Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 11
 
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
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In Acknowledging the Positives of OneCard, Local Merchants Could Save in the Long Term

John Marshall
Proprietor, Main Street Bistro
Heartland OneCard Charter Member

Retire Threadbare Old Glory With Dignity at This Year’s Annual Flag Day Ceremony

RAYMOND WADSWORTH
Chairman, Spirit of Princeton
Spruce Street

Eden Family of Services Chairman Thanks Community for A&B Fund-raiser

ROBERT H. HUMES
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Eden Family of Services


In Acknowledging the Positives of OneCard, Local Merchants Could Save in the Long Term

To the Editor:

There seems to be a lot of misinformation circulating about the recently announced Heartland Payment Systems Community OneCard, and I’d like to share my thoughts on the economics and benefits of accepting and using the card for merchants and the community.

First let me state that this card’s role in life appears to be one of a plastic Robin Hood, taking from one to give to another. Presently, credit card issuing banks take a percentage from each purchase. The Heartland Community OneCard takes a percentage as well, however 100 percent is redirected back into the local community.

Heartland is proposing a 1.5 percent card. In my establishment, American Express accounts for about a third of total charges, resulting in my average rate being 2.25 percent. This means that I can expect to save 33 percent on credit transaction fees with OneCard purchases, while knowing that the 1.5 percent that I pay stays here in Princeton.

I recall a recent concern from a merchant that it is unfair that he must pay $55 per month for a new processing terminal if he doesn’t process with Heartland ($15 if with Heartland). Mathematically, it would take about $7000 in monthly receipts to generate enough OneCard savings to cover the cost of renting a new terminal. Above this amount the vendor would actually save money. What this particular merchant failed to recognize is that if he only breaks even, $105 in redistributed fees would still go to the Library (or other designated non-profit). Restated, at $7,000 or more in OneCard receipts, the equipment is free and a resultant $105 reward goes to the library!

For an existing Heartland merchant such as myself, I would save $50 in fees on this same set of receipts, while assisting Robin Hood in giving $105 to the library. At this rate, if only present Heartland local merchants participated, the library could be the lucky recipient of $209,000! If widespread merchants join in, and cardholders use the card regularly, the library and other non-profits could be on far better footing.

Yet another merchant suggested that this program is discriminatory to those who do not participate. I agree. I also say to this merchant that advertising is discriminatory against those that do not advertise. Consumers are discriminating in their taste, their desire for quality, and many other factors. Each merchant attempts to attract the desired set of consumers that match their set of products using “marketing” techniques. Marketing costs money. What other kind of community-wide value vehicle could one expect to get for the same $55 per month? I suggest that any merchant who chooses not to participate is no different than one who selects to advertise in one form of media versus another.

OneCard holders are empowered. The individual chooses where to shop and what card they wish to use. Two thirds (1%) of the card fees belong to the cardholder. They may choose to direct these funds to the library, any other participating non-profit, or they can keep the cash. If they donate the funds they also enjoys a tax deduction for these amounts.

From the library perspective, I think it is a huge mistake not to embrace such an innovative idea. I understand the “political correctness” of first putting the solution out to bid, but what about first mover advantage? It saddens me to think that this delay on the part of the library may remove it from the keystone position in the minds and wallets of the OneCard carrying population, or worse, allowing an equally deserving organization the opportunity to jump at this unique and prestigious position of “sponsor”.

John Marshall
Proprietor, Main Street Bistro
Heartland OneCard Charter Member

Retire Threadbare Old Glory With Dignity at This Year’s Annual Flag Day Ceremony

To the Editor:

The Spirit of Princeton will conduct the annual flag disposal ceremony a day early this year on Friday, June 13, instead of the actual Flag Day, which actually falls the following day. The event is intended to retire unserviceable flags.

This ceremony creates a particularly dignified and solemn occasion for the retirement of unserviceable flags. According to Flag Rules and Regulations, “when a flag has served its useful purpose, it should be destroyed, preferably by burning. For the individual citizens, this should be done discreetly so the act of destruction is not perceived as a protest of desecration.” If your flag is old, torn, or moth-eaten, let the Spirit of Princeton dispose of it for you.

The flag drop off box is located at Mercer Engine Company #3, 363 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, New Jersey, or, you can bring the flag with you to the June 13 ceremony, which will take place at the Princeton Township Municipal Complex at noon. Everyone is invited to come.

If you have any questions, call (609) 462-2467 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

RAYMOND WADSWORTH
Chairman, Spirit of Princeton
Spruce Street

Eden Family of Services Chairman Thanks Community for A&B Fund-raiser

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Eden Family of Services, I want to thank our generous community who came out to the Alchemist & Barrister on March 4 to help raise over $800 for children and adults with autism. On hand were “celebrity” bartenders, Dr. Tom McCool, president & CEO of Eden and Peter Dawson, owner of Leigh Photo & Imaging and member of the Eden Board of Trustees. Dr. McCool did a fantastic job of making Irish coffee for the packed bar and Mr. Dawson was spectacular at rousing up the crowd and selling 50/50 raffle tickets. Also, a very special thanks to the musical group New Road who donated their time and creative talents to provide entertainment for the evening; and of course the Alchemist & Barrister for hosting this event. A good time was had by all, and once again, thanks to all who made this evening such a success.

ROBERT H. HUMES
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Eden Family of Services

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