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We’ve been cashless for 3 years now and haven’t looked back, but every now and then we get asked the question: why don’t we accept cash?

        We made the switch for a number of reasons, but chief among them was something that’s of the utmost importance when selling food: hygiene. Cash-handling has forever been a chink in the armour of purchasing food, especially in market or deli environments where the person handling your food is also the cashier. We’d seen enough markets and butcher shops confusing cash-handling and food-handling to realise there was a simple solution to the problem. Eliminate cash from the equation.

“…our whole retail experience is designed to prevent any foreign objects from entering our food preparation spaces.”

          When you think about it, a lot of cash has been doing the rounds for decades, collecting all kinds of detritus that you really don’t want to come into contact with your food. Any given banknote or coin is host to thousands of bacteria – most of which are harmless – but some (like staphylococcus aureus and E. coli) can be present, and cause serious food-borne illnesses. In a fresh meat environment especially, the proper containment of this kind of bacteria is no laughing matter – and we take great pride in how obsessive we are about it. In fact, our whole retail experience is designed to prevent any foreign objects from entering our food preparation spaces. Our butchers and counter staff will use clean gloves and bags to collect your desired produce and weigh it on scales which are cleaned with food-safe sanitiser multiple times a day. This all happens on their side of the counter. Then when it comes time to pay – payment is processed through the eftpos terminal on the outside of the counter by the customer. The only thing that changes hands is the bag of meat going over the counter to you. Now compare that to juggling the food and handfuls of coins. Our method is quicker and cleaner.

         Another question that occasionally crops up is “is it legal?” You’ll be pleased to know that this was the our first question too. We asked the Reserve Bank of Australia to weigh in and learned that prior to rendering a service or product Cannings can choose which of Australia’s legal tenders to accept and whether to accept it exclusively. Legal? Yes. Commonplace? Not exactly.

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          Understandably, some new customers take a little while warming to the idea – but when they learn we’re doing it with their health and safety in mind, and never enforce minimum spends or charge transaction fees – the benefits become abundantly clear – we wouldn’t want to turn the convenience into a hassle! An added bonus is that the weights and prices are all calculated and transmitted by expertly calibrated machines – human error is eliminated from the equation, too. It makes the whole process that much more accurate and efficient. The same can be said from a business standpoint as well; – we never have to worry about trips to the bank, tills that don’t add up or keeping cash on our premises. 

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Cannings was awarded the Retail Payments Leader Award by Mastercard for Payment Innovation at the Australian Retail Awards in 2015. 

         We feel that much more confident to purvey our produce in the knowledge that we’ve done everything in our power to ensure it hasn’t come into contact with any harmful bacteria. And in a world that is transitioning away from cash, butcher shops are an obvious choice for early adoption.

      Looking around, it’s clear that the nature of money and how we use it is changing. From the inherently cash-free online shopping environment, to experimental supermarkets like Amazon Go, contactless payment solutions like Square, social services credit cards like Kenya’s Huduma Card and even entire countries courting the idea of abandoning cash – the future is clear: physical money (which has been with us for almost 3,000 years) is rapidly becoming an anachronism.

       As with everything else we do – we try look to the future, we’re always on the hunt for new innovations that will keep us relevant in the 21st century : streamlining our shopping experience through electronic payment is just one of them.