Fed Up With Being Held Up, Store Owner Adopts No-Cash Policy

After being robbed at gunpoint for the second time in two years, the owner of a novelty shop in Fort Wayne, IN, has decided to no longer accept cash payments.

Rather than close the store following this last heist, in which the clerk’s hands were tied behind her back by the gunman, the owner of Stoner’s Novelty Market heeded the advice of his son and customers who told him to only accept checks and credit and debit cards.

According to Mr. Stoner, cash purchases only accounted for around 25% of the sales at Stoner’s Novelty.

Should more stores switch to this model? Are there types of stores that would definitely be hurt by going to a no-cash system?

NE Ind. novelty store stops accepting cash [IndyStar.com]

Thanks to Gibson for the tip!

Comments

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  1. lehrdude says:

    Cue “legal tender” comments in 3…2…1…

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      I sure like ‘em legal and tender. Oh, wait, this is about money, right? How disappointing.

    • fantomesq says:

      Unless someone owes a debt to this store, the legal tender argument is not applicable but I guess this is what you’re saying. :)

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I eat a candy bar in the store. Don’t I owe them a debt?

        • diasdiem says:

          No, you get arrested for shoplifting.

          • trentblase says:

            There are other examples: you break it you buy it policies

          • fantomesq says:

            Actually, this may qualify as a debt. You’re technically shoplifting as soon as you have concealed and moved the product but most stores won’t stop you until you try to leave the store without paying, so if you insist on paying on cash before you leave, you’re probably in the right. The store can (and may well) ban you from the premises though. Yes, you break it, you bought it may also well qualify.

            • MarkSweat says:

              And, if you are jerk about it, they can choose to collect the cash for the debt at your arraignment for shoplifting.

        • Keavy_Rain says:

          I have a friend who works store security for Wal-Mart in CA and he says if you eat the food in the store and leave the wrapper in the store, there’s nothing they can legally do to you. It’s known as “grazing” in the biz.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      If I understood correctly, cash cannot be denied for debt of service/bills, but grocery stores aren’t a debt of service, so this is completely legal right?

      • pop top says:

        Correct. Since you don’t have to buy something from that store, you don’t have a debt with them and they don’t have to take your cash.

        • Difdi says:

          On the other hand, if they have a delivery service that they bill you for after the delivery is made, they would be unable to refuse cash.

          • Powerlurker says:

            They technically could, but if it made it to court, you’d demonstrate that you made a legal offer of payment which was then refused by them.

            • guspaz says:

              The simple solution would be to only accept payment when the order was made, rather than received. At that point, you never owe a debt.

    • sleze69 says:

      I wish all stores adopted this model.

    • Caveat says:

      Unless there is a specific state law, a private business is not required to accept cash
      http://www.ustreas.gov/education/faq/currency/legal-tender.shtml

  2. zombiedictator says:

    He’s sacrificing some business and an increase in credit card processing transaction fees because he’s afraid of getting robbed. Doesn’t sound like the smartest of business decisions.

    • Commenter24 says:

      Cash does cost money to “process.” It takes time to count it, costs money to transport it to and from the bank, and carries with it a hard-to-quantify risk to loss (theft, misplacement, etc.).

      • fantomesq says:

        I thoroughly agree! In fact it can make the 3% on credit card transactions look downright appealing. No form of financial transaction is without its overhead.

        • Southern says:

          Isn’t one of the new rules or something on the CARD Act(s) that Congress just passed about limited the transaction fees or something?

          Pretty sure I recall reading it, but I don’t have time at the moment to go searching for it..

      • MarkSweat says:

        “theft, misplacement, etc”

        Add counterfeiting to that list. As anyone who has ever had to slow down their checkout line to use the little “is this Benjamin real” pen can attest, protecting against counterfeiting is a pain in the ass.

        At many stores, if a person pays with counterfeit bills and the cashier accepts the bill without checking, the “Monopoly Money” can be considered an “outside of normal loss” charged against the cashier. At minimum wage, a few bad Benjamins and you worked the week for free.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          “At minimum wage, a few bad Benjamins and you worked the week for free.”

          I was under the impression that pay can only be docked down to the minimum wage level. I wonder if this varies by state.

        • Palmer says:

          The pens don’t even work that well.

          They just indicate if the bill is made of the right “paper”.

          Take a single, bleach it out, reprint a 50 on it.

          Presto, fake $50 bill that WILL pass the pen test.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Another way to look at it is that he doesn’t want to place his employees in dangerous situations, and because the robberies persist, people aren’t going to want to work there. Even if he did find people willing to work there, he’s going to lose everything in the register every time the store is robbed, and the employee is still in danger.

      • mommiest says:

        My thought as well. I would feel horrible if one of my employees were tied up and threatened this way. He may just feel the additional money isn’t worth it.

      • coren says:

        I wonder if robbers are going to actually believe any signs posted saying no cash.

        or if they’ll believe the employee when they say there’s no cash to be had.

        I don’t know, this sounds like it could potentially make it *more* dangerous for employees

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        As someone else already pointed out, a robber may not heed the sign “No cash kept on premises, payment by credit/debit card or cheque only” and after getting frustrated that there’s no cash in the till to rob, will then either 1) rob the shop of its priciest merchandise, 2) rob the cashier/customer(s) of anything they have of value and/or 3) take something irreplaceable, like the life/lives of said cashier/customer(s) when the desperate robber fires that gun (s)he’s holding. I’d rather just let the robber have the few dollars in the till if it would save lives in the process. I’m also sure said storekeeper would have insurance to lessen the loss of the robbery, even if claims = higher premiums.

        • Dory says:

          Well, the merchandise isn’t such a big deal. What are they gonna do, start hauling out tubs of baby formula and frozen turkeys? Even if they do, they’ll only get a few hundred dollars of merchandise at absolute most, while a till on a good day can easily hold tens of thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, I can’t imagine frozen poultry has a particularly good resale value.

          As to “they’ll just shoot the clerk”, this is always a risk, and not one that will likely be exacerbated by this policy. Lots of shops practice frequent deposits (so the till never goes over a few hundred dollars) or even put all cash on top of the float straight into the safe, and these places do not have substantially higher death rates than other shops.

    • FatLynn says:

      I agree, because I imagine this is a largely cash business at the moment.

    • DariusC says:

      Being robbed for a few hundred dollars by a gunman > Being robbed for a few dollars by Visa/Mastercard.

      Let’s just hope that the guy who robs him next doesn’t complain about the pull…

      • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

        Smart move. Unfortunately, the zombies that choose to rob stores usually won’t be bright enough to read the “we accept no cash” sign. All it will take is one of the short-attention-span crowd with an itchy trigger finger getting frustrated because there’s no cash in the till. I’m afraid the store owner might become a statistic.

    • parliboy says:

      Here’s the thing: I am more likely pay cash at Mom and Pop businesses because I have a relationship with them and I want to support small businesses. A small business declining to take cash is not going to result in me not shopping there anymore.

      • jamar0303 says:

        Seeing as how cash sales were only a quarter of his total, he’s probably not going to lose sleep over people like you.

      • Inge240 says:

        I’d be concerned over paying for marijuana paraphernalia with a credit card though. The place is called Stoner’s Novelty Shop, it isn’t hard to determine what is being sold :)

  3. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    Is this even legal?

  4. hypochondriac says:

    I would say mom and pop grocery stores will lose out. Since the majority of purchase would probably be less than the merchant charge

    • jamar0303 says:

      ??? I thought it was a percentage on CCs and only flat on debit. So encourage credit purchases.

      • adamstew says:

        I am responsible for the merchant account here where I work. Here is our breakdown of fees:

        Credit Cards: 1.75% + $0.25 per transaction
        Debit Cards: 0.75% + $0.05 per transaction

        No matter how you slice it… the debit cards are cheaper.

        • Patrick Watson says:

          I work in the credit processing industry and can say that the fee structures can vary quite a bit from one processor to the next or even from one merchant to another. In the gas station and convenience store industry that I specialize it, it’s often the case that debit is cheaper for small transactions and credit is cheaper for larger transactions. The point is, it varies a lot, especially if you’re a merchant big enough to negotiate special rates.

        • iopsyc says:

          Which should be no surprise since the companies that issue those cards often run promotions encouraging consumers to use the credit option instead of debit. Those higher fees are how they can afford the promotion.

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I think the first thing you should have tried was renaming something other than Stoner’s. Somehow I feel like that would attract unsavory characters.

  6. Ben Popken says:

    Are red rubber noses an acceptable form of currency?

  7. haimtime says:

    Call up the Credit card companies and tell them that you are cash only, and bargain. I’m sure you can get some deal. Less cost per transaction, and higher percentage may be the way to go.

    I like the idea.

  8. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    There is an electrical supply store around the corner from my office that is strictly PO or Credit Card. No checks (bet they allow checks in the back for the payment of invoices, but not at the counter), no cash.

  9. pop top says:

    The guy is doing it to protect his employees, I don’t see a problem with it. It’s not like he has to take cash by law (please don’t trot out that “WELL IT SAYS LEGAL TENDER” argument since that only applies to actual debts). He probably feels it’ll be a lot less expensive for him than installing a time-lock safe or anything like that.

  10. pantheonoutcast says:

    How would only accepting checks and credit cards keep someone from robbing your business? Is he going to put a sign on the door that says, “I don’t accept cash – therefore robbing me would be counter-productive. Have a nice day.” They might not walk away with any money, but they’ve still gone through the actions of robbing the store, and might actually be angry when the store doesn’t hand over any money. They’re not exactly going to believe the clerk.

    And if he’s going to to resort to trusting criminals to read door signs, why not just put one up that reads, “This store patrolled by numerous employees armed with .44 Magnum revolvers.”?

    • Muddie says:

      Actually, yes, I do imagine him putting up a sign that says, “No cash accepted as payment nor any on premises” type things — much like gas stations or cabs say “maximum of $75 in safe at any time” type signs to deter theft.

    • minjche says:

      I see your point, but also consider that you can’t stop every robbery within reasonable means, so maybe he’s just making the best of a bad situation.

      Just because it doesn’t solve 100% of the problem doesn’t mean it’s not a solution.

      • cash_da_pibble says:

        absolutely.

        • jessjj347 says:

          Also he could keep a small amount of cash in the store ($100?) just in case a robber still robbed him, even with the “no cash” sign. So that way, he would lose a little money, but less than having all the sales money there.

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      That was my first thought, too…Some robber down the road is just going to get very Angry that there is no money, and someone’s going to get assaulted or killed.

    • IThinkThereforeIAm says:

      Pizza delivery people have had the sign on their cars/boxes/wherever stating that they only carry like $20.
      Also in convenience stores (and other places) the “cash is kept in the safe and staff has no way of opening it…”.
      I am guessing it may not be a 100% effective, but it probably lowered the number of hold-ups.

      .. of course if we have an illiterate would-be robber…

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        And pizza delivery drivers, taxi drivers, and convenience stores are still routinely robbed at gunpoint. There’s an assumption being made that a person who would rob a store that sells fake vomit and clown wigs would be planning their caper in advance and /or reading the door on the way in.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      If he puts a sign on the window or door that says “no cash accepted” robbers know there’s no immediate payoff and won’t go there looking for money.

    • MarkSweat says:

      And he could be putting his employees at risk. If someone shows up with a gun to rob the place and doesn’t get any money, he is assuming they will just put the gun away and leave without issue.

      The grocery store where I worked had a policy that if we the victim of armed robbery, we were to immediately comply and give all cash in our drawer to the robber. They based this policy on insurance studies showing that the longer a robber had to wait to get cash, the risk would go up of the employee being shot.

      “Give me the money!”
      “We don’t accept cash.”
      “Bulls**t! Give me the money!”
      “We have a sign over there.”
      “F**k this! I’ll get it myself!” BANG

    • krom says:

      Couldn’t a thief demand the cashier to turn over the CC#s of the customers instead?

      I suppose the store owner doesn’t lose any money that way, but the rest of us do.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Receipts don’t show that information and credit card swipers don’t store it, generally.

        • XTC46 says:

          yea, but most modern POS systems DO store it, which is how many stores can refund money without the card

  11. c!tizen says:

    What is this “cash” that you people speak of? And how does it compare to the magic plastic Visa debit genie that takes care of all of my purchases, and gets me out of those awkward girl scout cookie attacks leaving Walgreen’s.

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      Easy..Cash in your hand or on your person, doesn’t ever disappear into “fees.”

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      A friend of mine used to hold to the ‘plastic for everything!’ motto; he never had so much as a penny on him. Convenient for him, maybe, but whenever we were anywhere that didn’t take plastic (flea market, small-town diner, etc.) one of us was always being asked to spot him some cash.

      Then came the day we stopped at a yard sale and he found a complete, functional, full-size arcade game for only five dollars. The condition of me lending him the money was that in the future, he would patronize that magical creature known as the ATM and carry cash. He did, and still has the game.

      • MarkSweat says:

        “Convenient for him, maybe, but whenever we were anywhere that didn’t take plastic (flea market, small-town diner, etc.) one of us was always being asked to spot him some cash.”

        Also convenient for him. ;-)

  12. Straspey says:

    I don’t see how anybody could find this surprising, or even unusual.

    Considering we have reached a point where people use credit/debit cards to purchase a pack of chewing gum, or a can of soda, this would seem to be the next logical step in the progression towards a cashless society.

    No doubt the will we see an article here in the near future where a customer tries to pay for his or her purchase at a store with cash, only to be told the store does not accept cash and then be escorted out by security.

    Can’t wait for that one…

  13. Muddie says:

    If I were him, I’d only accept rolled coins as the only form of non-check or credit currency. I can’t imagine a robber running away with 60 lbs of rolled nickels too quickly.

  14. Straspey says:

    I don’t see how anybody could find this surprising, or even unusual.

    Considering we have reached a point where people use credit/debit cards to purchase a pack of chewing gum, or a can of soda, this would seem to be the next logical step in the progression towards a cashless society.

    No doubt we will see an article here in the near future where a customer tries to pay for his or her purchase at a store with cash, only to be told the store does not accept cash and then be escorted out by security.

    Can’t wait for that one…

  15. Zerkaboid says:

    Semi-related comment: Did anyone see the latest Louie? He’s at the store and the clerk asked “credit or debit” and he just says “um, cash” and hands her some money. Her: “Damn, making me touch your money” implying that it’s filthy (as pretty much all cash is). It almost feels like a valid reason for a cashless society.

    • MarkSweat says:

      When MythBusters tested the amount of “bad bacteria” on household items, only the kitchen sponge was worse off then good ole cash.

  16. ShruggingGalt says:

    You can’t use cash to buy “snacks” on a plane anymore too.

    • agb2000 says:

      I’m sick and tired of these motherf–king snacks on this motherf–king plane.

      • Difdi says:

        That movie was a total fail for anyone who knows snakes in real life. It’s kinda hard to get into the suspense of it, when the “deadly coral snake” in a woman’s purse is actually a king snake, and most of the other snakes slithering around are even less dangerous than that.

        • koalabare says:

          It was a movie. About snakes. on a motherfucking plane. You are taking this way too seriously.

        • Rena says:

          Because of course they’re going to use real poisonous snakes during filming. I’m sure they have plenty of spare actors.

    • FatLynn says:

      Yes, but I don’t worry about “American Airlines” appearing on my CC statement.

  17. FatLynn says:

    I’m curious what kind of “novelties” he sells (and I am not about to google it at work). I really don’t think I’d want “Stoner’s Novelties” showing up on my CC statement.

    • Mighty914 says:

      Why? First, who’s reading it besides you that’s so important? Second, if there is someone important (i.e. you have to turn in the statement for work), you just explain what it is…possibly with a receipt.

      • FangDoc says:

        I want a job that requires me to buy Xray specs and plastic dog poop, then submit my expenses for reimbursement.

        Wait, no I don’t.

    • adamg says:

      They have costumes, magic tricks, and the typical plastic dog poop.

  18. catnapped says:

    The big question now…if he’s not accepting cash, will he (or does he) impose a minimum on credit card purchases?

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Considering the last time I went to a joke/novelty store, there was no single item costing more than $20 (those “amazing fart machines, as mentioned on the Howard Stern show” was the priciest item there–mind you, this was a long time ago), I’m guessing this shopkeeper is going to hike prices to recoup the merchant/transaction fees on only taking credit/debit cards and/or factoring in the risk of taking bad cheques. Now that I think of it, how much cash was this store robbed to justify going the “no cash” route?

  19. DJ Charlie says:

    Now the thieves will steal merchandise instead.

  20. pimpybra says:
  21. Rob says:

    Changing the store name from “Stoner’s” to something else might help. I’m just sayin’.

  22. MarkSweat says:

    “Are there types of stores that would definitely be hurt by going to a no-cash system?”

    I would say “Cash4Gold”, but I guess they stopped actually giving out the cash a long time ago.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Pretty much any business that relies on lots of small transactions (credit card fees will eat the profit) or businesses that like to hide cash from Uncle Sam.

  23. Overstim says:

    How novel.

  24. krom says:

    So… does he require ID in order to accept credit cards? Thereby requiring ID for any purchase?

    No store in their right mind accepts checks these days. In fact the US is about the last place where this is still commonplace.

    Maybe after this store owner loses even more money from accepting bad checks, he’ll do something that makes sense, like, say, INSTALL A CAMERA or a panic button or something. Oh, and start accepting cash again.

  25. CPC says:

    I remember a pizza place getting robbed here a few years back. Two thugs (who got life in prison) killed a 30-year old manager and an 18-year old cook over something like $40. The chain hasn’t accepted cash since.

  26. Kevin says:

    This is the same thinking as DRM. The only people being inconvenienced are the legitimate customers. Instead of of taking cash, the thieves will now just take expensive merchandise. The shop owner would be better off hiring her own security or arming herself and training accordingly.

  27. Doncosmic says:

    That owner’s name has got to be fake. “novelty shop” generally means a store that sells sex toys and bongs. And he says his name is “Dick Stoner”? No way.

  28. RogerDucky says:

    This is a problem that had already been solved — yet, many people are still doing it the hard way, despite products designed to help have been available for decades. I mean, a time delayed safe like http://www.tidel.com/product_tacc2a_overview.asp would work very well in this case. Robber comes, store clerk dispenses all they can for the robber and lets them take the money. If the robber wants more, they have to wait 10 minutes. Once word gets out that this store has a relatively low payout, less robbing occurs. And it’s only around $2000, which should be easy for stores to pay for.

  29. LaurelHS says:

    What does this retailer do when his point-of-sale terminal goes on the fritz and his customers don’t happen to have their checkbooks on hand? Close the store? Just a thought because I tried to use my debit card the other day and the machine got tempermental so I told the cashier, “Never mind, I’ll pay cash.”

    • XTC46 says:

      A store I worked in (big electronics retailer) had an “emergency” box for each register for when the power went out, or POS systems went down. It contained a paper ledger and one of those old Credit card slide things so they could process card transactions. During the emergencies, there was a limit in place on purchases so in case something declined, it wasn’t a huge loss.

  30. PupJet says:

    OKay, okay, have to say… Mr. Stoner????? In INDIANA???? *Falls over with palm to face*

  31. snap says:

    I’m from Fort Wayne and this has been on the news and discussed in public all week.
    With all of the attention this story has received and it’s connection to the robbery that happened just two days before the change, I find it almost impossible to believe that
    the criminal community in town is not aware of the policy. Once one of them catches on to something, word spreads fast. Also, they do have a sign on the door, a few in the store including a larger one at checkout. If you saw these signs you would
    realize that they are impossible to miss. The owner knows that this does guarantee against another robbery, but is just doing what he can to better the odds of keeping his employees safe. I know that he has made other significant security arrangements just in case some
    moron can’t read or doesn’t believe it. Anyway, most robbers case a store before robbing it
    and it would be quite obvious that they do not accept cash due to the signs inside and the fact that they never hear a cash drawer open. Believe me, any robber casing a store will look for the cash drawer and watch/listen to transactions and where employees go to get change for the drawer. I’m in the security business and I think this is genius for this store at this time.
    If I was a robber, Stoner’s Novelty Market would be the last place in town I would rob.
    I know for a fact that there is not one cent in the store and that the owner is still prepared
    for a moron to come anyway. I can see the headline now: robber gets 10 to 20 for attemping
    to rob a cashless store. Either way, this is not a new idea; there are hundreds of businesses
    across the country that have gone cashless for many different reasons, one of which is to reduce the chance of being a victim of a forcible felony.

  32. LastError says:

    I don’t see a problem at all.

    Take a company like Dell or Amazon or Netflix. When was the last time anyone paid them in cash?

    Not a check. Cash money. I’m not sure it’s possible to pay them that way. But those companies seem to be doing just fine. It could be argued that small businesses should emulate more of the things big businesses do, such as not bothering with cash.

  33. P_Smith says:

    I’ve mentioned before the Philippine style “sari-sari” store with barred windows.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sari-sari_store

    It might not work for a novelty shop which needs to be a “walk in” establishment, but for a convenience store or gas station, it would work at preventing holdups.

  34. bumblefoot2004 says:

    Needs a BIG sign outside the store that says “Security by Glock” Or : “Nothing in this store is worth dying for.”

  35. banmojo says:

    yes this is a great idea. and he should have the right to accept, or NOT accept any kind of currency/trade value he wants to. it’s his store.

  36. Smultronstallet says:

    I really hope this doesn’t become a trend. I don’t have a credit or debit card and would hate to have to carry my checkbook around all the time to pay for things.

  37. you-toe-pee-an says:

    It’s not legal to not take cash. Part of your duty as a citizen is to accept cash for a debt. Hence “this note is legal tender for all debts public or private”.