Overall grade for January: ‘B’.  I did a good job at most of the above goals.  The continuing theme of my life: I can always do better.  Once I do, then everything will be in place; maybe then a few other things will happen that I want.

Let us see what February brings.

~J

twitter: @jasondouglas

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Breaking News: I have been banned from chatting on Facebook!

January 29, 2009 9 comments

This is breaking news, brought to you by Jason Douglas.

After dinner at Fuji-Ya and working out with Katie, I arrived home, ready to relax and do a touch of work. On the way to relaxing, I load up facebook. Noticing a few friends online worth chatting with, I messaged one a simple ‘what up’; that’s when everything went wrong.

“You have exceeded the limit for messages on chat”

WHAT? I read their FAQ’s for an explanation:

“Facebook has determined that you were using a feature at a rate that is likely to be abusive. Before you were blocked, you were given a warning to slow down your use of this feature. For example, if you were blocked from sending friend requests, then we determined that you were adding new friends too quickly. Please be aware that further abuse of such features can result in your account being permanently disabled and removed from the site entirely.”

Also:

“Facebook has limits in place to prevent abuse of our features and to protect users from potential spam.”

One more hilarious note from the FAQ page:

“Facebook has several features in place to limit the potential for abusive or annoying behaviors on the site. One of these features is a cap on the speed and frequency at which a user sends messages to other users.

Please note that even if all of your conversations were legitimate interactions with friends, our message service is not a chat client, and should not be treated as such.

As a recommended alternative, we suggest you check out Facebook Chat…”

Facebook has features to limit the potential of annoying behaviors?  How about making the chat client work properly and not show a ‘red dot of death’!

Facts: I never received a warning to slow down.  I am not spam.  I had not been on facebook since 5pm, notified of my ban at 10:20pm; how can I be overusing something I’m not logged into.

I am still able to write on walls, update my status, comment on other statuses.  I am unable to chat.  GARBAGE!

This is something that is unheard of.  I have honestly never heard of anyone being banned from just chatting on facebook.  Is this a first?  Have you had or heard of a similar experience from a friend?

Facebook chat, thank you for FAILING once again!

For more information, go to facebook’s FAQ’s

~J

twitter: @jasondouglas

Hot Topic: Maintaining Your Social Media Reputation

January 25, 2009 3 comments

This has been a hot topic of conversation of late wherever a conversation can take place.  Blogs, twitter, at work, everywhere.  Two of the main questions asked in this debate:

  • How do maintain a good reputation on social media/networking sites?
  • Can you or should you blend personal and professional comments?

First, let us discuss twitter:

In recent blog posts, people have been giving phenomenal examples of people destroying their social media reputation.  There’s the FedEx/Ketchum twitter oops that has been a part of conversations.  The culprit in this case chose to share his true feelings about an area which he was visiting; not a wise move (click the link above to learn why).   It is extremely difficult to share your thoughts in 140 characters without the chance of having what you say misconstrued.

This, among other happenings, brought on a debate on whether or not there should be a ‘best practices’ or regulation for twitter use among people at my work.  The argument for regulation: each employee is a representative of the agency, and for each client.  If one of us were to say something deemed offensive by others, it may reflect negatively on the agency, on the clients, and may detract potential clients from dealing with my work.

By regulating what you can or can not say on twitter, are you infringing on the First Amendment: Freedom of Speech?

My proposed solutions: ban twitter at work; or, trust that your employees aren’t idiots.

To answer the questions above for twitter (in my opinion): you build and maintain your reputation by being yourself and using common sense; you can and should combine personal with professional tweets.  It all depends on what you want people to know about you.

Let’s talk facebook and myspace:

I will share a story about my first experience with how what my facebook profile was showing had an impact on what others thought.  During my senior year, I was walking into my market research class.  Knowing I was late, I tried to make a graceful, quiet enterance.  Unfortunately, my seat was in the front row, and hiding myself, a 6’4” hunk of a man, is difficult to do.  My professor stopped her teachings, said ‘hello Jason! Looks like you had a fun weekend…’ which greatly confused me to how she would know what I did over the weekend.  I wasn’t in St. Cloud with any of my classmates; I was back home here in the Twin Cities area.  She then referenced some pictures that were tagged of me on what she called ‘face space’ (meant facebook), and gave me a warning/advice that I’ve used and share when I can:’might want to be careful what you post about yourself, it could cost you a job.’  That night, I de-tagged myself from over 100 photos where I looked blacked out, or was doing something stupid.  To this day, I am very careful about what pictures are taken and tagged of me.

Facebook and myspace are more visual than twitter.  It may not be so much what you say on facebook, but what you allow to be showed.

Why does it matter what you post on twitter or facebook?  These sites, specifically what you put on them, represent who you are whether you like it or not.  Think of yourself as a brand; people only know what they can see.  What your audience can see is how you’ll be seen.

Despite the legal right to post whatever we want, pictures, status updates, pledge our allegiance to a group, team, or politician; it matters to others.  If you have a picture that depicts you in a non-sober state, one may think that you’re priorities are your social life versus your professional life.  If you have numerous pictures that show you holding three shots in one hand, two cigarettes in another hand, and eyes as glossy as can be, you make it easy for someone to come up with 1,000 words to describe who you are based on a picture.

Is this right? No.  Is this reality? Yes.

Some people have created both personal and professional twitter and/or facebook accounts.  Others choose to make their profiles private only to their friends.   This is something that I will never do; I have nothing to hide. In my opinion, if someone makes their profile private, that means there is something worth hiding, something that the person knows should not be public.  We have the power to control exactly what is out there about ourselves.   You can still show you have a party side without looking like you don’t remember the picture you’re in, and still look attractive to an employer, a future boyfriend or girlfriend, etc.

To answer the questions above for facebook/myspace (in my opinion): you build and maintain your reputation by being yourself and using common sense; you can and should combine personal with professional tweets.  It all depends on what you want people to know about you.

Notice how the answers are the same for both twitter and facebook/myspace.  Tips for not being put into social media purgatory:

  • be yourself
  • be smart
  • if your Mom and Dad would be ashamed of  what you’re saying or how you look in a pic, don’t post it

Good luck!

~J

twitter: @jasondouglas

MLK Jr. Had A Dream In ’63; What Is Reality in ’09?

January 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Below is the transcript from Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech given on August 28, 1963.  After the speech text will be my analysis of the speech in terms of where we are as a society on making this dream a reality.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

National Park Service)

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Every year, people analyze whether or not the dream has been fulfilled.  In a recent cnn.com poll asking african-americans if they feel that King’s dream is fulfulled, over two-thirds (69%) feel that his dream has been fulfilled.  That figure is more than double the percentage of people that feel the dream has been fulfilled based on a similar poll taken last March.  The election of Barack Obama is likely the main contributor for the spike in approval.   Let’s take a deeper look into what has really changed in the last 46 years.

King looks back 100 years prior to his speech back to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, how the negro was not free in 1863, and still was not free in 1963.  King says they have come to Washington D.C. to cash their check from America for ‘a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ This is a check that he felt America had ‘given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds”.’

Are African-American people free?  Does America’s bank have sufficient funds so the check can be cashed in 2009? African-American people are more free than they were 46 years ago, but not completely.  The check has only been partially cashed; they’re owed plenty more, and the bank has the funds.

We’re not talking about putting more African-American people in places of power, not talking about the upper-class here; we are talking about the middle-class, the lower-class.  How far has Black-America come in 46 years?

In the 2000 census, African-American’s were overrepresented in the lowest and second lowest income quintiles, and underrepresented in the highest quintiles, having the lowest per thousand households in the top five percent of household incomes.  As I said, the check is being cashed, but African-American’s are still owed.

Race All households Lowest fifth Second fifth Middle fifth Fourth fifth Highest fifth Top 5%
White alone Number in 1000s 92,702 16,940 18,424 18,978 19,215 19,721 5,695
Percentage 81.93% 74.87% 81.42% 83.87% 84.92% 87.16% 87.93%
Asian alone Number in 1000s 4,140 624 593 786 871 1,265 366
Percentage 3.65% 2.76% 2.26% 3.47% 3.84% 5.59% 6.46%
African American or Black Number in 1000s 13,792 4,474 3,339 2,637 2,053 1,287 236
Percentage 12.19% 19.77% 14.75% 11.65% 9.07% 5.69% 1.04%
Hispanic or Latino
(of any race)
Number in 1000s 12,838 3,023 3,130 2,863 1,931 1,204 269
Percentage 11.33% 13.56% 13.83% 12.20% 8.53% 5.89% 1.19%

I don’t think the issue is with the opportunities out there for African-Americans.  America is as close as ever in being truly equal in giving all races the equal opportunities.  What is the perception of the African-American?

Do you lock your car when you see an African-American walk by while you’re in traffic?

Do you make assumptions about an African-American if they’re dressed a certain way?

Do you assume that since the majority of violent crimes covered on television news involve African-American’s in a negative light, that’s how all African American’s are?

When you hear about a white athlete that is in trouble with the law, how do you react?

When you hear about an African American athlete in trouble with the law, how do you react?

Do you ever use the ‘N’ word in conversation with friends in a casual way?

Questions to seriously think about.  I’ll answer them from my point of view: I lock my car whenever I drive (fear of falling out somehow while driving); I have made assumptions about all people based on dress, including my close friends; I know better than to think that only African-American’s are criminals, white people also commit crime; white athlete = idiot, African-American athlete = idiot (remember, stupid does not have a race); the ‘N’ word is gross.

King later says ‘I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.’  What is the current American dream? Is it about racial equality?  Or is it about financial security?

Arguably the most famous quote from King’s speech: ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’  I don’t think that anyone is judged initially by the content of their character.  We live in a society that makes it easy to only look on the outside of someone; our society loves easy anything.

Overall, America is further along the process of achieving racial equality.  America is not where it can be, where it should be.  It would be stupid of me to say that it takes time for something like this to come to fruition; it has only been a few hundred years in the making.  January 20th will be a day in history, a day many Americans, including myself, did not think would happen so early into this millenium with the official inaguration of President-Elect Barack Obama.  The fact that he was elected as a partial African-American (he has more than just African-American heritage in him) shows that the American public, for at least one day, was able to see beyond race and elect who they thought was the right candidate.

Someday, we will all be equal.

That’s my two cents, but what do I really know?  I’m a 6’4” white male in marketing.

Sunday Thoughts

January 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Today has been a pretty chill day.  Other than doing laundry, I have been a complete pile.  Sometimes, you need days like this to recharge.  When the opportunity presents itself for a very chill day, my mind runs faster than normal; even faster than at 2am.

Some of the thoughts that have passed through the brain today:

  • Why is there this feeling of entitlement inside me?  What do I really deserve?
  • Does it ever not snow in Minnesota?
  • -4 pounds since the beginning of the year, still miles away from where I need to be
  • Will it happen?
  • Why did I not bring in my car to get an oil change this weekend?
  • Am I all sports, sports, sports?  I think I need new/more hobbies…
  • Why is it so tough for me to enjoy the ride of life?  I want ‘it’, and I want ‘it’ now… being patient is difficult…
  • Are the Eagles actually going to comeback and win?
  • The Eagles are winning… wow…
  • How do you use TwitPic?
  • Am what I’m doing right now in life, for friends, for random people… is it enough? no…
  • Hope I like sushi the second time around as much as I did the first time

There’s a lot more running through my head; more than I really want to share.  There’s plenty of material up there to get people wondering about me.  I consider my over analyzing, random way of thinking to be one of my strengths and weaknesses at the same time.  When something is over analyzed, one might distort what is reality into their pile of hypothetical thoughts.  That’s where people get in trouble, including myself on occasion.  I do my best to accept things in life for what they are; right now, my best is not enough.

Can you see why it’s impossible for me to fall asleep at night?  This brain of mine never stops…

That’s all for now; Happy Sunday Funday.

P.S. great finish to the Eagles/Cardinals game.

~J

twitter:@jasondouglas

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Networking: Not Just For Business

January 17, 2009 2 comments

Networking is something that most every career oriented person does.  The saying ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ might be the slogan for networking.  The reason we do it: meet like minded people in a related industry or a potential client to further our career or business respectively.  Networking does not always have to be for business purposes.  Here is a recent example:

After Christmas, a friend of mine named Michelle moved from Minnesota to Nashville, TN for a promotion she accepted from General Mills.  It is a big step for a 23 year old girl to move by herself to a foreign place is a huge step.  Not knowing anyone in your new home makes it that much more difficult.

I was not worried about Michelle meeting new people.  She has one of the most outgoing personalities I have ever met.  Despite that, there’s no guarantee that Nashville would be ready with open arms to Michelle.  Brainstorming at 2am on a night where I could not sleep (as usual), the lightbulb started to shine bright, the brain was fully functioning and running full with ideas.  One of the ideas led to me think of another friend I had that lived in Nashville, Emily.

Emily and I met in New Orleans at an AMA Collegiate Conference.  A graduate of Nebraska-Lincoln, she moved to Nashville in 2007 in search for something new and a great career.   After thinking about Emily and Michelle, the rest was simple.  I talked to Emily about Michelle who was all for me giving Michelle her contact info.  That happened in a facebook message I sent to Michelle on another 2am night where I could not sleep.

Last night, Emily and Michelle finally got together, went out for drinks, text messaged meplenty in an attempt to lead me to think that they were not getting along, and had a great night. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a fantastic friendship.

Plenty of people move to new places with no friends; it is something that I don’t think I would want to do or could to at this point in my life.  This is one of the benefits of social networking sites.  People that you meet a few times, even only once, can be added to your ‘friend’ list on facebook, myspace, twitter, etc.  By keeping in touch with them, that leaves the possibility of a story like this being told down the road.  Networking brough two people together for non-business reasons, and should not be used just to advance  your career or to gain a new client.  No matter how big your client list is, or how many business cards you trade with industry people, one can never have enough real friends in their network.

I love bringing people together 🙂

Have you ever networked through a friend to meet someone new just for friendship? Would you ever try it?

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

Cash Money: what’s the point?

January 16, 2009 6 comments

Please don’t think I’m questioning the existence of money based on the title.  This is something that has been discussed my circle for years, and needs to be shared and discussed with you.

The title says it all: ‘cash money: what’s the point?’  The title suggests that we, as money loving people, should question the existence of paper money, such as cash, checks, money orders, etc.

Cash has been a part of everyone’s life for as long as we’ve been alive.  When many of us were younger, we were thrilled when we earned our monthly allowance.  I used to get $5-$10 for an allowance; that five or ten dollar bill was a prized possession which was spent on the finest baseball cards at the time.   As we’ve grown older, we learn about credit and check cards.  With this tool at our disposal, cash was no longer necessary to have on hand anymore.

With online banking becoming increasingly popular, giving each person the ability to track what they spend their money on, more people have quit carrying cash on hand.  Are people more financially responsible if they can see exactly what they spend their money on versus saving each receipt from each purchase?  It’s quite shocking for me to see how much money would go to bar tabs or eating out.  If all of those outings were paid with cash, it would be more difficult to track where my money went to.

Here’s the problem: some establishments still consider cash as the number one option.  Why?  Most rental companies require cash or check.  Chase Auto Finance essentially forces you to send in a check since they won’t allow you to pay more than the minimum online while adding on a hefty fee for online payment.  Parking lots and meters still rely on quarters and cash.  Wouldn’t life be more simple if credit/debit card was the universal method of payment?

I remember in college, every Thursday night, our group would have to make a trip to the atm to get cash; none of the downtown bars accepted credit card.  We always felt that was an unnecessary trip to take, distracting us from the ‘social networking’ we wanted to participate in.  Why wouldn’t the bars just take a card for a payment? Money has the same value whether it’s cash, check, or card.  Why not make it easier for the customer and accept cards?

Let’s take a look at the best evidence I have for my argument against cash.  In this video, we see a well-oiled food service operation.  Notice how everything is working like clockwork.  Food and plates are flying, bottles are being thrown, and the place is full of people; it looks almost chaotic.  However, everything continues to flow well because all the customers are paying with their Visa Check Cards.  All is well until our meek little friend pulls his wallet out and pulls out some green stuff.  He stops the flow, which leads to a domino effect of epic failure; the whole operation comes to a complete hault.  Meek cash guy gets his change, the next customer uses the Visa, and the operation is up and running successfully once again.

So many issues come up when cash, check, or money orders are involved.  I pay my monthly car payment via check to Chase, due every month on the 4th.  In order to hope it arrives on time, I need to send it at least five days prior to the due date.  There’s no guarantee that my payment will arrive by the due date.  If the USPS doesn’t get the payment to Chase on time, I get a late fee.  I did my part in sending it days in advance; something beyond my control made the payment late, and I get punished.  Not only would I get a late fee, it could effect my credit rating which would have long term effects on my financial future.  With online payment, you can schedule a payment for the next day, even same day for a fee (some sites allow same day payment without a fee).  Not only is online payment more instant, it’s more secure as well.

Checks are a pain to write, and also to accept.  I’m not complaining about earning a paycheck, I’m commenting on receiving a physical check every week from my employer.  My employer does not do direct deposit for his employees.  Why? Good question.  Because of this business philosophy, I have to inconvenience myself and go to a bank which is always out of the way, take time out of my day to gain control of my money. It would be green of our company to go paperless and not hand out weekly checks; everyone loves a green conscious company.  How many of you have direct deposit?  Of those who have direct deposit, who does not take advantage of that program?

The only reason I have checks: rent (when I paid in school/when I move out in the spring), and car payment.  The only reason I carry cash: parking in downtown Minneapolis.  I have had to drive around downtown Minneapolis to find a parking ramp that would accept credit cards because I did not have any cash on hand. If there weren’t any parking lots that accepted credit cards, does that mean I wouldn’t be able to park anywhere?  Who carries cash on them every day?

Some bar games are realizing what the wave of the future is; Golden Tee and SilverStrike Bowling have new machines that accept credit card payments.  Why can’t the rest of the world adopt plastic as the universal payment method?

My questions to you:

  • Do you think that paper money will become obsolete within our lifetime?
  • Should there always be the option between cash, check, or credit card?

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas