Blogging for Change

What to do about rule-breaking coffee shop

I am a regular at a local coffee shop where there is a sign that reads “$5 minimum for all credit card purchases.” So far, I have dutifully followed the sign’s suggestion. But yesterday, when I was $1 short on both cash and the $5 minimum to use credit, I started questioning the policy. Was I really willing to buy something extra to make the $5 mark? (The answer was ‘yes’—though I did not do it happily.)

This morning I confirmed that the coffee shop is breaking the rules. The agreements merchants have with MasterCard and Visa prohibit their ability to set minimum amounts for credit card purchases. Apparently, it is not uncommon for this part of the agreements to be ignored. I am wondering if the coffee shop owner even knows that she is violating her agreements (I can only assume that there is a lot of fine print in those things!)

I realize that retailers have to pay a fee for credit card processing, so I am torn about whether or not to bring this (my) "issue" to the owner’s attention. On one hand, I want her to succeed; on the other hand, I don’t want it to be at my inconvenience.

What do you think? Please don’t tell me to carry more cash, but feel free to share any other words of wisdom through the comments section.

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