Back in February, I took part in a two-day induction at Hearing Dogs – there's a big blog coming soon about that – as part of my application process. It was amazing and I met so many wonderful people and had so many lightbulb moments about my deafness while talking to them.
One of the loveliest people I met – Tracy – took me, and an adorable Hearing Dog, to a garden centre to see what it's like to be out and about with a dog. We had a cup of tea in the coffee shop. Tracy went to pay and joked about putting everything on card before she had her hearing dog as she could never hear how much something was so didn't want to hand over the wrong cash. Now she has a hearing dog, she says that cashiers are more aware so say the price more clearly enabling her to feel more confident about paying in cash.
And it was as if everything suddenly fell in to place...
I never carry cash. I never pay by cash. If I have a £10 note in my wallet, it will languish there for days as I pay for everything on card.
FJM jokes that I am like the Queen. But jokes aside, it's frustrating when you need change for a parking meter, a corner shop or the dry cleaners.
I stopped carrying cash around the minute I got my first Switch card at 17 years old. But I never really thought about the reason the reason why.
At university, and even now, I would always pay for drinks in pub with my card as I could never hear the barman say how much the drinks were... but again, I never really thought, 'Oh that's the reason why I do this.'
Shopping is challenging enough with all the questions I already struggle to hear such as:
'Have you got a loyalty card?'
'Would you like a bag'
'Would you like one of these products here that I've been told I have to sell today'
without the added stress of struggling to hear how much something is. Sure there's often a visible till screen to have a look at but not always... and even if there is, looking at that distracts you from the barrage of questions shop assistants continue to fire at you after all the usual ones.
I spend most of my time guessing what people in shops are saying – it usually works. You say no to most questions because they're usually just marketing things. On occasions though, this plan doesn't work – like the time I said no three times to a woman in TopShop who it turned out was asking me to enter my PIN. I thought she was going to brain me with my shopping bag.
Let's take a moment to now celebrate the marvel of contactless payment, which now reduces the chance of that happening again.
When I get my hearing dog, I wonder if like Tracy, I will find paying with cash less intimidating and stressful? Or if I will continue to remain defiantly cashless even when I'm paying for a 50p chocolate bar.
I have a feeling, it'll be the latter.
Happy Tuesday peeps!