retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The New York Times reports this morning that the City of Philadelphia has passed legislation that will require retailers to take cash.

According to the story, “Retail outlets that have stopped accepting cash say it is faster and easier for their employees to process digital payments. But critics say the practice discriminates against people without bank accounts or credit cards, or who simply prefer to pay cash.”

The new law goes into effect on July 1. Fines can go as high as $2,000.

The story points out that “the State of New Jersey and the cities of New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington are considering similar bills.” Just a few days ago, we reported here that in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to the Atlanta Falcons, the concession stands no longer will take cash.

However, the Times also notes that at least in Philadelphia, “many transactions will be exempt, including those at parking lots and garages; businesses that sell goods through a membership model; rentals that require security deposits; online, telephone or mail-in transactions; and goods sold exclusively to employees.”

Which makes me wonder …

My first reaction to this story was that Philadelphia has, for all intents, banned the opening of checkout-free stores such as Amazon Go. But maybe not, if Amazon were to argue that it has a kind of membership model for people who shop at its Go stores.

It would be an interesting, and even Eye-Opening, test.
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