Peet’s cafes in the San Mateo neighborhood no longer accept cash as a method of payment.
Coffee shops implemented this new rule at the end of March due to the Coronavirus pandemic; IIts goal was to reduce interactions between customers and employees as a security measure. Employees promote the use of the Peet’s Coffee app, Apple Pay, and credit cards as alternative payment methods. However, these alternatives are not available to some customers.
Since simply 11% of teens have credit cards, let alone Apple Pay, most haven’t been able to purchase from Peet’s Coffee in the past few months. In addition, many adults, especially those in the lower class, do not have access to a bank account. Lack of a bank account doesn’t just prevent a customer from accessing a credit card; it also prevents them from using Apple Pay.
After hearing about the change in payment options, Lauren McCarthey expected the affected stores to lose customers and revenue.
“In the long run, it’s a loss for the seller because they lose sales and they have to pay all the credit card charges rather than receiving the money directly. [through cash]”said McCarthy.
Lisa Jones, an employee of Belmont Peet’s Coffee who has remained anonymous for fear of losing her job, noted that the elimination of cash payments has resulted in fewer customers. She has also received negative feedback about the no-payment policy; complaints peaked around April, but subsided as most customers got used to payment expectations.
Some see the no-cash policy as a form of discrimination against those who do not have a credit card. However, others have expressed support for the change, such as John O’Sullivan, a parent of a Carlmont student.
“[Using cash] is a public health concern for people who work at Peet’s Coffee because of the risk of accepting money that could carry the virus, ”O’Sullivan said.
The elimination of cash payment is limited to the district of San Mateo; other places around the bay area, such as San Francisco, prohibit stores and shops from having such a policy.
Although the new payment restrictions inflicted customers, employees took advantage of its benefits. Jones was aware of the negative effect of the treasury policy on others; however, she appreciated how it improved her work.
“I really feel bad for those who don’t or can’t use a card, but for the store in general, it makes things easier and faster, and there is less contact with customers,” Jones said.
Due to the existence of both positive and negative effects of the no-cash policy, it is not known whether these cafes will accept cash even after the United States lifts the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Jones gave his overall opinion on the decision to eliminate cash payment at Peet’s cafes.
“I don’t think it was the best decision to ban cash; it was a bold move, ”Jones said.