Go to main menu Go to main content Go to footer

Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

The art of spending money

BY Sonny Orr Jun 5, 2020

The use of paper money has declined lately. I’ve had a $20 bill with the image of my favourite monarch sitting in my wallet for some time. I started with a $100 bill and that took a long time to spend as I found that using the tap feature on the debit machines was quicker and safer. These days, dirty money is hard to launder and I foresee a lot of changes on how we will use our digital dollars in the very near future. Cash-only businesses have been hit the hardest and now the debit machine is here to stay. 

I remember watching an intriguing TV commercial a while back with some sinister-looking guy stuffing high-end (meaning trashy and expensive) clothing into his long jacket pockets and the paranoid salesperson getting ready to turn this guy into the cops. Then the automatic sales went on as the man’s digital money paid for the scanned items. It was cool, but I haven’t seen that in use… yet.

Cash, change, nickels and dimes, all things that we value because someone said that they’re worth something and should be worth the same to everyone else. Declared value, a buck for a buck. But digital currencies don’t seem to have any real worth unless it’s in your bank, so the value is the same buck, less the weight. Now all that can be stored in your phone and paid using it. Lottery tickets be bought and cashed in at home. We have already changed our spending habits without blinking an eye. EMT for cash anyone?

You look at all the heavy cash users and think that they might be suffering, like bingo and lotteries. But when you can’t spend your hard-earned or bummed cash, well, it stays with you longer. I figure that when people return to their vices, they might not do so on the same scale as before. 

I find that I’m winning my jackpot by purchasing much-needed prizes like freezers, microwaves, replacing that cracked tablet, and topping off the credit card – all the things that you really need but had spent on losing it elsewhere. We win when we get back our family time, give our children some attention, and fill the fridge instead of waiting for the elusive prize money that will arrive with the next bet. 

Vices can be conquered, although in this case clean living is forced upon us by social-distancing laws. Maybe there will be rules for spacing the bingos two weeks apart, so that we can all isolate ourselves after meeting half the town in a line-up.

I hope that digital bingo arrives soon. Then we can play on our devices, set it on automatic and let it dab away until we win a jackpot every few years. Then if you do get lucky, just have it EMT’d to your account. The only problem I see is using 10 or more cards. That’s why I recommend using the autodabber. 

Hurry up you brainiacs asleep at the keyboard! Come up with something that will appease our unfettered appetites for gambling so we can feel good about losing, oops, I mean winning. It would be nice not to go out during winter storms when everything else is closed and cash is hard to get only to line up outside waiting for another player to buy their beloved cards. The only technology in this scenario is the GPS so that you don’t lose yourself in a snowbank somewhere.

Happily, the main thing is that we seem to have healthy bodies and bank accounts, so far. Stay healthy my friends.

LATEST ᒫᐦᒡ ᑎᐹᒋᒧᐧᐃᓐ

Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.