As a member of Belmont Station's email list, I was recently informed of their new pricing setup.
From their email:
"Effective this Monday, November 2, the biggest discounts will go to CASH customers. Just as at the gas pump you now see two prices on all the beer, cider, mead, sake, and wine at Belmont Station. The CASH price is about 4% lower than the credit/debit price."
Hmmm, what to think of this? My first observation is that, to my knowledge, no other retail store,including bottle shops, does this. As a devotee to plastic currency, I know I am less likely to shop there now, knowing that someone in front of me, with the same product, will be paying less with cash.
Also, if I bring a certain amount of money, cash, and happen to see something new or interesting, I can not grab it if it eceeds the amount of cash I brought. I have to walk around thinking about how much I am spending, instead of grabbing a pint next door, and wandering around filling my six pack at will. Now yes, they will have an ATM there...
"We are also installing an ATM for your convenience, although we recommend you make sure you know if your bank will charge you extra to use what they call a "foreign" ATM. Tip: some credit unions and small banks do not charge these fees, that is the kind of ATM card I have."
As far as I know, the keeping the money local argument goes flying through the window when you are paying an ATM fee, and any money you are saving by using cash gets sucked back into that fee.
It could be I am being whiny about this. You may say, "just man up and bring cash", and "you can avoid a fee by going to your bank."
I do not like the idea of being in the same store, buying the same items, and paying different prices. Whether or not it is the cash price at Belmont, gas at the station, or whoever has that fucking Safeway card. Though not overly scientific, I did find a poll online regarding this issue regarding gas stations. Out of 26,335 votes, 29% of the votes said they would rather go elsewhere for gas to either protest the practice, or find a better price. Considering 40% of those polled didn't have stations that split prices, that is a staggering number.
But, I still like Belmont. And I don't think they are doing this to frustrate people on purpose, or or for any other reason but to save money for customers, and make more for themselves. That being said, I think I'll grab a pint at Belmont, and buy a beer at Beer Mongers. I guess it is the stuborn mule in me, but I don't like being punished for whatever payment option I choose.