Two weeks ago, I stopped by a Dollar Store looking for nice winter gloves and some other small items. I wandered the store, picked out several things, and brought my choices up to the counter.
The cashier rang it all up, and I offered them my PayPal Debit Card.
"Sorry," he said, "we don't take credit cards."
This happened again at another small store of the Dollar variety, and then at McDonald's. In this day and age, what business doesn't take credit cards? Our business is in the middle of the application process for a merchant account, and we accept them via PayPal.
Cash has been earmarked for non-traditional transactions (garage sales, thrift shops), but buying gas, food, sundries -- that all gets taken right from my account, no worrying about if I have enough in my pocket, no waiting for checks to clear. The only rare times we write a check are for bills, but most of those are paid online. The way the world of instant transactions is moving, who knew that businesses can still operate on a cash-only basis?
Here's things I've noticed about US Money:
- The 'penny' does not say 'penny' anywhere on it -- it's "one cent".
- The 'nickel' doesn't say 'nickel' anywhere on it -- it's "five cents".
- The 'dime' does not say what it's worth -- it's identified as "one dime".
- The quarter doesn't say how many cents it's worth -- it says "quarter dollar".
- The dollar is simply, "one dollar" -- no indication of cents.
So, really, there's no defined steps to get from a penny to a dollar, just looking at the money itself. A dollar could be worth 40 cents -- making the quarter dollar actually 10 cents. That'd make 2 nickels to a quarter, or 8 in a dollar. The dime, just as undefined as the dollar, could be the half-dollar, or twenty cents, just for simplicity...or, maybe it should be a 3-cent piece. That'd be the most useful -- that, or a 7-cent piece.
What I guess I'm getting at is, like our english sets of measurement, we're tied to tradition in a way that requires learning a whole lot of rules just to understand what the hell is going on. To ask someone for a penny, they have to know what a penny is -- they can't just LOOK at the coins for a name. Giving change requires two calculations: one to figure out the math, and a second to translate the math into coins. If I hand you a five dollar bill to pay for a $3.67 tab, how do you figure? You have to have learned that a dollar is 100 cents (a relatively easy assumption when you look at the way we write money terms), but once you come up with the need for 33 cents in change -- you need to translate in your head, and hope you can get around touching a dime. It makes you think about just how many things you have to learn, simply because there's no inherent logical structure to them.
I noted right away that the voice of Violet, the invisigirl-style teenaged daughter, didn't sound like a cartoon voice. She was very good, mind you, and definitely right for the role, but she didn't even really sound like an actor. Turns out -- the voice was that of This American Life alumni Sarah Vowell. For as much of a cult following as Vowell has, there's been little fanfare about her acting debut - but she's done a couple of interviews. The difference is, when you listen to her on TAL, you kinda think, "she sounds like a cartoon character". She has a childish, sing-songy voice on the high end of her register, sounding much, much younger than you'd expect. From her history, as outcast, uncomfortable child -- to published writer, cartoon character, media expert with an audience crossing many, many lines, she's a superhero on the scale of us lost, loser geeks.
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Crap...for as much spam as I get, it's no wonder their automagically generated random names would eventually add up to someone I actually knew. That much be why they're so stupidly random -- with the 6 degrees of separation of Kevin Bacon, there's a higher possibility people actually know a Ismael Holley, Elvira Goodson, Winifred Jimenez, or Rosendo Reid than would ever actually READ a spam email.