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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:35 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1572
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
The problem I see with accepting electronic payments at a rail museum is that the Founding Members and other Insiders in charge may not be familiar with how to do it, and won't accept help from younger and newer members who do know what to do.
In the business world, a consultant can be hired, but some small companies balk at that expense.
TAN: I remember a Letter to the Editor (now long ago) from the owner of a small town store who literally pulled the plug on the computer running his electronic shopping and payment service when he discovered that the users were regular long time customers who formerly did business in person. Do you really want to spend money to make things easier for your existing customers? If they don't like it, they can go volunteer and ride the trains at some other Museum!


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:58 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 667
Location: B'more Maryland
JimBoylan wrote:
TAN: I remember a Letter to the Editor (now long ago) from the owner of a small town store who literally pulled the plug on the computer running his electronic shopping and payment service when he discovered that the users were regular long time customers who formerly did business in person.


And I bet that he then complained about how unfair the world was when he lost that business entirely.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:09 pm
Posts: 473
What's amazing to me, is there are still organizations that either A) don't have ANY online presence at all, or B), the website is so outdated its not even funny, let along have any sort of electronic way of donating. How can one run a tourist train, when the events calendar is several years old..

Add me to another one of the list of younger people that don't really write checks. I do about 2 a year, tops. I don't think they should be refused by any means, but every group should have some way to get money online in this era.

One of the model railroad groups I was with, seen a very large influx of younger (20's) members all in the course of a year. One of the things we wanted to do was modernize the entire thing, and it was like pulling teeth. One such instance, the "treasury" was not its own account, but was done all through somebody's personal account! He would come in every month with a printout of his personal banking statements, and highlighted everything for the organization.

Needless to say, one of the first changes was a new bank account, complete with debit cards for the board members, linked to a paypal account for donations..

I have been dealing with a few large institutions in regards to photos for a book I am doing. One of which, I was able to research, order the prints, and pay for the reproduction rights, while getting digital copies. One shot, easy as pie. Yet, another, equally as large (world wide organization!) - print X form, fill it out, mail it with a check here for research costs, wait for us to mail you photo copies, mail back the photo copies you want prints of with another check..

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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:31 pm
Posts: 31
In my organization we have yet to make the transition, but are looking into it. we have 275 active members and have handled a lot of checks in the past few weeks w/o issue.

In addition we are looking at an online store for our magazine the Ambassador and a few other publications.

A lot of museums have yet to make the transition to online gift shops as well, which would have been a significant benefit during this current situation, as online sales are still booming.

Al P.
CVRHS


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:11 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2691
Your organization should definitely accept online payments in some form. The reason for this is to help remove any and all obstacles to donating/purchasing tickets.

Ever notice how Amazon and Apple have it so you can buy stuff with a click or two? Impulse buys. If you have to dig out your credit card or worse yet, find your checkbook, write a check, put it in an envelope, find a stamp, mail it... You might just think "I'll do that later" and never get back to it.

So the goal is to make it as easy as possible for the customer.

That said, they should also allow for donations by checks. As for payments for admission fees, tickets etc, I can certainly see why many no longer take checks, as trying to collect on a bounced check is often more hassle than it's worth. Credit cards can be charged back, but that's more difficult and requires some justification. So it's easier to use that approach.


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9850
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Oh, yeah, another anecdote:

The last major train show I went to (pre-COVID), one of the big ones in the Northeast, as I recall NO ONE would take a check unless they knew you well enough to probably come by your house and deal with you directly if your check bounced, i.e. had been doing business with you for years, maybe decades--or, if they did, it was a personal favor.

There were ATMs in the building. There were smart phones with credit/debit card swipe devices and the software to instantly credit the transaction. LOTS of cash--to the point where I escorted someone with a fat wad of cash to his van as a favor.

There were 1-2 guys/businesses I saw that still had those credit-card impression devices and those carbon slips. I joked they belonged in the museum. They agreed............

I've made jokes about "dragging some of these guys kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, or else!"


Did you hear that audible "GROAN!!" in the supermarket, big-box store, or the like? The person at the front of that check-out line just whipped out a checkbook....... and the register isn't set up to automatically print it for them (that used to be a "thing," you know--haven't seen it done in ages....).


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 1:53 pm
Posts: 344
Location: Annville, PA
Ed Kapuscinski wrote:
Lol, money orders.

I'll get the operator on the line...

Seriously. Clinging to outdated ways of doing things will DOOM the railroad preservation movement.

I'm very involved in the management of two historical societies. One embraces modern technology, methods, and the people who use those. One is still trying to adopt Roberts Rules to email communications.

Guess which one is building a museum, and guess which one is concerned about its members passing away.

If you want your organization to thrive, or even survive these times that seem to be accelerating the arrival of the future, you've gotta get with them.



Come on, Ed. Even if you're not a big fan of the post office, there's always good ol' Western Union...

https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/home.html

LOL


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 Post subject: Re: Are written checks obsolete in this industry?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:49 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 667
Location: B'more Maryland
NVPete wrote:
Come on, Ed. Even if you're not a big fan of the post office, there's always good ol' Western Union...

https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/home.html

LOL


I know, I know, the problem is that with all these Covid restrictions in place there's a line to tie your horse up at the hitching post when doing one.


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