Cash vs. Credit

In Japan, I very rarely used my credit cards and regularly carried large denomination bills on my person.
In the States I use my cards more, and only use cash when I have to. Cash is reserved for places that don’t take credit, splitting the bill when eating with friends, and as a reserve plan, just in case I need it.
I like being able to use credit cards everywhere, but only because I am very wary of over-spending on my limited paycheck.
What I don’t like is trying to find a place that will accept large bills. At some places, you can sense the reluctance to accept them. Some places won’t even take them. I can’t remember one time someone wouldn’t take a 10,000 yen note when I was in Japan. It just didn’t happen.
Then again, there were few times where trying to use my credit card was easy over there. Usually, the clerk looked at it as if it were a puzzle to be solved, and a few minutes later summoned other clerks and then the manager who would either apologize that they didn’t accept credit cards (I suspect that some of them may have accepted them, but didn’t know it themselves because no one ever had used one in their store) or would take over control of the register and demonstrate part of why they had risen to the ranks of management.
It’s hard to say which form of payment I like better. On one hand, I can do almost anything I need to with my credit card. There’s no going to the ATM or planning how much I will need before going out. One major benefit is that as long as you report a card missing or stolen, if you lose your wallet the only money you will lose is the actual money in your wallet.
On the other, having to handle money, instead of just signing receipts, makes process of paying for something less abstract. You can actually see your money entering or leaving your possession. Unlike a credit card, thieves on the internet can’t literally pick your pocket.
I don’t know which I like using better, cash or credit. It would be nice to have a lot more cash though.
I’m going to end this post on something a bit off topic:
I really like bartering. Trading something hot off the grill for a beer, trading some chips for some cookies, and trading a book for a CD. It’s been transactions like that which have given me the most satisfaction.
I think we should bring back bartering on a larger scale. Can you imagine paying your taxes in candy, or trading a chef some fish that you caught in exchange for a free dinner? Ah that would be awesome!