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As I was walking home from a pre-lunchtime appointment today, I had a hankering for a taco at this new, to remain nameless, taco place in my hood.  We ate there a few weeks back and thought their tacos (carnitas for me) were quite tasty.  Salads for lunch have been my thing lately, but some days you’ve just got to give!

I ordered a carnitas taco again, sans guacamole and salsa (cilantro hater), and had visions of sitting in their bright, clean and cheerful dining area, eating my taco while catching up on emails, facebook and tweetdeck.  Sounds like a perfect lunch for one to me!

As I was paying I noticed their hand written sign on the register announcing ‘cash only.’  Perplexing. My first question was, what are they trying to hide?  Second question was, why do customers get the short end of the stick? Third question was, are you trying to make money from the ATM transaction fees from the cheesy ATM machine in your store?  Oops, no ATM machine.  So, my new third question was, why are you making a conscious decision to limit your sales?  Fourth question was, is the need of a handwritten sign stating cash only an indication that customers get caught up by this often?  Fifth question was, why a poorly handwritten sign when you’ve put an obvious amount of time and money into making the place look great? And, my last question was, is this the one of two days a month that I actually am carrying cash?

Ok, as you probably guessed, those were all rhetorical questions that I was asking myself in those split, point of sale, seconds.  My non-rhetorical, out loud question was, “are you only taking cash moving forward?”  The answer from the kind man behind the counter was, “yes, unfortunately, we are only taking cash from now on.”

Well, that is unfortunate.  From one consumer that rarely has cash (debit card is so much easier!), I have to think twice about going into this establishment and if after thinking twice I decide to go in, then I have to think a third time about precisely what I can afford to order given the quantity of cash in my pocket.  Either way you look at it, my getting a taco just got harder and their sales just were capped.

So, my words of wisdom today for all small business owners out there, credit card fees are not the enemy.  One to two percent fees will pay off with increased sales and higher customer satisfaction in a very short period of time.  So, proudly take down that sign…go ahead…I’ll wait.

In conclusion, I did have a tasty taco in a bright, clean and cheerful dining room, doused with lots of cilantro-free hot sauce.  Hats off to the cooks.  However, I got less ‘work’ done than anticipated because I couldn’t stop wondering what their motivation was in deciding to go ‘cash only.’  Ah well, next month on the first of the two days that I have cash in my pocket, I’ll probably have another taco.  Until then…

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