Just a Little Short

FTLComm - Tisdale - May 28, 1998

It happens right, the ole' bank account comes up a little short and opps! Fast Gas has obviously exceeded their limit of tolerance and decided to advertise the oversight. On the North side of town another convenience and gasoline outlet has a collection of such cheques under glass by the till. One wonders at the propriety of using this method of bill collecting. Obviously the folks involved have enough problems otherwise they would not have a cheque that doesn't clear, is this practice fair?

Merchants might point out that writing a bad cheque isn't fair either and they have to pay for the product sold and need to recover their costs. But, that brings to question, why is a gasoline outlet taking a cheque in the first place. With credit and debit cards, is there a need to take a cheque for gasoline and doesn't the merchant share some of the blame for taking a cheque in the first place?

Writing a cheque without funds to cover that cheque is an offense and our legal system has several torts to handle the problem in a civilised and appropriate manner. Public ridicule seems somewhat uncivilised. Remember business and the banks both levy a fine for NSF cheques, this fine, that is common business practice, has no basis in law, but is a custom that has grown up to serve both as a deterrent and yet another means of kicking the insolvent when they are hurting the most. A sign like the one above verges a bit on the whining and complaining extreme.

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