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Guest Post: Why You Always Want Physical Everything

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

On the way from San Marino yesterday, I had to stop for some gas near Rimini, a beautiful beach town on Italy’s Adriatic coast. As an aside, Italian gas prices are among the highest in Europe… and the world… at €1.77 per liter (almost USD $8.50 per gallon).

Naturally, the vast majority of this is due to taxes. From the € 1.77 per liter, only about € 0.48 can be attributed to the price of oil. Profit margin and distribution costs run about € 0.28. The rest of it (just over 1 euro) is tax. This amounts to an effective tax rate of over 130% on fuel.

Anyhow, when I pulled in to the gas station, I whipped out my American Express card and asked the attendant in broken Italian to turn on the pump. He acted like I had just punched him in the gut, wincing when he saw my credit card. “No… cash, only cash,” he said.

I didn’t have very much cash on me, so I drove to the next station where a similar experience awaited me.

This is a trend that is typical when economies are in decline– cash is king. Businesses often won’t want to spend the extra 2.5% on credit card merchant fees… but more importantly, distrust of the banking system and a debilitatingly extractive tax system pushes people into cash transactions.

You can’t really blame them. In Italy there’s massive distrust of the local banking system. Most of the banks are insolvent, and the government has already started imposing capital controls by limiting withdrawals in some cases to 1,000 euros.

As a result, many bank customers are facing substantial difficulty in accessing their funds; it’s easy to understand why they want to deal in physical cash– the counterparty risk is much lower.

Nobody gives these issues much thought… right up until they get shut out of their account. But these are the real consequences of counterparty risk: anytime your asset is simultaneously someone else’s liability, you might have a big problem when tough times arise. This is when physical cash becomes a premium asset.

It’s the same thing with gold and silver when you think about it. In the early days of the post-Lehman financial crisis, precious metals prices were tanking. At least, on paper.

Gold and silver contract prices may have been plummeting in futures exchanges around the world, but simultaneously, premiums for physical gold and silver coins were skyrocketing. The US mint was unable to keep up with demand for physical coins, and premiums hit double digits by December 2008.

It was an obvious example of the huge disparity between the paper price and the physical price. And in tough times, the paper price is irrelevant. Physical is all that matters.

Cash is in the same boat. When you look at the numbers, the amount of physical currency in circulation is dwarfed by the digital money supply.

In the EU, the M2 money supply is 8.77 trillion euros, of which only 861 billion is in physical cash… about 9.8%. In the US, the proportion is similar– $10.02 trillion M2 money supply, $1.1 trillion in physical cash. The rest is all digits in a database.

It’s a prudent idea to heed this lesson from Italy, for as the banking malaise in southern Europe spreads, cash is likely going to be a premium asset in the rest of the world as well. And it certainly makes sense for individuals to have some holdings of cold, hard cash in addition to physical metal.

After all, if you’re only generating 0.0000001% interest in your bank account anyhow, what difference does it really make to hold physical cash? You’re not worse off for it, but you’ll be a lot better prepared in case something goes wrong.


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Fri, 08/24/2012 - 16:53 | 2735363 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

black didn't have any cash, what a putz. i hope his smug ass ran out of petrol and was stranded somewhere bleak.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 16:55 | 2735368 Robot Traders Mom
Robot Traders Mom's picture

In the end, he's on our side no matter how smug he is...


By the way, where did you get my son's baby picture from?

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 16:56 | 2735372 knukles
knukles's picture

That's been on the back of every Schlitz pull tab beer can since 1963.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:00 | 2735381 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

So Simon, will there be a two tier market.

$4.00/gallon in cash and $6.00/gallon with credit card?

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:09 | 2735399 risk-reward
risk-reward's picture

Already happening here in N. Georgia.  $.05 to $.07 extra for using a credit card just down the way...........

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:31 | 2735643 12ToothAssassin
12ToothAssassin's picture

There used to be a CA (or national? Im not sure) law that was lobbied for by CC companies that made it illegal to charge MORE for a credit transaction. That has either expired or been repealed becuase Ive noticed that there are higher credit prices on gasoline once again.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 20:34 | 2735951 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

Some of the local Arco stations are bragging that they no longer charge the 45 cent per transaction ATM fee. Instead, the credit price is 10 cents a gallon higher. Yow, cash in on the great savings on a 15 gallon fill up.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 21:56 | 2736057 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

Fiat is transitory.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 00:39 | 2736280 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

so is life.  It still costs $8.50 a gallon to fill up your Fiat in Italy.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 01:00 | 2736303 Don Keot
Don Keot's picture

Would that be $8.50 fiat to fill up your Fiat or credit or debit?

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 08:16 | 2736579 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture


Three silver dimes in 1960 would buy you a gallon of gas.....those same three dimes will still buy you a gallon of gas.


Physical is good!


Sat, 08/25/2012 - 09:16 | 2736622 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

Actually they will buy you 1.5 gal. of gas in the US.  3 silver dimes = a little over $6. today.  1 silver quarter = $5.25

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:12 | 2735406 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

That already exists at the gas stations around me, with a more modest spread of course.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:18 | 2735423 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

If you keep two $100 bills tucked away in the back of your wallet at all times, you won't run into trouble like this.

Even if you are overseas, a good ol' american hundge is most likely accepted in a pinch. 

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:21 | 2735437 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

All my cash is tied up in pogs, beanie babies and Mountain House #10 cans. Bring on financial armageddon!

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:27 | 2735457 SwimmininNawlins
SwimmininNawlins's picture

You my friend will want for nothing.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 20:02 | 2735895 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

You can trade beanie babies for damn near anything you need.  They are better than gold.


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 21:47 | 2736046 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

Unlike gold or iPads, I think you actually could eat a Beanie Baby, if you were put to it.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 21:59 | 2736063 Bindar Dundat
Bindar Dundat's picture

Funny , all my assets are tied up in cash.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 01:03 | 2736307 Don Keot
Don Keot's picture

I'm finding you can get a pretty good discount with cash and no receipt.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 08:18 | 2736580 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture


Funny , all my assets are tied up in cash.


Pretty colored paper will be a collectors item someday in the about a couple thousand years. If you live that long you'll be rich.


Sat, 08/25/2012 - 08:19 | 2736581 ATM
ATM's picture

Just ask the owner!

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:33 | 2735463 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

LOL, no. If you tried paying with a US note in Europe you would get some very strange looks.


Do any of you actually travel? LOL you get all your info from old James Bond movies.


And I don't think Simon does either, because paying cash in Meditarranean countries is really nothing new.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:38 | 2735481 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Don't be a fucking retard.

"Estimates by the Federal Reserve suggest that as much as 60 percent of the $760 billion in U.S. currency outstanding at the end of 2005, or roughly $450 billion, was held outside the United States."

As bad as the US dollar is, it is still the most widely held foreign currency in the world. I'm quite confident it would be cheerfully accepted in a pinch, especially if you deliberately overpaid.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:47 | 2735508 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

LOL you think those statistics prove that you can pay with US notes in shops in EU?


Dude I visit Europe several times a year. I have lived most my life in Europe.


LOL too funny...

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:34 | 2735654 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

I visit Europe every year and I see the same thing.  They always tell me I need to go to a bank if I need euros to pay.  They don't want American money!   This is especially true since Bush/Cheney pissed off everyone 10 years ago.  Before that, especially before the euro, there was a chance getting someone to take American money.  No more.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:42 | 2735849 noses
noses's picture

Don't worry - most don't want US citizens either. And that's not caused by the citizens in question, they're just held responsible for their government.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 20:10 | 2737793 flaunt
flaunt's picture

Who the fuck would want to immigrate to Europe anyway?  One shit bucket to another shit bucket both destined for the dustbin of history.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:43 | 2735854 robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture

Tom Cruise was in the paper yesterday because he couldn't pay his $350 restaurant bill in England. He only had an American Express card and US dollars. Some woman paid the bill with 50 Euro notes and left a $147 tip. The restaurant owner said if she didn't paythe bill the meal would have been comped. I laughed.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 03:34 | 2736417 zipfish
zipfish's picture

Why was the bill in USD anyway if the restaurant was in England?

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 23:33 | 2736212 presk_eel_pundit
presk_eel_pundit's picture

Just wondering. Do they want only cash because they don't want the credit card paper trail for tax purposes?

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 10:03 | 2736696 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:57 | 2735543 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

That's odd I have always had the opposite experience in Europe and Asia. USD's still are accepted everywhere except in Mexico and Australia. 


I travel more than most as well. 

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:00 | 2735554 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

I now know with 100% certainty you are a liar.


Paying with US money in EU shops and gas stations? Bullshit.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 23:26 | 2736183 HoofHearted
HoofHearted's picture

I'm in Paris all the time. They shit on American dollars. You can go down to the exchange place and get ripped off on the rate if you would like, then you can come back and pay in euros. One place you can pay in USD is Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, but they also crucify you on the exchange rate.

Mexico, on the other hand, I've seen many people look at my wallet and ask for USD instead of the pesos I was about to pay in. I get a nice exchange rate there too. I barely even exchange currencies when going to Mexico...just hold the few hundred pesos I had left over from the last trip and generally don't spend many of those. 

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:44 | 2735860 noses
noses's picture

If the only place you're ever spending them are McDonalds and Burger King... But even they demand quite a cute surcharge (just checked - about 20% at the local Burger King).  Serves you right.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 20:52 | 2735974 Overfed
Overfed's picture

Last time I was in Mexico they were more than happy to take USDs. Wasn't that long ago.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 00:42 | 2736290 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

last time I was in mexico I was in california.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:27 | 2735815 franzpick
franzpick's picture

We spent 3 weeks with a rental car in Italy in 2007, used credit cards for gas, food, hotels and shopping, and no one ever blinked or offered a discount for cash. I think Black's experience shows how things are tightening up there, and probably elsewhere, and in the ongoing worldwide credit and profit collapse, a broadening tax-free black market is, IMO, an expected next step.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 19:05 | 2737729 puckles
puckles's picture

I suspect that Black's experience, if he reported it accurtaely, indicates a typical Mediterranean desire to avoid the Fisc.  Period.


Sat, 08/25/2012 - 12:17 | 2737049 Ayn NY
Ayn NY's picture

I've paid for several cabs in London with dollars. I had pounds on me as well, they were the ones who asked if I had dollars. That was last summer when the dollar was in bad shape. There was a shop in Tours that wanted my extra dollars as well.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:09 | 2735577 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

"a good ol' american hundge is most likely accepted in a pinch"

 ironic given it's the "hundge" that's in the biggest pinch of all 

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:21 | 2735617 candyman
candyman's picture

Thanks for reminding me, I've been doing that for decades, except I keep a few in my trunk under the spare. Wonder if they are still there, gotta look.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 21:31 | 2736026 masterinchancery
masterinchancery's picture

You really want 20s, lots of them, because some places will not accept higher denominations.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 23:46 | 2736233 dolce vita
dolce vita's picture's called a"HUNSKI"...

fixed  it for ya

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 08:50 | 2736600 defencev
defencev's picture

I guess You have not been out of country recently. Nobody wants 100 US bills anymore. Too many fakes. This stupid Simon Black makes a story out of his every little fart. I have no trouble using credit cards while travel overseas.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:19 | 2735430 Precious
Precious's picture

I pay for my gas with goat cheese and soap.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:34 | 2735471 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

I pay for my goat cheese with gas.


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:39 | 2735489 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

I gas my goats, take the cheese for free and make soap out of them before I'm done.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:16 | 2735598 jimmytorpedo
jimmytorpedo's picture

i always travel with one hundred geese in the back of the car

fat liver anyone?

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:23 | 2735623 RacerX
RacerX's picture

Ah, Goats, cash, petroleum products, soap, and cheese. Fridays at the ZH are fun times.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:42 | 2735676 OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

Goats give me gas, sometimes i need soap to clean up

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 01:11 | 2736316 Don Keot
Don Keot's picture

I lost my boats in a goating accident.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 23:10 | 2736155 Nage42
Nage42's picture

"I give my goats gas with my cheesy rimshot," that can't be right!  Unless you're a kiwi!  ;)


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 16:58 | 2735376 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Maybe... but he isn't doing anyone a favor by convincing them to move to Chile while keeping their gold half way across the world in Hong Kong and Georgia (the country).

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:00 | 2735377 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

By the way, where did you get my son's baby picture from?

The back of a lactating mutant milk carton I found on mars.


edit: Q: He's on our side with his American Express card?

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:20 | 2735436 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:06 | 2735395 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

A putz like Simon isn't on anybodies side but his own.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:11 | 2735404 tmosley
tmosley's picture

These Simon Black threads ALWAYS make me think of the Player Haters Ball.

Bunch of tiny haters trying to hate on the original hater.


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:14 | 2735412 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Who the hell is Simon Black? He is no Buck Nasty....

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:46 | 2735692 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Idiot Simon... He should just bring Obama along with him... Then Obama could pay for his gas (& mortgage)...

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 21:22 | 2736012 PeterLemonJello
PeterLemonJello's picture

And nowif youll excuse me, I have to go put some water in Simon Black`s momma`s dish.....

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:45 | 2735503 Slightly Insane
Slightly Insane's picture

I agree Buzz, what is a Sovereign Man doing with a credit card?   Yeah, Duh?  Whose the idiot now ... Dummy?

Every Soverign Man (or Woman) knows that "coinage" or "cash" is king, and after that it's PM's! 


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:45 | 2735687 OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

tough to pay at most places with shavings of gold. here's a "sovereign" alternative:


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:07 | 2735732 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

Had the same experience in Greece recently. Every establishment - gas stations, shops, hotels, restaurants was cash-only. Fortunately, I always carry cash so I was able to oblige.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:42 | 2735850 franzpick
franzpick's picture

Thanks ED. I'll guess that as Greece-like defacto national tax strikes develop in other countries, the cash markets will grow; the EU bailout charade will be revealed. 

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:12 | 2735772 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

Priceless , buzz ! Cash is king, cries the beggar with
plastic money ! Chutzpah at it's finest.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 16:56 | 2735370 Yellowhoard
Yellowhoard's picture

Nickels are the best store of cash.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:20 | 2735432 SwimmininNawlins
SwimmininNawlins's picture

except that they're so cumbersome

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:27 | 2735454 iDealMeat
iDealMeat's picture

So much so that they make your safe to heavy to move....  Nor will anyone bother stealing them..


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:37 | 2735662 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

That's why I travel everywhere with my trusty wheelbarrow.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:20 | 2735433 spinone
spinone's picture

When people start talking about hoarding nickles, I know this physical over paper meme has jumped the shark

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:28 | 2735459 iDealMeat
iDealMeat's picture


See  ..   silly sheep fiat is foolish..

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:52 | 2735527 Whalley World
Whalley World's picture

Tell that to Kyle Bass

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:00 | 2735556 jarboejl
jarboejl's picture

Nickels are the best way to protect yourself (currently) from both inflation and deflation.  Melt value is 98% of face, so if inflation pops you're covered.  If deflation can still spend them at face.  Win-Win baby!

Kyle Bass must be thinking the same thing with his 20 million nickels.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:59 | 2735711 DanDaley
DanDaley's picture

That's only a million bucks. Old Kyle had better get with the program.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 21:12 | 2737859 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

It won't be a problem to walk around with 110 tons of nickles in your briefcase.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 09:25 | 2736635 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

I thought hidden safes or undisclosed burial locations were the best store. In other words, nothing is safe, including your life, in a lawless nation as long as they know what you have.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 16:59 | 2735378 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Queue the Simon Black hate.

"I hope all the bad things in life happen to you and no-one but you."

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:00 | 2735382 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

He almost got me.., I read two sentences before I recognized who it was.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:03 | 2735390 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Are there any Italians on here who can verify this gas station story? If this guy is lying he should be banned.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:23 | 2735446 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Credit cards aren't universally accepted in Europe as they are here. Yes in touristed areas you'll be safe, but go off the beaten path and and you're wise to keep cash on you.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:25 | 2735451 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

So it seems like the good old USD still has a lot of breath in it. We must be a long way from hyperinflation.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 20:21 | 2735928 Klaus Daimler
Klaus Daimler's picture

Probably depends on the country. 

In Iceland, literally everything (that I ran into anyway I'm a staid old man) could be purchased with plastic.

In the hinterlands of old Prussia, it may be different.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:24 | 2735447 Matt
Matt's picture

The top line clearly states "submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog" while the front page summary version starts off with "Simon Black recounts a recent experience ..." so how did you make it two sentences before you figured it out?

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:33 | 2735470 wandstrasse
wandstrasse's picture

electronic payment in Europe is mostly done with Maestro cards. Every bank account owner gets a Maestro card and vendors pay a bit less transaction fee. I was car-travelling in Italy recently. Did not try to pay with Credit Card, but Maestro Card was no problem. Record on the autostrada (highway) was 1.91 for 1l gasoleo (Diesel fuel). This is a slow-motion collapse. Like a movie with a space of 10 minutes between each frame.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:48 | 2735870 noses
noses's picture

Maestro cards are mostly debit cards - it usually takes less than 15 seconds for the money to leave your account. So they're not a real risk. American Express?  Now that's quite another part of hell for the fool accepting them.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:07 | 2735386 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture


If you for example have 100% cash transactions (for example) you are allowed the option (legal or not) to report whatever you want to the taxing authority. A lot of business operate on cash only transactions (buy a pretzel from a street vendor in NYC with a credit card and I'm sure you'll get the same response as Simon Black did) Some of those vendors in NYC make six figures in sales and are willing to shoot each other for good locations as happened recently outside Yankee Stadium.

I think it's disingenuous to suggest that some merchants preferring cash vs. credit suggests this is caused by banking weakness. I could be wrong of course, but I think tax evasion is a more likely culprit.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:14 | 2735413 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

Yes you are right it is disingenuous


And so is this: "In the early days of the post-Lehman financial crisis, precious metals prices were tanking. At least, on paper." Ridiculous to suggest the physical price didn't fall. Utter lie.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:27 | 2735455 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

He didn't suggest that the physical price didn't fall, he suggested that they didn't TANK. The physical prices fell, but not by nearly as much as the paper prices. I distinctly remember paying $16/oz for junk silver during that time frame, and the paper silver price was substantially below that.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:39 | 2735478 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Well you'd be a terrible asset manager.

I distinctly remember paying $16/oz for junk silver during that time frame, and the paper silver price was substantially below that.

Why wouldn't you buy a silver contract and take physical delivery? You could have purchased for much lower. Even Sprott uses futures and he's the PM investor's demigod.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:43 | 2735500 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Ehrm, sorry, but I didn't have the financial capacity to purchase a 5000oz contract at the time.

Plus, I didn't want good-delivery bars anyhow. I prefer the junk-silver form factor, for it's, um, transactionally convenient size.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:09 | 2735536 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Ehrm, 1 silver futures contract is 100 troy ounces, not 5,000 ounces.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:44 | 2735684 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

Another fucking idiot that doesn't know what he's talking about spouting off nonsense.  Gold contracts are 100 oz., not silver.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:10 | 2735736 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

I did miss a 0 when typing, and I will cop to that; it is 1000, not 100.

Product Symbol XSN, Clearing: 6Q

Venue CME Globex

Contract Size 1,000 troy ounces

And you can fuck yourself for confronting me like pussy ass little bitch.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:23 | 2735803 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

Bob   thats the CME mini silver.   Comex is 5000

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:41 | 2735847 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

So what?

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 23:57 | 2736246 Likstane
Likstane's picture

So go kick your dog, you miserable piss-bag.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 01:56 | 2736341 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

So are you defending comex or just talking shit?

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 00:30 | 2736276 IrritableBowels
IrritableBowels's picture

forgot the comma, too(l).

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:10 | 2735771 Imminent Crucible
Imminent Crucible's picture

Yes, the standard silver contract is 5000 ounces, and the e-mini CBOT contract is 1,000 ounces. ZH is getting to be depressing. There are as many ignorant people spouting off in here as on the Outside. What's the point of being Inside if you're exposed to the same lazy dingbattery? Gimme Shelter.

It's time for a purge; one cretinous post and you're on probation. Two, you're gone.

And another thing. I notice it's really popular to take a dump on "Simon Black" around here. I suspect it's because he's richer than the dumpers. Big deal, so what? He's way richer than I am, too. His article makes perfect sense: Don't depend on the credit system, it's rigged and it's doomed. We're headed for Class 5 rapids, so be prepared. Keep cash on hand. It's just a reminder, folks. Reminders are useful because PEOPLE FORGET SO EASILY. If you don't like to hear it from Simon Black, hear it from Fernando Aguirre, who lived through the Argentine currency and government collapses. When the SHTF, cash is king.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:38 | 2735839 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

A really cheap bastard richer than you... now we get down and dirty...

Rich fantasy, yes ,traveling in American Express Wonderland
without local cash.

Backpackers on probation.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 20:00 | 2735888 Imminent Crucible
Imminent Crucible's picture

...a really cheap bastard richer than me....Okay, so where's the problem?

BTW, the guy that said dollars aren't accepted in Mexico....duh. I've driven many thousands of miles around Mexico, from Tijuana and Tecate to Cabo, from La Paz over to Los Mochis, down to San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo, east to Merida and Progreso, and never had any problem with U.S. dollars.

Less than a dollar, they do have a problem with U.S. change. They don't know what to make of dimes and quarters, but otherwise.........

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 20:41 | 2735954 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

Got you , backpacker :-)

Never mind, keep traveling, as long as it lasts.

This site is not about king or cash, but does not
implicitly endorse certain voting machinations nor
electronic buying rights either.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:48 | 2735863 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

You're a whiny little bitch.

All your comment was, was a big cry fest. Cry in your pillow or in your beer but stop being a little cry baby bitch.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:54 | 2735880 Imminent Crucible
Imminent Crucible's picture

No, my comment was factual:

Fact 1. You don't know what you're talking about.

Fact 2. You're a pussy. You don't even have what it takes to be a little bitch.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 20:05 | 2735899 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

#1. I know what I'm talking about.

#2. That's a double negative. So thanks.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:40 | 2735486 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

This is not accurate. You are confusing rising bid/offer spreads for price divergence.


Physical fell almost as much as paper.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:49 | 2735518 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Don't tell me what I actually DID, bitch. I shopped around and that was the best price available for junk silver, so I bought it at the price it was offered. It was simply NOT AVAILABLE at the bullshit "paper" price, and my dealer (who I had been doing business with for years) assured me that he was having trouble keeping it on hand even at that price. He said he would cheerfully buy junk silver at $14/oz if I knew anyone who had any to sell. Which was still substantially above the paper "price".

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:11 | 2735563 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

You got jacked at some backyard junk silver trade and that proves that physical metals prices diverged greatly from paper?




"my dealer promised he would buy back junk silver at above market prices CHEERFULLY.. herp derp derpy derpy herp!"

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:16 | 2735599 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

A sucker is born every second.

P.T Barnum

Sun, 09/02/2012 - 03:43 | 2755940 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

Must be inflation. I remember when a sucker was born every minute.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:55 | 2735730 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Uh Yeah. You're an idiot. Try getting out of your mother's basement once in a while.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 08:01 | 2736570 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

The movement of price from the high of 20 in march to 9 in december could be described as tanking, although the recovery was pretty quick as well. However, the movement from october to december was much more muted. 

This type of analysis would require a comparison against dollar value- which REALLY tanked, ask all those home owners, which if done, would show that PM's protected value in this downturn. 

Talk about disingenious...

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:31 | 2735464 cxl9
cxl9's picture

I think tax evasion is a more likely culprit.

In general, I would agree with this. In fact, traditionally this is how many small businesses could compete with larger rivals -- deal strictly in cash, underreport earnings, reduce the tax bill, help offset the ruinous regulatory compliance costs that big companies are better able to absorb. However, in the case of a petrol station, the tax is assessed per-litre, so presumably it would be due regardless of whether the customer paid cash or credit. If the station sells x litres of petrol, then it owes x * tax. So I don't see how cash-only helps with tax evasion here. Claim losses due to theft? Roll the meter backward? Maybe. 

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:51 | 2735516 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Yes it's taxed by liter. But if you say you're selling it for x and you're really selling it for 2x than it would be reflected in your gross *income*

In other words, you tell the government you only made .10 euro's per liter when in fact you were charging .30 euro's per liter (or whatever, make up your own numbers). With cash transactions you have the luxury of ambiguity.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:02 | 2735387 Bam_Man
Bam_Man's picture

Travelling in France this past June, they no longer accepted US credit cards for payment on the Autoroute. Had to pay tolls in cash for the first time after many years of using only the credit card. Hmmmm.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:20 | 2735410 smiler03
smiler03's picture

Won't accept US credit cards?

If it's a Visa card or a Mastercard or an Amex card it should be accepted everywhere. Maybe it had expired.

Here you go, I might have found out your problem. It could be because US banks are behind the rest of the world regarding card security.,2817,2399772,00.asp

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:23 | 2735442 Irelevant
Irelevant's picture

I went to a Ikea store in Leipzing recently and they didnt accept Mastercard and Visa. Could be an isolated incident, however alot of stores in DE dont accept visa and MC.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:23 | 2735444 Umh
Umh's picture

They don't like the primitive security on most american credit cards.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:29 | 2735461 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Yes, although in my experience this is limited to vending machines. Try buying a train ticket from a ticket machine in Europe with a US credit card. If it doesn't have the security chip, it won't work. Most US credit cards don't have the chip.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:59 | 2735549 Ignorance is bliss
Ignorance is bliss's picture

American CC companies think the silver metal in each chip will be worth more then the actual fraud committed. The Europeans obviously suck at math.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:27 | 2735632 Debugas
Debugas's picture

some countries in europe (government mandated) no longer accept old ETF (magnetic stripe) cards because of their week security and require all cards to use EMV technology (cards with chip where you enter PIN code)

i did not know america is so much behind in tech

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:21 | 2735616 mccoyspace
mccoyspace's picture

Just back from Berlin. The automatic ticket machines for both the subway and the train wouldn't accept my US credit cards. Worked at restaurants tho.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:02 | 2735389 ag3nt0rang3
ag3nt0rang3's picture

No silver rounds Simon?  Better than cash and zero counter party risk. Get with it man.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:10 | 2735400 Marco
Marco's picture

Debit cards are king in the EU ... credit card rules only allow you to give a discount on cash payments, but not for debit cards. Why the hell would they want to accept credit cards? Their margins are razer thin, they'd lose money on you.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 16:37 | 2737542 DosZap
DosZap's picture


Trust me, the 2-6% charged to vendors that take CC Cards are not losing a dime, they include it in the price of their goods(hidden from buyer's), or outright tell you YOU will be paying the banks surcharge for CC purchases.

Here,(maybe in other states as well), we have a back to school TAX free(sales tax) weekend for tons of items for students needs, etc.

In our state the rate is 8.25%, +/- depending on county you live, the Dept stores use that weekend to BUMP their prices up 2-4% over usual to make & steal part of the state gubs gift to the parents, just enough to show they are still getting it for reality not getting the full 8.25%.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:12 | 2735407 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

Reminds me of my recent trip to Nova Scotia this summer. Not one gas station took my card at the pump. Some wouldn't take any one of my cards at the register either (BankofAmerica-Visa Signature, USbank run of the mill Visa, Discovercard). No bad credit on my end, thankfully I do carry a decent amount of cash and was able to get Canadien $ from bank machines. I got by OK. But, it was VERY annoying. Apparantly, cards up north have some type of antifraud chip that we don't have- at least in the Cincinnati area. Even Costco (Costco!) wouldn't take my card since I was from outside of Canada. Honest to God, the cashier pointed to an ATM in their entry and said I could get cash there. No thanks, I pulled out my wad of cash and paid the old fashioned way. I pay a premium to BOA for the stupid signature visa for it to "be available worldwide". What a joke. These places assume that they are gonna get scammed (either by the bank or the customer) and just make it tough for travelers.This is not as unusual as one would think, but, it is a pain in the ass.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:31 | 2735645 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

Not having the chip is a great form of capital controls.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:31 | 2735646 Debugas
Debugas's picture

in EU some countries require all cards transaction to be EMV secure (means your are required to enter PIN code to confirm the transaction which means your cards must have a chip)

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 16:53 | 2737570 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Forget the Debit Cards, and use a ATM Card.

I  use an ATM card at Costco etc, and punch debit,enter PIN and it works 100% of the time.Same as Debit, or Cash, except safer.

Pay mostly cash for all else,except online purchases.

It can be used as either a Debit,Credit, or an ATM card,just answer the question the way the machines or vendors ask, as it requires a PIN, and cannot be emptied like a Debit account can be.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 16:41 | 2737551 DosZap
DosZap's picture


Don't know about your states COSTCO's,but in Texas, they take cash, or Debit, or their OWN Amex approved cards.

Forget using any other way to pay.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:15 | 2735415 hannah
hannah's picture

i have tried to buy a couple of items and the seller would only take a credit card....go figure.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:17 | 2735420 magpie
magpie's picture

German Aldi in the USA doesn't accept credit cards either, i have heard.

Whatever happens to the EU, it will make Jugoslavia and Syria look like a picnic.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:18 | 2735422 Likstane
Likstane's picture

I experienced the same treatment using my super-platinum plus AE card while relaxing on my camel caravan in Timbuktu.  I was traveling from Victoria Falls after inspecting the new Palladium mining district on my way to invest extra capital in Algiers commercial real estate.  Most of you peons sitting at home playing Xbox and reading ZH have no idea how difficult traveling the world over while managing to send off another twitter about the quality of Brie in Budapest really is.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:18 | 2735425 Rainman
Rainman's picture

I pay cash all the time. It is an honor and a duty to pencil dick the banksters out of every nickel I can.

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 16:29 | 2737528 Fractal Parasite
Fractal Parasite's picture

Good man.

I cash out my bank balance at every opportunity.

If I can't lever up my own money I'll be damned if I'm letting them do it.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:22 | 2735440 silverserfer
silverserfer's picture

paying in cash can usualy get you a discount if you ASK as CC fees are usualy priced into the pricetag. You have nothing to lose by just asking "i have my CC but how much of a discount for CASH?" it wont work at large retailers but if your at a small business it will work frequently.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:27 | 2735453 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

I had the cash refund happen when I purchased takeout at the local bbq joint. The guys eyes lit up when I started peeling off bills and said oh, cash? Let me refigure that! First time ever. People are waking up.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:33 | 2735468 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

So you insult the author of the post immediately then go on to agree with him and the premise?

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:54 | 2735531 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

The author trots around europe with nothing but his american express card and his huge ego in tow. how the fuck am i like him in any way??

Sat, 08/25/2012 - 01:06 | 2736311 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

I take it you have no american express card and don't travel europe.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:22 | 2735443 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

Several of the commenters here are right on target and its pretty clear that Sovereign Man Black doesn't know much about Italy. I first spent time in Italy in the early 1960s and, then as now, you paid for everything in cash. In those days there weren't any credit cards, but the offer to pay by check got the same horrified response - cash only please! Didn't matter who - doctor, dentist, landlord, mechanic, merchant - if you insisted on paying in any traceable ( taxable) form, or if you asked for a receipt, your bill could magically double. It isn't about credit card fees at all. It's about 'the system' - especially nowadays when the government is scouring the country for tax evaders, offering all kinds of bounties for snitches, stationing cash-sniffing dogs at the borders, etc. There isn't a business in Italy that doesn't keep two sets of books.

So, world traveler SM, get a grip and get real.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:42 | 2735677 lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

he wasn't born with a silver spoon, mr. black.  he was born with two.  we should be very appreciative of his telling us about how he discovers what goes on in the real world.  he really does want to help us, like elizabeth windsor and ben bernake to name a very diverse few.  and even like mrs. obama - who is starting to enjoy the shopping trips to paris and hong kong that we paid for.


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:31 | 2735456 risk-reward
risk-reward's picture

Ladies and gentlemen.......I don't know Jack (or Black) but I do know that if there is a way to hedge an unlikely event, you should do it.  What are you earning on your savings?  How much would cost you in lost interest to have $10k or so under the mattress?  And, further down the road, how much might a bunch of pre-1965 silver coins be worth IF TSHTF?  Tomorrow might very well NOT be like THAT I can attest.  Protecting against the worst case scenario will help you sleep at night.  Remember, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you don't understand the problem."


Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:35 | 2735473 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

Thank you.  I think that was more to the point.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:43 | 2735502 JohnG
JohnG's picture

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you don't understand the problem."


Huh??  If you can keep your head about you when others panic YOU MIGHT JUST LIVE.  Panic gets you dead.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 17:58 | 2735546 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

+1 for the Rudyard Kipling reference.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 18:39 | 2735668 Pejorative Requiem
Pejorative Requiem's picture

Yeah, except that Kipling was being literal.

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 19:04 | 2735759 DanDaley
DanDaley's picture

"... will help you sleep at night."


1. gold and silver

2. lots of food

3. firearms and ammo

4. antibiotics

5 good red wine and some other shit

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