Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cash pricing at Belmont Station

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.


  1. For years I've been a big plastic user myself. But a few local merchants have described to me the rapacious fees charged them by the third-party credit-card processors, and I've started using more cash at local stores.

    I like Belmont Station's approach. They're telling you honestly what the cost of credit cards is, and passing the savings on to you.

  2. Being a retailer myself, I think its a great idea. I had a customer give me a hard time because My registers charge 1.00 if you get cash back. If someone uses an ATM and gets say 40.00 the ATM may charge 2.00 and the bank could possibly charge 2.50 and higher. That's more than 10%.... I think I would rather pay me the retailer 1.00 and help offset the fees. Also everyone should shop the small business and stay away from the big corporate giants trying to take over and put us all in the unemployment line.

  3. I agree totally about supporting small business, and I always do when I can. I do not mind paying fees to a retailer for cash back, since I am in essence treating them as an ATM. But, in this economy, for me anyways, little things like this seem unwise. I have almost entirely stopped going to Belmont Station. Now, instead of getting my money, and paying fees, they aren't getting any money from me at all. Last time I did go, I wanted to get more stuff, since they always have great little surprises, but instead left, since I had reached my cash limit. I guess you could make an argument that I am just being snippy and lazy, but after working all day, I may just want to stop off and grab some beer, with my card. I know they have an ATM, but to me that is like saying "we don't want to pay bank fees, but screw you, you have to to use the ATM"
    Plus, I would point out, even with the cash pricing, they are still higher than both Beer Mongers and John's Market when comparing the exact same items. I love Belmont, and have had a lot of fun there, but this has definitely affected if I shop there.