Want to Help Local Restaurants? Pay Cash

20 08 2009

I found this Free Press article from @joefoodie on Twitter.  This jist of the article is that some Detroit area restaurants are starting to offer “discounts” to patrons who pay cash instead of using a credit card.  Why would they do that you ask?  They make more money. 

Each swipe of a card costs him a flat 15 to 20 cents, he says, plus add-ons of 2% to 3% of the transaction amount.

“If you do a high volume of credit cards, at the end of the month it adds up. It’s the volume you do, so by turning around and giving back to the customers, it’s a win-win: You’re giving back to the customer, and in return you get people coming into your restaurant and keeping you afloat.

OK.  That makes sense from a business standpoint.  From a consumer stand point, he’s walking a fine line.  According to your terms of service with your credit cards, retailers can not charge you more to use your card than they can if you pay cash.  In Michigan, doing this is not illegal.  In 10 other states, there are laws against credit card surcharges.

I said earlier the article featured in the story was “walking a fine line.”  Technically, he’s not charging more to use a credit card.   He’s giving a “discount” to use cash.  It’s sort of a grey area that gas stations have been using for sereral years to give consumers an incentive to pay with cash so they can increase their profits.  As long as they don’t call it a payment card checkout fee, they’re probably going to get away with charge YOU more to use a credit card. 

Surchage.  Cash discount.  No matter what they call it, it’s accomplishing the same thing.  My family is very big on paying in cash.  I, on the other hand, almost always pay with credit.  I just don’t like carrying more than twenty buck or so.  If I have the cash, I will pay with it, but most times I don’t.

What’s the moral of the story?  Ultimately, how you pay is up to you.  If you frequent a local joint often, think about paying cash.  You’ll be helping the owners of the place by letting them pocket that extra 2-3%.  It’s a good thing to do, but if businesses are going to accept credit cards, they shouldn’t penalize you for using one.

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Free Pizza for McCain Signs

23 10 2008

I don’t know how else you would think this would end….

A Warren pizzeria owner received threatening phone calls Wednesday after a political pizza deal went awry.

“They’ve been actually calling here and threatening my life,” said Salvatore’s Pizzeria owner Diana Franzoni, who previously offered free, small pizzas to anyone who turned in a McCain-Palin yard sign after the Republican senator closed his Michigan offices. “It’s just ridiculous. People have blown something completely innocent completely out of proportion.”

That’s not the best part of the story. 

“We put out a sign that said ‘McCain gave up on Michigan. Michigan should give up on McCain. Turn in your McCain lawn sign for one free, mini pizza with topping,’ ” she said.

Approximately 300 signs were turned in by young and old customers, but the promotion ended Tuesday when police visited the business after receiving complaints that some of the submitted signs were stolen.

Duh.  If I could get a free pizza for turning in a McCain sign, I would probably wait until it got dark and jack a few too.  Did the owner really think that die-hard Republicans would pull their signs up and give them to a pizzeria for a mini pizza? 

I love election season.  You always get the best (wierdest?) news stories.