Señor Sisig Food Truck Goes Cashless


But, you do know that there is no federal law that states businesses must accept cash, right? The federal law says cash must be accepted for debts and taxes. Buying food from a food truck is neither of those.

It’s not an assumption – I say that as someone who sees it in practice on a daily basis. It’s actually part of what I do in my job – I oversee Finance for a company that accepts both cash and credit cards, both on the previously mentioned vending machines, and on invoiced orders. It’s more work (and therefore higher labor costs) to process a cash transaction than a card transaction. Someone has to count the cash, balance the cashbox, get the deposit together, take it to the bank, and then reconcile the deposits at the end of the day and again at the end of the week. Whereas, with the card transactions, we process the card, the card company settles the charge and deposits the funds in our account for us, and we just reconcile the deposits at the end of the week. It’s not necessarily the time saved on the front end – it’s the time (and money) saved on the back end.

I think that stereotype went out a long time ago, at least here in LA.


(Gary Soup) #82

I’m not talking about Federal law. I’m talking about fair treatment of human beings (the Feds might call this “San Francisco values”). I’m sure the City would have included the requirement to accept cash as a condition of being granted a permit if it had occurred to them that it would be an issue.



I don’t understand this argument. What unfair treatment is occurring? They are not restricting people from buying their food based on race, gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, national origin, etc. In other words, all the protected classes. Having a credit/debit card or not is not a protected class. There are plenty of “poor” people out there who have credit and debit cards, and there are plenty of “rich” people out there who don’t.

The bottom line is, they are free to do what they want, within the confines of the law. No laws have been broken. The lines are still there, so that means most people are ok with the cashless system. They may have lost a few customers, but apparently the trade off was still worth it to them as a business. One may not agree with their decision, but it’s one’s decision whether they want to frequent a business with a business practice they don’t agree with.


(Gary Soup) #84

They are denying access to their food to individuals without credit cards or smart phone apps, even if those individuals have the wherewithal to buy it in the form of legal currency. This in class-based discrimination and insensitivity to it is what I characterized as arrogance. It’s all too typical among millennials.

There are none so blind as those who will not see

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“It’s true that going out to restaurants isn’t a right. But in an era when an increasing number of restaurants no longer accept legal tender, it’s useful to think about who this system benefits most: the businesses and banks, at the expense of consumers.”

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Even though I’ve posted again cashless restaurants here, it’s not a major peeve of mine. A bigger concern for me, which is mentioned in the Eater article, is the push to go cashless on public transportation, which is different and seems unambiguously discriminatory to me.


(Gary Soup) #87

Thanks for the link. The author pretty much supports everything I’ve been arguing here:

But consider another factor of service: Who is welcome? Cashless restaurants are not illegal in most of the U.S. But when it comes to courting customers, not accepting cash is classist and discriminatory (Massachusetts’s law against refusing legal tender is meant to prevent “discrimination against cash buyers”). And the topic is not being questioned or examined enough by the people who support causes that strive for equality.

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I worked a girl scout cookie booth in SF with my daughter the past two weekends, one in West Portal which is older more residential/families and one on Market and Dolores in front of Whole Foods where there are more condos and younger crowd. At the West Portal location maybe 2 people asked if we took Apple Pay or Venmo. At the Market Street location about 40 percent of the people asked if we took some form of electronic payment. None of us had Apple Pay but one parent had Venmo so we actually lost a bunch of sales to people who simply do not carry cash.



I prefer to carry, and pay, with cash. It’s how I’ve always functioned. In the article, someone suggested buying the pre-paid cards as a way around the issue, if one is concerned about privacy/data brokering, or if one doesn’t have access to credit or is “unbanked”; while that is an option, I still see it as being easier for the business and more money for the banks and much less consumer friendly.

“…some argue that going cashless is more than just an inconvenience: A host of factors — including lack of a permanent address, banks’ minimum balance requirements, and lack of identification — prevent a sizable swath of the population from being able to obtain a credit or debit card.”

It is good to know that some pols are paying attention to the issue, though I am surprised that SF is letting this occur.

"Some public servants are paying attention. “What do poor people do when they don’t have access to credit or debit and can’t use a buck?” asks Chicago Alderman Ed Burke. In response to the rise of cashless restaurants, Burke introduced an ordinance last fall that wouldn’t allow restaurants (or stores) to go cashless. The ordinance argues that “a ‘no cash’ sign is a ‘not welcome’ sign for many without ready access to credit, including those who are low or fixed income, homeless, undocumented, young, or victims of identity theft.”

It also argues that given age requirements for credit cards, cashless spots might be implementing “de facto age discrimination” against those under 18, while also unnecessarily “asking customers to forego their privacy.” The ordinance is currently pending in the city’s Committee on License and Consumer Protection."

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