Originally Posted by mstone
I can't see carrying around enough cash to buy a MBP and I'm sure Apple would not appreciate you bringing a shopping bag full of cash to buy it. You can't order online with cash. Carrying a wad of cash will just get you mugged in many cities. Most banks won't let you change 20s for hundreds due to drug dealer money laundering issues. And as mentioned by another poster, you can't travel without credit cards. Hell you can't even make a plane reservation without a credit card.
If you are worrying about your privacy, you should realize that if you live in a modern western society you already have a full profile so adding that you bought a meal at a fast food outlet or a new pair of jeans isn't going to make much difference is it? In places like the UK there are surveillance cameras on every street corner. Your life is an open book. Why worry about it?
I like most of your posts in general, but there are so many inaccuracies here I need to hit them point by point.
Yes, Apple will certainly let you pay for a computer with cash. Been there, done that. It's not a big deal at all. The only thing they complain about is that they really, really want your name and email address so they can get you into their database (and that doesn't depend on your method of payment), but you can politely refuse. One time when the employee was persistent enough to be annoying I just made something up. It's not like they're going to check.
Can't purchase online with cash, true enough. Sometimes inconvenient, but not a huge deal to me.
Carrying a wad of cash will not get you mugged. This is a common urban myth. Walking around bad areas with your head down, not paying attention to your surroundings will get you mugged regardless of whether or not you carry cash. The thing is, because so many people don't carry enough cash to make mugging worthwhile, unless you flash a wad of cash around, no one knows! You are no more (or less) a target because you have cash in your pocket, because no one knows. Granted, this means that other people's use of plastic provides me with a small benefit in this way.
I'm not sure why anyone would want to exchange large quantities of 20s for 100s (or vice versa) unless they were actually involved in some kind of laundering or other illegal activity. So that's actually a good thing in my book. Merely withdrawing cash on a weekly basis for general expenses is not going to get turned down or put you on a watch list.
As for traveling without a credit card? Yes, that's completely doable as well. Been there done that, including overseas. Reserving the flight itself is another story (it is possible without a card, but probably not worthwhile in most cases, even for me). I just don't want to see a statement like that passed on as fact, when it's not. I do believe for certain kinds of trips, like visiting 7 countries in Europe, that it would be too much hassle. But to travel around the U.S., or to visit one country for a couple weeks, it's not a problem at all to do without using cards.
As for having a "full profile", what does that mean? If it means you have a SSN and pay taxes, that's no problem, it's a responsibility we have as citizens, and the fed gov't has many legal restrictions on use of that data. If it means having your likes, dislikes, purchases, whereabouts, etc., tracked for commercial purposes, then regardless of what seems to be "the norm" for many people, don't you think that's already a really bad idea? You say my life is an "open book", but you are wrong. I know about the UK these days, and I would not choose to live there. Some areas in the U.S. are trending that direction, and people are going to need to wake up and respond before it's too late. There are unquestionably conveniences, but once this data is robust enough and universal enough, just wait to see all the downsides. I've already written too much here now, so I won't get into this topic, but just read what's happening now and use your imagination.
Here's a question, if you're still reading. What do you think about REQUIRING high school students to wear GPS tracking devices 24/7? Article is here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/texas-school-district-rep_n_1949415.html
Edited by Blah64 - 10/12/12 at 3:07pm