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Our fast-paced modern world can be a challenging and confusing place when you’re just a regular guy trying to get some food. Fortunately, if you follow my instructions you may be able to get food....... FREE.

Let me tell you a story which, like a fairy tale or instruction manual, has a point (education): The other day I went into a popular lunch place that shall not be named. I buy lunch from this place a lot on work days. This week was the first time I had been in since the place was “renovated” recently. They have the same food but now it looks nicer inside.

“Whatever—I’m all about the food,” I said to myself.

So I order my food, normal food, same food I always order there. Then two exciting and dramatic things happen:

RUDE SURPRISE NUMBER ONE: The price of the food has gone up by one dollar. It is now ten dollars. Rude.

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RUDE SURPRISE NUMBER TWO: I hand my ten dollar bill (cash money) to the checkout person. The response? “We don’t accept cash, only cards.”

As you can imagine I put my ten dollar CASH MONEY bill in my pocket and began to walk out!!!!!! What happened next may astound you: the cashier said, “Oh, just take it, on the house.”

You see, they did not tell me that they were too good to accept my cash money until after my entire order was prepared. When I went to leave, the restaurant faced the choice of throwing away my order, or giving it to me for free, presumably either out of the niceness of the cashier, or in hopes that this would engender good will within me towards their brand which would be repaid in many future lunch orders. So, in short, by playing “hardball” in negotiations, I got this food for free.

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You too can do the same thing. I would not legally advise you to do such a thing; I would simply, as a reporter, relate accurately to you the story of what happened to me, and then observe, logically, that if you were also to offer cash money to a place that “only accepts cards,” there is at least a passing chance that they will choose to just give you the food for free, rather than trash it. I will note here also that I think that this is a morally sound move. If there’s one thing I don’t like in a lunch spot, it’s this: Them telling me that they’re too good for my money. Why should I accept what “Big Food” says is a proper medium of exchange? After all, in this scenario, no one is suggesting that you purposely order food without having any money to pay for it—I am only suggesting that, if we as a society are going to maintain the basic principle that cash money is legal tender for all debts and should therefore be accepted at all places of business, it makes sense to only carry cash, when you want to buy lunch, in order to demonstrate to business owners that cash is important. That’s what real people use: cash money. If you want my business, you should take my cash money. If we fail to make this point then next thing you know all lunch will be on “the blockchain.” And homeless people won’t even be able to buy it. In order to prevent that from happening, one might surmise that it is our duty as consumers to go to places and order food intending to pay with cash, and then, well, let fate decide the rest.

If you’re lucky you’ll get some free food out of it.

As it happens, I had a debit card in my pocket at the time I ordered that food. But as a matter of principle I do not believe that places should surprise you with the insistence that your cash money is no good. So on ethical grounds I was obligated to walk out when I was rudely informed that they “only take cards.” The free food I received may be interpreted as a karmic reward for following my ethical principles. You too can do the same—and be a hero.