On Writing Checks

published

I’ve been stewing over something ever since I started my Christmas shopping in earnest. I hate using my credit card, because I lack the discipline to pay it off in a timely manner. I greatly prefer to write checks when making purchases. I’m comfortable keeping a running balance, and I like being able to eyeball that balance as I evaluate which luxury items I should purchase. I’ve not yet gotten cozy with the notion of a debit card because it’s harder for me to see – while I’m out and about – how much I can comfortably spend.

When writing a check, though, I’m almost always forced to supply a phone number, since my unpublished phone number is not printed on my checks. I’ve tried – unsuccessfully – to convince retail establishments that they don’t really need my number, and that their corporate policy mandating it is an arbitrary marketing initiative and an invasion of my privacy. I’ve loudly sworn off shopping at some establishments (only later to break down and buy from them, using my credit card…).

I fired off an email to The Consumerist today, seeking advice, or possibly just consolation. The comments thus far have made me feel marginally better about providing 555-1212 when asked for a phone number, but that still feels like a hollow victory. I’d rather that the retailers just own up to the fact that they don’t need my phone number, and we can all move on.

I suppose in the long run I’ll buckle to the short-term conveniences of a debit card, to the long-term detriment of my bank account…


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