Editorial: Refusal of more checks a sign of the times

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Tribune staff editorial

Minnesota may be losing a little bit of its nice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

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Minnesota may be losing a little bit of its nice.

News that fewer retailers across the state are accepting checks from customers is a sign that our state is catching up to other areas of the country – areas where people are less trusting of each other, less willing to accept what amounts to a promise to pay for goods.

This is the result of a couple things: One, the economy is slowing, and two, check fraud is on the rise. One only needs look at the local district court convictions to notice that bad checks make up a good portion of the crimes committed in this county. Bad checks cost retailers money – they can’t collect on all of them, and there are costs associated even with those they can eventually cash. This cost is harder to bear when the economy slows down.

There was a time when people in Minnesota were mostly trusting enough to give customers the benefit of the doubt. In the Twin Cities area, that is becoming more rare. While it doesn’t appear to have reached Albert Lea yet, it appears to be a trend that will spread, especially as credit and debit cards become more and more prominent.

It’s unfortunate that a handful of people who are either malicious or irresponsible is spoiling things for everybody else. Many people prefer checks because they are easy to keep track of – and some of us just aren’t used to handing somebody a card to pay for everything.

But it appears Minnesota may lose its reputation as a place where they’ll always take a check.