Can you list all of the articles that love to lament how certain consumer practices should just die, be eliminated as options, or be taxed out of existence? There is quite a big list. Cash! Checks! Audio response! Signing pieces of paper! In person teller station banking! And do not even get me started on personal vices … cigarettes, booze, and even chocolate bars.
So when this article about paper checks caught my eye, I knew what to expect. I even understood the underlying feelings that prompted the author, good and bad. Good: “When will the future that I hope for ever show up? It will be heaven.” Bad: “I make money off of new solutions and no money off of these oddball consumer choices.”
Even the good annoys me a bit. Centralized planners like to push us all of the things they mandate as good for everyone or everyone else in some cases. Do you wonder if the author has a book of checks squirreled away for those times when it’s convenient to be “bad”? I know I do, but I am not sure I feel guilty—I just get things done by the most convenient way that fits the situation. And cash and checks still have their place, just fewer of them.
But should we mandate them away as consumer advocates? We are not central planners, we are hopeful servers of our community. We’re not regulators of consumer behavior, we are facilitators of our members’ needs and desired solutions.
But more importantly, each time we take options away from consumers in the hopes that scale will save us (you know the rationale that if everybody did it my way or a way I could join to do more I will finally gain some momentum), we end up being less of an alternative and more of a commodity vendor without distinction or competitive differences. We are the place where consumer-owners make the call for their community, the place where we still try to join our member’s agenda over having them give it all up to join ours.
So are we really behind Finland? (This question will make sense if you read the link.) Or in 1993 did Finland do something that we still cannot figure out why it would make sense for us to adopt? Why go against what consumers might use for another fifty years? I’ll still carry cash … until some efficiency nut outlaws it.
By the way; I did give up booze, never smoked, but still struggle with candy bars. Let consumers choose, price accordingly, and stop hating! What I hate is people who want new solutions they enjoy to be the only thing everyone gets to enjoy. Tell Me Why I’m Wrong!
This post appeared originally on Randy Karnes' "Tell Me Why I'm Wrong" blog on April 7, 2017.