What are chequebooks good for?
"Another little wheeze by Tesco and Asda (aka Wal-Mart): they're running trials at their checkouts banning the use of cheques. Why? Because cheques take too long. Who wants some silly old woman diddling with a cheque-book while a monster queue builds up behind her, when she could be whizzing through with a credit card? Why should they bother to pay for more staff to man more tills, when technology allows everyone to be bossed through at top speed?
I'll tell them why. Because we like our chequebooks. The lady before me filled hers in yesterday; she'd got it all ready while queueing, she only had to fill in the amount, then afterwards she filled in the counterfoil properly and went off looking rather pleased, because when she got home she would know how much she had spent, instead of losing her stinky credit-card receipt, not knowing whether she was coming or going, in credit or overdrawn, or should be expecting the bailiffs.
We also like our chequebooks if the account is running on empty, as we have a few days to fill it. Or to pay people we don't like - then we can cancel; or to pay the extortionate utilities by post and make the toads wait that little bit longer; or because we don't like carrying bloody dangerous credit cards everywhere and losing them, forgetting the Pin numbers, leaving them stuck in the thingy at the check-out (I did it last week), being frightened of robbers at the cashpoint, having our money and identities stolen, reading out numbers over the phone to pretend voices, blabbing the secrets of our lives into the mists of the internet and living in a fairly permanent state of terror and anxiety.
Instead of dropping your chequebook, you could just drop Tesco and Asda: cheap, greedy, spreading like Quatermass, swallowing high streets, paying peanuts, ruining farmers, making gargantuan sums of money, but for whom? Who's getting it? Don't they feel the weeniest bit guilty to have so much more than the workers at the other end of the chain? Huge is ugly, small is beautiful. So are chequebooks."