"Like regular money but more fun!"

Outside Lands has this great new scam going on where you can go "cashless". What this means is you charge your credit card to load, say, $50 onto an account associated with the RFID tag in your wristband. All of the food and drink vendors will let you wave your wristband at the reader to pay that way. And why not set it up to "auto top-up" so you don't find you've run out after you've tried to order? When you're down to $20, it will bill you another $20 and put it on your account.

And at the end of the festival, of course you can get a refund for any remaining cash -- if you ask. For only a $5 service fee.

Holy crap you guys, they are just PRINTING MONEY here! And everybody is falling for it! The vendors are confused when someone pays cash. Cash is rare and weird.

So that first charge, to move money from your CC to this other account, Visa/MC/etc. charge the vendor, Outside Lands for that transaction. Let's say it's $0.30. Of course they're going to pass that along to the customer, and take a taste on top. I'd be shocked if the total fee is less than $2. Probably it's up in the ATM-or-TicketBastard range, $3.50 to $5. And each "auto top-up" will incur another transaction charge. So now they've already charged you like four times, because you underestimated how much you drink and how expensive the drinks are.

And the system guarantees that almost everybody has $21 or more left in the account at the end, of which they can only get back $16. Most people, if they only had $7 in the account, aren't going to bother paying $5 to get $2 back, so there's a "groundscore" effect here too. They get to just keep all that leftover cash.

Currently there are only a few alcoves here that are proudly "cash free", so you can get by without buying Itchy & Scratchy Money. But I'm gonna go out on a limb here and bet this is going to expand a lot next year. Probably the VIP areas will be cashless first, and then the entire event.

And the "convenience" you get in exchange for all these added expenses is... you don't have to use an ATM? Wat?

I always appreciate a scam that is well executed. And this is genius.

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Nature finds a way.

I saw a girl get out her 12oz tube of sunscreen and take a shot from it. Those tubes don't unscrew, so it must have been tricky getting the leftover sunscreen out before putting the alcohol in. On the other hand, if you filled it with Malibu, would you be able to tell? Hey, maybe the recipe for Malibu is vodka "cask aged" in sunscreen bottles.

Nothing will beat the time a couple years ago, though, when these guys were passing around several boxed-wine bags - the big 2L or 3L ones. I asked them how they managed to smuggle those in and they said, easy: we just came to the park a couple days before they put up the fences, and buried them in the woods!

Drunkenness favors the prepared.

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