Fuck you, "Mom & Pop" stores (VISA related)

Last night I went into a bar to buy a six-pack of Red Stripe. For those not familiar with PA’s nonsensical Blue Laws, bars are the only places you can buy a six-pack after the only other outlets (pizza joints with liquor licenses) close.

I handed over my VISA card, only to be very rudely informed that it wouldn’t be accepted for purchases under $10.


I politely told the bartender that that kind of shit is against VISA’s regulations, but she would hear none of it. I ended up having to buy things I didn’t even want just to get my total up to that magical number.

Now, I can sympathize with the fact that that VISA is taking a cut out of the purchase, but if businesses don’t like that, there is nothing stopping them from refusing to accept VISA.

Sure, they might lose a few customers that way, but they already lost a customer by requiring me to buy shit I didn’t want to get the one thing I did want.

I’ve already called VISA and my bank (well, I left a message with my bank - it’s Saturday morning).

The Indian VISA call center lady did indeed confirm that I was in the right after consulting with her supervisor.

Fucking assholes…

I would have just bought TWO sixpacks.

FWIW, in the U.S. requiring a minimum purchase is against Visa’s agreement with the merchant. You can report the vendor if it’ll make you feel better.

Looks like he did.

I would have just left the beer on the counter and walked out. But that’s just me.


I have left the product on the counter when the merchant refused the transaction, including places where the product would have to be thrown out. One thing I don’t think these merchants understand is the only reason I (and people) am buying stuff from them is that they take CC’s, if I were in dire need of the product I may pay cash if I had to, but it is very unlikely I would ever buy from them again. Yes the CC Co’s take a cut, but that is what is bringing increased sales to them.

Oh, I would have, but it was the only bar in the area that I knew for a fact carried Red Stripe (Rosie’s in Hummelstown [across from the Boro], since I know you’re local).

Actually, I don’t even like the stuff. It was for a friend who lives above Rosie’s, and for whom the owner (an utter asshole) is her landlord, which makes things even more messy.

I see your point. But it’s been so long since I’ve bought beer that the bar is out of business. It lost its liquor license to a Chili’s. Carlisle is starting to resemble SimCity: Zone it and it will come.


So they should just make a small loss on each transaction but make it up in volume ? :dubious: .

Apparently, in the UK requiring a minimum purchase is widespread. At least from my experience. I have no idea if it’s “allowed” under their cardholder agreement. I get the feeling that it would matter even less there than here even if wasn’t.

And I’ve never seen such whinging about taking a credit card as I see in the UK. You walk into a shop that has “Visa/MC/Amex/Other” logos blazed all over the door, you walk up and hand them your Alliance & Leicester card, and you can see the eyes roll. “Don’t you have any cash, love?” is the frequent response, said with a slightly patronizing tone. The patronizing tone goes up a notch if I speak first and they realize there’s an American in front of them, so I usually let Fierra do the talking. Surcharges are also pretty much run of the mill with credit card purchases from what I’ve seen.

Here was a real bit of stupidity. At the National Railway museum in York a few weeks back, Fierra buys about £20 worth of souvenirs, and then on the way out I see something else I want for about £6 (it wasn’t visible from the shop proper…yes, by all means, hide things that people can buy so that they’re after the till…). We turn and walk 2 steps back to the counter, and it’s “£10 minimum for a credit card purchase. Sorry.” Jesus Christ, whether it’s malls that close at 5:30pm (right at the time people who work for a living could get to them…like the Marlowes in Hemel Hempstead that we’ve shopped at frequently…what sort of madness are these hours: http://www.themarlowes.co.uk/mainpage.html? Are there really that many households in the area where only one person works, like something out of the 1960’s?), or the the inability of even some high-end places like jewelry stores to take credit cards or cheques (Sure! I always carry £2000 on my person, dumbass!), sometimes England seems to me like a place where shopkeepers are trying very hard to reduce their business and retire early.

For all people can whinge about credit card surcharges, surely they must be less than the risk of bad checks. When I worked back at Pizza Hut in the 1980’s and very early 1990, we had a bad check rate that was more than 12%. I wonder if that has changed since that time.

It’s not just Mom and Pop places. Ivylad and I went to see Manheim Steamroller in concert last December, and the concession booth at the convention center required a minimum purchase.

They know that. And it looks like they don’t mind the risk of losing customers who use CC’s for small purchases. Apparently the cost of processing coupled with the fee they pay to the CC company is greater than the profit they may make on a smaller transaction.

It’s not part of their agreement with the CC company but their actions show fairly logical business sense. Like any business, they try to quit doing things that lose them money. The only financial risk they have of losing you as a customer is if you are also a regular who puts large purchases on a card. My guess is, if you were a (valued) regular, they would have bent the “under $10” rule.

You found a bar in PA that charges less than 10$ for a six pack?

I find this incredible.

In the UK, at least, it depends on the type of card whether it’s a fixed amount the cc company takes per transaction (a small shop is likely to pay 20 - 25p per transaction if it is) or is a fixed rate percentage they’re charged.
If it’s a fixed percentage on the sale there’s absolutely no reason not to take small sales… even on a flat fee I don’t see them actually losing money on most small transactions, just not making as much as they might otherwise make.

Unlike U.S. vendors, European vendors are not restricted from posting minimum purchase requirements nor are they restricted from charging a fee to use a credit card.

I would have been overjoyed that a sixer of Red Stripe was going for a single-figure sum and bought about 5 of them. But then, I am in Australia. I can’t get a sixer of anything for less than $10.

AU$10 is about US$8.50.

What annoys me most is that the new Visa ads that have everyone waltzing along happily until some asshole uses cash instead of his Visa show him buying a cup of coffee at a donut shop, which was probably about $2. So they show those ads implying “Hey, you can use Visa everywhere- even for your morning cup o Joe, how handy!” then you get there and find out that’s not true because the business is refusing the sale.

In my case I pay 2.87% + $0.35 US On a $10 transaction it costs me $0.64.

Fortunately in my biz the smallest transactions I see are $55. :smiley:

Those commercials are for debit cards, which one can (and I do) use for even the most piddling of purchases.