Home > Olympics > Going to the Olympics? Better bring cash (or Visa)!

Going to the Olympics? Better bring cash (or Visa)!

February 11th, 2010 Andrew Martens

One of my coworkers recently went down to the Official 2010 Olympic Superstore at HBC.  After selecting a lovely garment that he thought would display his Olympic spirit, he waited in line and finally arrived at the counter.  ”Sorry, we don’t take MasterCard,” was the cashier’s helpful response.  When he proffered his Interac card, their response was, “We only take Visa, or cash.”  In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is the result of Visa being the “official payment card of the 2010 Winter Olympics.”  Given that my hapless coworker didn’t have a bundle of cash in his pocket to buy one of their overpriced sweaters, he decided that going sweater-less would be a better reflection of his Olympic spirit.

Anyone coming from out of town and expecting to buy merchandise or tickets from official Olympic stores and venues will have the ‘choice’ of using a Visa as their payment card – or going with cash.  I assume that this will apply to concessions at the venues as well, so make sure you’re prepared ahead of time if you want to buy the $7 fries.  If you have neither, you might not be entirely out of luck.  With RBC being a National Sponsor of the 2010 Games, I would expect to see plenty of their wonderful ATMs there, with plenty of wonderful transaction fees for non-RBC members.

I’m sorry, that sarcasm is unwarranted.  RBC’s ATMs actually are quite good, with high-quality screens and card protectors that seem well-designed to prevent skimmers.

Olympia Pizza at 998 Denman; Image credit Kim Ho, ImOnlyHereForTheFood.com

This is just another example of the nonsense brought to you by Olympic sponsorship dollars;  dollars which have brought you such controversies as McDonald’s being the only place that can serve ‘burgers’, and VANOC going after a pizzeria that has been operating since 1993.  I want to enjoy these Olympics, I really do!  I even understand that VANOC is just protecting their sponsors, but this anti-consumer behaviour threatens to cast the whole thing in a negative light.  We’ll just have to wait and see if this is a problem for visitors to our fair city.

Hooray for Vancouver?

Note : everything on this site is my own personal opinion and does not represent my employer.

  • Share/Bookmark
  1. February 16th, 2010 at 16:31 | #1

    Last summer at the Vancouver Airport, I stopped at the 2010 Olympics store to get something for my kids. At the till, they only took Visa and cash. I complained. They told me the number of people who ended up walking out of the store unable to buy something because of the “Visa” rule was in the hundreds per day, but that there was nothing they could do. Other than point me to the ATM just outside the store. So I head to the ATM, but refused to use it when I realized it charges blackmail level “convenience” fees, in addition to the fees my own bank would charge me.

    Ironically, just outside this Visa-only store was a MasterCard booth where they were signing people up for new cards. So much for Visa. I’m 100% certain Visa has had much more negative press over their backwards decisions than positive press for being a corporate sponsor.

Comments are closed.