In a world ruled by the little plastic card, cash and change are quickly becoming a thing of the past. In Saint John, it’s nearly impossible to find a business that doesn’t have the credit or debit pay option. Yet here, in our own little corner of the port city, we’ve managed to find one.
It may be old news to most people at UNBSJ, but for first year students like Jeff Driscoll, finding out that the campus Tim Horton’s accepts only cash, change and meal plan cards is a huge shock to the system, especially since public franchises had entered the world of virtual payment years ago. Made known to customers only by the small signs stuck to the front window and register, our personal branch catches some people off-guard as they go to pay for their orders.
“Luckily, when I found out, I had cash on me, but out of habit I always pay with debit,” Driscoll says, “They told me that they don’t accept [it] because when the line-ups get really busy, paying with [your card] only holds up the already expanding line even more.”
With the lines to Tim Horton’s already spilling out into the hallway in the mornings, this makes sense, but the restrictions on plastic don’t just end with cards that require a pin number. Gennalyn Hicks found this out the hard way after receiving some Tim Cards for Christmas during her first year, “I saw the sign on the machine, but I wasn’t thinking that the cards would count as debit,” she says. Like a majority of the unlucky ones caught without their cash, Hicks had to leave empty-handed.
This story is a familiar one, as many students find themselves without solid pay when their coffee cravings arise. “It gets frustrating because this is a world of plastic. Nobody deals in cash anymore. Nobody. I have to go all the way to the bank, or to the ATM, which I don’t like because it charges extra to take money out,” Hicks says, outlining her dislike of the policy.
Thankfully, for those who prefer to use their cards, the campus boasts a cafeteria fully-equipped with debit machines. However, for students without a meal plan, it has been known to be expensive there. Hicks believes that the Tim Horton’s policy combined with the cafeteria prices is actually helping business at UNBSJ’s other card-friendly shop: Java Moose. “I think [the issues with these places] are bringing more kids [there]. If you think about it, it’s just easier to head over to the Commons and get coffee or food with a quick swipe,” says Hicks. If this is true, the campus may be seeing more white cups than brown ones kicking around in the near future.
Whether you are willing to spend a little extra at the ATM, or refuse to use anything but your bank card at Java Moose, one thing is for certain: unless you have a meal plan, it doesn’t look like Canada’s favourite coffee shop will be taking your plastic any time soon. If you find yourself unable to live without your daily double-double, sit tight and keep a stash of toonies on hand; after all, the technologies invading our planet can’t stay away for too long, right?