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December 10th, 2009:

Cash or credit: The Salvation Army bell ringers now accept credit cards [progress]

Salvation Army Charity Bucket security seal, Oxford Street, London, UK.JPGFirst it was McDonald’s, then NYC taxi cabs, and now even the Salvation Army Bell Ringers are going to begin accepting credit cards.

The charity announced it will be rolling out new card processing Red Kettles in New York and 120 other cities next week. During a three-city pilot program last year, the average credit card donation was $15 compared with only $2 for cash contributors.

The program is also good news for donors, who can now earn cash-back on their contributions and even institute a charge-back if they have second thoughts about it.

The Salvation Army’s announcement means that basically everyone is on board with accepting credit cards, except for that whiny merchant coalition and the horrible pizza place across the street from me.

God Bless America and God Bless Credit Cards!

[Daily News via Gothamist]

Bad news for drycleaners: Michigan passes smoking ban

No SmokingAfter years of bickering and posturing, Michigan has finally passed a workplace smoking ban.

The mitten state will join New York City and the growing ranks of states that prohibit smoking in workplaces, bars and restaurants.

This is great news for most Michiganders, as it means that going to a bar or restaurant won’t leave you and your clothes reeking of smoke anymore. Of course, drycleaners should probably be worried. Their lucrative secondhand-stink business is sure to plummet.

Oh, and a note to smelly Europeans and dance club regulars: starting wearing more deodorant. You can’t count on cigarette smoke in the club to mask your BO anymore.

[mlive, via Michigan Liberal]

New Yorkers shun European-style pay toilets [duh]

Pay-toilet

The horrible photo quality is due to the massive Macy's flood lights shining down on the roof.

New York City has a complicated history with pay-toilets.

It was one of the first cities to ban them in the 70s following a successful campaign by the Committee to End Pay Toilets in America.  But the city lifted the ban earlier this decade. Shortly there after, public-private partnerships started installing a few fancy automated, self-cleaning pay toilets in placed like Harold Square.

Backers initially had high hopes for the French-manufactured toilets which cost about a half-million dollars each. In 2006, the first year it was in operation, the Harold Square toilet attracted more than 28,000 customers who each paid 25 cents to relieve themselves. But by 2007, usage had plummeted 50 percent, according to a report in the New York Times.

After focus groups and studies, the 34th Street Partnership concluded that people were creeped out by the automated, self-cleaning toilets.

That might be part of it, but I suspect the real reason is that Americans just don’t like paying a toll to use the toilet.

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