OLD HACK IN THE SUN – Benny Davis with the ramblings of an 80-something ex-pat in Spain

AFTER drinking three cocktails in a seafront trendy bar, I nonchalantly threw a €50 note on the counter. ‘Sorry, nothing smaller,’ I declared. 

The young bartender looked at the note, then with a thinly disguised sneer, slapped an electronic ticket alongside totalling €54. With an expression that would have exterminated a Dalek at 100 metres, I reluctantly added a further €4 using as many small coins as I could muster, including a generous tip of 2 cents.

The barman was not amused. Feeling like I had just won a minor age-gap battle, I glanced around the bar to see how many appreciated my stance – none.

The bar was packed with young people drinking like there was no tomorrow and paying for each round by pinging their cards on an electronic terminal. None could have had any idea of how much they were spending — until the statement arrived at the end of the month. Exit a deflated Old Hack.

Cash has always been the best form of money management. In my young days, if you couldn’t afford it, you went without. ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’, I was always told. Bank overdrafts were taboo and buying on tick was considered a sure way to bankruptcy.

Many readers will remember mum’s and grandma’s home bank, collecting coins in countless jam jars labelled for all family eventualities from holidays to Christmas and birthdays to shillings for the electric metre.

Now, it seems, we are heading towards a cashless society. No more Boy Scouts, ‘Bob-a-job’, (Swipe-a-Scout?) ‘Penny for the Guy’,(Crowd Fund Fawkes?)

Just read that, not content with creating a faceless cashless society, the money bigwigs are now working with the European Central Bank on producing its own virtual digital euro, complete with a virtual digital wallet.

Where will you keep those odds and ends, including that virtual digital Durex to stop that possible virtual digital baby? Sounds like the Hans Christian Andersen tale of, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The story of a vain emperor who believes two fraudster tailors who give him nothing but tell him his new magnificent new clothes are only invisible to the stupid or incompetent, and parades before his subjects, who not wanting to appear inept or stupid go along with it, until an innocent child blurts out that the emperor is ‘starkers’. Gord ‘elp us all!


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