The ABC Midwest ran a story today on shops in Geraldton rejecting money kept in people's brassiere. The story was published on the ABC's national Facebook page, and thus gathered remarks from around the country. ABC claimed that a "growing" number of businesses are putting the sign up.
I've worked in retail for many years, and experienced people handing over bra money lots of times. Allow me to share my experience.
- I don't recall the money every being "sweaty and gross".
- Often the woman has children with her, and carrying the cash there seems to be quite practical with her hands otherwise full.
- The first time I saw this happen I was a little surprised, but I quickly realised that the skin of someone's breast is likely a lot cleaner than their hands, so I got over it.
- When I spoke with one person about why women kept their cash there, they mentioned that it was a lot less likely to be nicked than if they carried a purse around with them all the time. If money is tight, it makes sense to want to protect it as much as possible.
- I have seen other women stick their keys or phone in their bra when heading to the beach. "Where else are you gonna put it?" was one comment I got, referring to how most women's clothing doesn't have pockets.
- Putting a sign up to say you won't accept bra money achieves absolutely nothing. All someone has to do is take their cash out before they enter the store. Not a very useful system if you really want to protect your staff from breast germs.
- I have frequented many mens toilets, obviously. MOST MEN DO NOT WASH THEIR HANDS AFTER USING A TOILET. Sorry, but it's true. If you're honestly scared of germs, and not just discriminating against people who are unable to carry a purse with them everywhere, then you wouldn't accept cash from any male who used his hands to pass it to you.
- I had a bloke once pull money out of his socks. From memory, he was a tradie who found it easier to keep his cash there than have his wallet slip from his pocket while working. He looked like he was working hard keeping the economy ticking, and deserved his Iced Coffee. I hardly felt within my rights to refuse his business.
- Not everybody has the same background, upbringing, or habits regarding the handling of cash. If a sizeable number of people in our community see carrying cash in their bra as a practical habit, perhaps its worth considering why they do it rather than just declare "that's gross" and ban them from shopping at your store.
One person interviewed who erected the sign banning bra money told the ABC it was "a matter of respect."
Respect goes both ways. Understanding that some people live very different lives to you, are dealing with circumstances you will never be exposed to, and are just trying to transport their cash as safely as they can, is probably worth thinking about. Being forbidden from buying food from a store because the safest way for you to carry your cash is in your bra seems a little disrespectful.