No, it’s not what you think. We didn’t get a discount for paying by check. In fact, it would cost us the same exact amount if we used credit card. But let me back up…
A few weeks ago my husband got into a fender-bender accident in a McDonald’s parking lot. It wasn’t his fault, though the other guy ended up harassing us over the phone for filing a claim against his insurance company. But that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, we took the car to a local body shop and the bill ended up being close to $1,000. The other guy’s insurance already cut us a check, so I could use my Premier Rewards Gold Amex credit card and hit the rest of minimum spending. Score! Or so I thought.
My husband said that it’s a mom-and-pop shop and that it’s not right to make them swallow the transaction fee. I tried to explain that the fee was already built into the price and we could likely ask them for a discount if paying via check. But he wouldn’t budge.
He said he wanted to just write them a check for the full amount and be done with it. OK, I had to come up with a Plan B. I told him to offer the shop owner a 2% extra to make up for the fee somewhat. Since I don’t do manufactured spending, I pretty much use credit cards for organic purchases only, aside from Plastiq payment here and there.
So, paying 2% extra would be worth it because it would free up my spending and allow me to apply for another card. Plus, I would earn 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar, a win-win. My husband said he would ask the owner.
I had to stay with the kids in the van, but didn’t anticipate any issues. Well. My husband came back and said he wrote a check because the owner said he preferred this form of payment. Of course they would say that! There was nothing I could do, so I just gave my husband an angry look and drove away.
I was still fuming when he came home. In my mind there were zero issues with using a credit card in this particular case. Not to mention, I was willing to cough up 2% extra even though it technically wasn’t required. I just couldn’t believe we squandered this opportunity.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the same quality that compelled my husband to give local small business a break is the reason why I was attracted to him in the first place. If I could describe him in one sentence, it would be “a decent guy who always tries to do the right thing.”
Here was our exchange:
My husband: You know I can’t do what you want 100% of the time.
Me: I know. And to be fair, you do what I want 99.9% of the time, so I can’t really complain.
Sure, we missed out on 1,000 MR points, but so what? I’m married to one of the good guys who treats me well (usually). He is not a maximizer when it comes to deals and he hates switching credit cards. But he is kind to people. In fact, he didn’t have to apply for any of his jobs so far. Someone knew my husband and recommended him for the position. A common theme? He is a hard worker and a decent guy.
The world can use more decent guys right about now.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.