Jul

4

 Some final cross country musings, mostly about business models.

On Scott's advice we stopped by Lambert's Cafe in Sikeston, MO. Delightful Americana decor and food (too much, go hungry, return stuffed). It is a large barn like structure with a small (maybe 5') sign on the outside (easily missed) that says "cash only". The entrance is full of stuff that obstructs your view of the receptionist (about 30' from the door). Naturally you wait in line. Having waited for your turn to be seated, you are now facing a VERY large "Cash only" sign. Not much choice here, circle back to the convenient ATM in the alcove in the lobby, say yes to the $3.00 fee and go eat. The cash only rule obviously saves credit card costs, bad charge fees, adds on some commission from the ATM, and gives you cash to tip the piano player. Clever. They do have a 'sticky' clientele as there really is nowhere else to eat and they are catering to travelers who've been reading the signs for 50 miles…

I needed some lug bolts and a tire remounted for my trailer while we were near Cleveland. Google located a nearby trailer store (which was recommended by the locals as well). Small fenced lot with a smattering of trailers for sale and a new Ford F550 parked. The proprietor showed up on a nice Gold Wing (Geezer Glide as my son called it). Big "cash only" sign inside, along with a sign that said "try our new finance plan, 100% down, no interest, no payments". The owner dug through some boxes for 8 lug bolts, remounted our tire, insisted we take the old one with us (along with his opinion of the laws that won't let him burn them), then asked if I needed a receipt. I said no, and it was $20. The remount and disposal alone would have cost more than that in most places. Not sure what the charge was if I needed a receipt, but I would guess $40. Again, no credit card fees, no bad debt and probably no taxes. Also no inventory system (other than his head) and no paper work headache. He has what he wants and the government ain't getting any of it if he can help.

I expect the cash only sector of the economy to make a comeback, though by its nature, it will remain hidden.

On paying for gas. What happened to the zip code authorization on self pay pumps? At least half of the ones I used did not require it. Sample from 6 states, with the same cards. Some stations did, some didn't. I thought it was a requirement??

On fast food chains I don't really like McDonald's food, but.. McDonald's

- is the only fast food restaurant that can consistently staff and use the double drive through windows
- figured out how to use the spoon as a disposable stirrer for their ice cream treat. (It is square, hollow and fits over the shaft of the machine. Nothing to clean).
- is the only one whose lids consistently stay on the cup without leaking
- the food 'quality' and service do not seem to vary with the area of the country or neighborhood. (Chick Fil A is good on this one as well)

Really liked Russ's analysis of the gas prices vs. speed on the website. The truckers I know personally are making over $50K per year.


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