SWITCH BACK: Fair Won’t Use ‘Cashless’ System

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After a major outcry from fairgoers, the Iowa State Fair now says it will not implement a cashless payment system at the 2014 fair.

We brought you the story first on Tuesday, after learning state fair organizers planned to make changes. The new system would have required patrons to purchase tickets in increments of 50 cents to be redeemed for food, beverages and attractions.

"We`re happy that the customers of the state fair, which are our customers as well for the craft beer tent, seem to be happy about that decision,” says Fair Vendor Scott Carlson.

Carlson runs Tap This Concession, a 48-tap craft and micro beer tent dedicated to Iowa made beers.

He says they already do a ticket system so either way was fine with him.

“We do tickets at the Iowa State Fair for our beer too so we understand that system, but obviously there was an uproar about cash to tickets and we were happy the fair made a decision to make the customers happy in the end,” says Carlson.

However, not everyone agrees.

“My thoughts that it would probably make our day easier,” says Fair Vendor Joni Bell.

Bell is in her 4th year of running The Rib Shack.

She was looking forward to a ticket system, saying it eliminates the need to have correct change.
“Of course on your busiest time you’re out of ones, someone`s got to go to the bank.  It`s just a short jaunt across the park but it`s still losing that one person running a window for you,” says Bell.

But Governor Terry Branstad says he thinks the board made the right decision.

“I think they listened to their constituents the people that go to the state fair.  There were people that didn`t like this, they want to be able to have the opportunity to use cash to pay for things at the fair and not stand in two lines, so I think they made a good decision,” says Gov. Branstad.

Even though the fair will back to cash, it appears the board is keeping their options open in a statement they said, “They will continue to investigate future implementation of a more progressive system that will eliminate fairgoers` concerns of the inconvenience of paper tickets and long lines, improve the concessionaires` reporting system and ccommodate the fair`s infrastructure.”

More than a thousand comments were posted about the initial change on our Facebook page, most of them negative.


    • Troy Hendrickson

      Hardly, the state fair is for the people of Iowa, the board serves the people of Iowa, they were morally and ethically bound to seek the publics input prior to making a move like this. If you don’t understand such things, I hope you don’t vote.

  • Rebecca Hergert

    I would suggest debit cards/cash cards.

    The State of Iowa needs to view what other state’s are doing & keep-up with the times here!!

    I just see in the future where paper bills/coins will no longer exist!!!

  • Kenny

    I hope all of the people in an uproar about the ticket system for food are not the same people who plan their whole fair around going to the Bud Tent on the first Friday night. Doesn’t the Bud Tent use their own ticket system? They seem to be busy and I never hear anyone whine about it.

    • Dawn W.

      Not having been to the Bud tent, I’m only guessing, but perhaps people buy one ticket per drink… i.e. it’s $5 to $8 a ticket? It’s much easier to guess how many tickets you might want in that circumstance than to have to carry around multiple tickets not knowing for sure what you’re going to buy or how many tickets you may need.

  • Michael

    I guess I wont be going back to the Rib Shack even though I really liked it. If the Owner Joni Bell of the Rib Shack Is more worried about how they get inconvenienced losing one person every now and then to run and get one dollar bills VS. 1 million people having to stand in line and buy .50 cent tickets to eat at her place.Then maybe if Joni Bell and the Rib Shack have less business they shouldn’t have to worry.

  • Tiffany

    Michael, I understand your point, but I do not believe you are being fair to Joni. People are upset about the ticket system, because of the inconvenience it would cause them (standing in line with a family of 4 just to go stand in another line, having to know how many tickets you need), and I totally understand that! I am that kind of person that just wants to be able to go where I want to eat, when I want, and not have to worry about the number of tickets it takes.

    But, she, as well as other vendors, are entitled to their opinion as well. A lot of vendors liked the idea of having tickets for this reason, and they are entitled to have that opinion. People always like the most convenient path, which for vendors may have been tickets.

    • Michael

      I agree Tiffany, I did not tell anyone else not to go to the Rib Shack. I stated that I would not be going. I agree everyone gets to have their opinion. Thousands of people would have been put off if this went through. Joni was worried about her one person. By the way I am a Vendor at the Iowa State Fair for over 30 years. Joni has been there maybe 3. Put in your time before you start to whine.

  • Teresa Hendricks

    I have been working at a stand for the years. …I believe that it would be a major inconvenience for our customers to have to purchase meals this way… and that the stand would take a negative hit ..I understand that change can be good…however I am having trouble seeing the good that would come from this proposed change… it will hit the vendors hard…

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