Cash Is King – At Least In One Case

Here’s a bit of a puzzler for you.

I took my car in for some needed repairs today and picked it up late, as I was the last customer to get his car back the same day. The owner of the shop checked me out and as I was paying remarked that he was amazed at the number of his customers paying with cash. He estimated that he had received more cash in the past couple of weeks then he had in the past two years. He wasn’t talking about $35 oil changes either, but big $1000 plus repair bills.

Now this shop abuts one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Phoenix and the others surrounding it are decidedly upper-middle class. Certainly my well used Acura looked out of place among the BMWs, Mercedes and Volvos.

What gives? At first I thought that it had something to do with credit cards getting maxed out or limits being reduced. But why wouldn’t the shop’s clients use debit cards?

I confess, I can’t figure it out. I wonder if people, even at the upper end, are working more off the books or selling assets to keep hanging on. Two lame ideas, I freely admit. Anyone out there have any thoughts.

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