It can happen here and for the simplest reasons. About 7 years ago we took a trip to the Southern Oregon USA Coast. At the last minute I decided to grab some moderate cash out of the gun safe. We intended to run up points on the Visa Card.
Seems there was a big traffic vehicle accident and the big BANK cable was cut. Nobody on the coast could take a card. They could not even do it manually. They could not, (some of them) run CASH either. Something about their electronic system.
Visa failed. All ATM services were down. Some poor kid cashiers could not even make change. We had to show them. At one point we did not have enough gas in the car to get home. It was a total systems failure. Other wise we did OK. Had fun.
Moral. Think things through before leaving. What can go wrong. What will go wrong. What still worked. Certainly changed the orientation of our overnight trip. Poor odds of happening? It happened to US. That is good enough. Think fail safe.
^ That's a great example HB of CJ. Thank you for contributing that bit of worldly advice and experience. I, for one, will definitely take it to-heart.
The fuel issue I actually hadn't thought about before. I typically maintain a quarter-tank when on road-trips, but I now think that with the family, it may be smart to go only to half-tank, particularly as you noted that some vendors were not even able to run cash sales.
The shut-down of electronic payment systems, ATCclears, has actually been a worry for me for some time now. Having cash-on-hand is definitely something that I've taken to-heart as I entered the "prepping" community. Thank you for pointing out a very real-world, not-a-disaster scenario that, hopefully, will get some more minds thinking practically.
One thing I would like to suggest for those who are looking to keep some cash on-hand is to remember that smaller bills - while more cumbersome to carry - is also not a bad thing to have in these situations. Having the approximate amount necessary to complete the transaction without needing change can be advantageous in some circumstances, as-is not pulling out your entire money-roll at once (particularly with larger denominations also in plain view).
Why I'm glad we're not rushing towards a cashless society like the rest of the world is so enamored with. Recently my wife and I visited a few eastern asian countries. She asked me doesn't the US feel so backwards, when you compare to how we were able to pay for everything with our smartphones. I told her no, phones are too failure proned, and I prefer cash because any cashless system can potentially be used to control what you can buy. She asked for examples, and I said black market products and services. She looked at me funny, But when you look at failing nations, basic things like food, toilet paper, and medical supplies become black market goods. I've also recently started using cash to buy guns and ammo. With BOA and citi openly trying to control to firearms related transactions.
Just imagine what it would look like here across the US if the banking/visa system went down for a whole week. Nobody buying fuel or food or diapers or anything else for that matter. The Democrat controlled cities would be on fire when nobody could take an EBT card. How many people are ready for that kind of scenario?
You need to recall the prolonged power outage that swept the northeast US and parts of Canada a few years ago. What kind of mess was that?
And don't forget when the NY mayor gave a press conference right after the hurricane that while they expected the power to go out, they were shocked and scrambled to figure out why the water and sewage departments also stopped functioning.
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