Saturday 1 June 2013

#20 Denaro

There were a few articles in May about the prospect of a cashless society. Like this one and erm... this one. See? Ok those articles are probably rubbish. I think I read one somewhere. Anyway the point is, the concept's getting media coverage at the moment, which is good because cash, much like foreign languages and your average swimming pool, is an economic inefficiency. Its maintenance requires significant investment, which could be redirected towards more appropriate causes in the long term, if it were to be phased out in the short term.

Eager to embrace this particular upcoming societal movement, imagine how happy I was to be given a premature chance to do so when I accidentally left my cash at home yesterday. There I was, strolling particularly smugly along platform thirteen on account of having gotten an early night on Thursday, hauling my ass out of bed and dragging it along to London Bridge at 08:20 only to find that dressing down on a Friday is much less fun when your wallet is still in your suit jacket.

A couple of minutes after the train back to East Dulwich had pulled away from the platform with me on it, I realised that my keys were also still in the house, unlike any of my housemates. This day was getting worse all the time. Alighting at South Bermondsey with the intention of getting a third train back to London Bridge, it occurred to me that this station didn't have a ticket barrier, so I wandered down the steps hoping to walk the rest of the way. What South Bermondsey does have is a decent set of platform guards, who saw me U-turn after having spotted them and called me over. Knowing ones photocard ID number is helpful in such circumstances and it got me a temporary pass to London Bridge. The unlucky customer that stood beside me wasn't quite so convincing and when he protested with the guards that his ticket was valid. Ok said the guard, if you think you're right, try and walk past me onto the platform and I will physically stop you. Rail staff that regularly have to deal with Millwall fans aren't worth testing.

Now Natwest will fall over themselves to give you cash if you have photo ID or an emergency cash app. Without either it's a little more tricky. Knowing your card number, account details and security answers will get you a maximum amount of £10 and you'd better find an open branch because the telephone service offered on cash points is only available to people that have the app. Still at least I was covered for breakfast and lunch and just about managed to get to work for 09:30.

Probably not ready for a cashless society just yet but it was fun giving it a go.

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