Your cash isn’t good here, man.

“You better check the Apple Store takes cash for your iPhone” was a surprising comment made to me yesterday.  “It’s cash” I thought – “the universal language of shopping.”  Good job I checked.

So I asked the local store.  “Yes and no” came the somewhat surprising reply.  “You can’t actually buy one with cash, but we can put the money onto a Gift Card and you can use that to make your purchase.”  Two things went through my head within the space of quarter of a second:

  1. “That’s stupid!”
  2. “What’s the difference?”

The staff member wasn’t finished.  He hit me with this broadside: “If you return the phone within 30 days for any reason you’re entitled to a full refund, but we’ll give it to you on an Apple Gift Card and not in cash.”

I chewed over this for an hour or so, looked at my clock, and realised the Regent Street Store would be closing in 15 minutes.  I phoned them to see if the story was the same.  The woman confirmed what had been said before, but said that “I don’t actually get the Gift Card – they use it temporarily for the transaction then it gets reused for another.”  That made sense, I guess.  The Regent Street lady was most helpful, and very polite (‘sir’ this and ‘sir’ that).

I suppose the whole point of my latest rant is “why the heck don’t Apple accept cash for a purchase?”  It’s not going to bounce like a cheque or be declined like a card.  It’s either a forgery thing, or a security risk having excessive cash on site.

I was reminded of Diane Campbell  who took her hard-earned cash into an Apple Store in San Francisco to buy an iPad and they refused to sell her one.  I understand that stores are permitted to not accept cash, even though it’s legal tender.  When the local news network got sniff of the story, Apple backed down and gave Campbell a free iPad.

Hm.  Wonder if I have the number for ITN …

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