That Boots, Asda, Shell and others are helping to rid cheques from the high street is an undeniably good thing. There’s little more irritating than being stuck behind someone (‘Do you have a stamp?’ they say, too illiterate to write the retailer’s name out themselves) only for them to guarantee the cheque with a debit card. Bastards!
Nevertheless, BBC reporting must be balanced so following the retailers’ sensible explanations as to why cheques must die, we get a defence of the cheque from author Bill Coles, who appears a little over 50 seconds into this report in the guise of one of those people with time to spend their days idling outside coffee shops.
‘Fieldmouse, wren, kingfisher,’ begins Bill. Bill Coles is, ‘a particular fan of chequebooks with wildlife on’. He believes that paying by cheque is a sociable process that provides a minute or two to engage with the shop assistant and talk about whatever. This is exactly the kind of behaviour that might cause the person queuing behind him to follow Bill home and give him a right good kicking as soon as he turns down a quiet street. So a memo to Bill Coles: the shop assistant isn’t talking to you because she likes the cute creatures on your cheques; she’ll have forgotten you as soon as you turn your back; she’s nice to you because she’s paid to be! With any luck she’ll have a jealous boyfriend who’ll follow Bill home and…
Bill Coles is currently writing (note to publishers: all rights are available) Cures for a Mid-Life Crisis: A unique approach to counteracting mid-life crises. Hmm.