25 February 2008

Check Culture

Being used to a country where no one under the age of 50 actually having a check book (and noticing how fewer and fewer people seem to ever use cash either), Tue was somewhat surprised when he found out he needed to get one in order to be able to pay the rent, water bills and so on over here.

Checks are used a lot: most people here in Goleta can only pay their rent by sending a check to the landlord; house wifes are seen happily writing out checks in the supermarket (where there's a small sign posted about the fees added in case of any 'bounced check'); and it's generally assumed that one pays the bills using checks - whether those bills are the subscription of the paper or last year's due taxes, and so on. Goleta Water District was one of the few public services that accepted electronic transfers via the bank, but when they updated their systems in 2007 (!) that option disappeared and they were back to only accepting checks - sigh!

The only advantage is that this presents another way for people to express their personality. There are quite a number of choices when it comes to the preprinted graphic on the checks:

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