Please take my money

Attended a beautiful farmers market last week in Chicago’s Daley Plaza and bought a bunch of great stuff that we grilled that night on our patio. The array of vegetables and other treats available at this market was impressive.

Only a few of the merchants accepted credit or debit cards, though, which means we couldn’t give our money to a lot of earnest farmers who had such excellent produce for sale. Lucky for us, there were some earnest farmers with equally excellent produce who also lived in the 21st century and were able to take our money for their goods. Commerce!

Yes, the merchants who didn’t accept plastic avoided a small transaction fee, but they also avoided an entire sale (and judging by the number of people using credit or debit cards at this market, they avoided a lot of sales).

For people who are more visual, here’s a chart illustrating the percentage of money we spent at merchants who accepted our cards compared with merchants who didn’t.

One hundred percent of the money we spent at the Daley Plaza farmers market went to merchants who accepted credit/debit cards. Merchants who accepted cash only (or checks!) earned zero of our dollars.

One hundred percent of the money we spent at the Daley Plaza farmers market went to merchants who accepted credit/debit cards. Merchants who accepted cash only (or checks!) earned zero of our dollars.

This topic has come up before, of course, with Kimball’s Peak Three Theater in downtown Colorado Springs. A few years ago, a theater rep snidely told us and the Colorado Springs Independent that “cash is king.” But it looks like cash has been dethroned, since Kimball’s now takes credit cards. Welcome to the future, Kimball’s!

Sandy’s: Home of the loud opinion

I’ve been known to have an opinion about a thing or two. And I’ve been known to sometimes share them. Fact is, there are a lot of things wrong with the world, and I have some solutions. Now, if only people would listen.

So while I am in the political minority at Sandy’s restaurant, I feel comfortable here because the diners are loudly solving all the world’s problems. Deadbeats (individual and corporate); religion (mainstream and otherwise); legal matters (tax laws, tort reform) — all varieties of trouble with the world were debated and being solved over enormous plates of delicious food.

We can disagree on the finer points of our “welfare state” or the “military industrial complex” or whether Obama is Swedish or eating ostrich is “wrong,” but one thing we all can agree on is deliciousness.

If you’re ever out in this part of the world, the faraway part of Colorado Springs east of town, it’s definitely worth stopping in at Sandy’s.

The good: Customer service. Fantastic. The server sensed that Adrienne didn’t want to eat an entire order of the pancakes, so she offered a single pancake at a reduced cost even though it wasn’t on the menu. Coffees were fresh and strong and refilled frequently. Genuine kindness and courtesy. Excellent portions. Affordable.

The bad: Not much. But again with a business that doesn’t take debit or credit cards. I don’t believe I will ever understand this. Crazy hours. They close at 2 p.m. or something. I suppose that’s par for the course with diners like this, so it’s really not too terrible. In my ideal world, though, everything’s open 24 hours.

Breakfast at Sandy's restaurant, Colorado Springs

I had corned-beef hash, with three eggs (over-medium) and hash browns. Wheat toast (tasted home-made). The pancake isn't mine.

Breakfast at Sandy's restaurant, Colorado Springs.

Adrienne didn't want the full order of pancakes, so the server suggested a single pancake. It rivals Maggie Mae's pancakes for best in the Springs.

Sandy's restaurant, Colorado Springs

The burger at Sandy's was very good, and so were the fries. Add Sandy's to the list of places to go for a good burger.

So go to Sandy’s. Solve the world’s problems. And also, don’t eat ostrich. What’s wrong with you?




Sandy's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kimball’s, why don’t you take credit cards?

It’s nice having a downtown movie theater. And it’s nice having a downtown movie theater with a bar. Having a drink while watching a good movie feels so adult. So cosmopolitan. It’s a very good experience.

I love going to movies. Adrienne, having grown up in Los Angeles, doesn’t care as much about it. I guess for her, Hollywood isn’t magic. It’s just everyday life. Movie stars aren’t iconic American legends — they’re just people in ballcaps and big sunglasses clogging up the store’s checkout line with their paparazzi cloud.

At any rate, I can sometimes convince her to go to the movies with me. Last week, we saw “The Company Men,” which is probably a great movie if you’re not a barely-hanging-on journalist just one “reorganization” away from eating out of Dumpsters. I give it a solid B.

But what I’m interested in talking about isn’t the movie. It’s the theater. Kimball’s Peak Three, which is perfect in so many ways, for some reason doesn’t accept credit cards. It’s a big deal.

When a business doesn’t accept credit cards, it’s an insult to customers. It’s a business saying: We’re too cheap to pay the percentage fee on our overpriced goods, so we’re going to inconvenience you to pay our markups with cash. It’s a business saying: We don’t care about you.

Here’s the thing: I’m going to go to the movies more often if you accept credit cards. I’m going to have some popcorn if you accept credit cards. I’m going to have an extra drink if you accept credit cards. And that fee you pay? Charge me extra. I’ll pay it. I already paid $2 to my bank and $1.75 to your ATM in the lobby to get some cash to pay you. That’s money you’re not getting. How about raising my ticket price $2, and you get $2 and I save $1.75. Win-win.

Back when credit was a novelty and everyone carried around cash, it wasn’t a big deal. But that was a generation ago, and it’s apparent if you look at who’s going to Kimball’s. For those of us who don’t pay everything with change and who don’t use walkers, it’s a huge hassle that Kimball’s doesn’t take credit cards. So, please, Kimball’s, I’m not asking you to leap into the future. I’m just asking you to catch up to the present.

  • Movie: B
  • Beer: B-plus
  • Kimball’s: D-minus
The elderly on the way to Kimball's Peak Three in downtown Colorado Springs.

On the way to the movies -- I hope they take all our coins!

Union Station: A

One of the things I hate most in the world is a small and/or local business that doesn’t take credit cards. Attention, business owners: You need to make it as easy as possible for me to spend money at your place. But sometimes things work out for the best.

We went to Spud Melvin’s Chicago Hot Dogs because we were out in the world and needed some food, but since they didn’t take credit cards, we took our business to Union Station, which is in the same complex as the excellent and outstanding Medicine Shoppe.

First of all, it’s a dark bar. And dark is good. Bars need to be dark. Since it’s my day off from work, it didn’t occur to me that there was a murder here a couple days ago. Weird.

Second, their happy hour is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., one of the longest happy hours I’ve ever seen. Well-done, Union Station. If I ever need to get my drink on before noon, I know where to go.

Happy Hour at Union Station

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. happy hour. God bless you, Union Station

I ordered the half-pound smothered burrito. The girlfriend ordered a burger. Despite being served on a paper plate with plastic utensils, the food was good. For bar food, it was outstanding. Adrienne says the burger was a little overcooked, but the fact that they offered mayonnaise with it sort of makes up for it. As for my meal, I have no complaints. The burrito even had jalapenos in it. Perfect. And with a pitcher of PBR, extra-perfect. And before rush-hour traffic: Extra-extra-perfect.

Union Station burger

The burger, with fries (and mayonnaise)

Union Station burrito

Why is this picture so blurry? Because it's a dark bar, like we said earlier. Cut us some slack.

So the bar was dark, and the food was good. What else? Turns out that Jag Panzer plays there. Who’s Jag Panzer? Good question. Jag Panzer is only the very first band I ever saw in concert. Next time they’re at Union Station, I’m there.

Anything else? Oh, their menu had a lot of typos and misspellings in it. But you know what? I’m off the clock, so it doesn’t matter.

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