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“Go Ahead, Write a Check for Your Coffee,” Just Not for Beef Jerky

Photo by Elsie

Photo by Elsie

Gert Watkins just become the poster child of checks in an article about the reality of check writing.

The Wall Street Journal article, posted by former colleague and friend Kathy Strasser, explored the dynamics behind why checks still exist and what the leading motivations are. Of course, when it comes to checks, technologists want to bash them.

When Gert Watkins pulls out a check at Wal-Mart or Target, the shoppers in line behind her roll their eyes, sign deeply and mutter under their breath. Ms. Watkins, a 67-year-old former banker in Birmingham, Ala., knows that many other shoppers pay with credit cards and debit cards, but she doesn’t care.

Think checks are that much slower than other transactions? Checks typically take 67 seconds to complete, compared with 25 seconds for cash, 24 seconds for credit cards, and 20 seconds for debit cards, says Lori Fontaine, an industrial engineer who works with retailers. So does it really make a difference? Hardly. Also, new chip-based EMV protections have slowed down credit card transactions, so should Gert feel guilty? No way!

“For check-writers, recording the payment in a checkbook while standing in line is a sign of good financial hygiene. People who pay by check in stores say it gives them a greater feeling of security than using plastic and it is more convenient than carrying a wad of cash. They also say they feel more in control of their spending.”

“I just feel safer,” says Bill Aber, a former chef who lives in Jersey City, N.J., who has been the victim of credit-card fraud.

Sure, millennials hate it when Gert pulls her checkbook out, but who cares.  Go get a job and move out of your parents house. Then you can complain! 🙂

At least most check writers aren’t like this guy, from a check-writing push in 2010 that featured a video starring “Duncan Steele—The Man with Checks Appeal.” Who writes a check to pay for a 59-cent stick of beef jerky in a convenience store anyways?

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