When I decided to conduct my Bitcoin experiment this week, one of the first things I did was take a look at the calendar to see if there was anything that would absolutely prohibit my ability to do this.
Immediately one date jumped out at me – February 14, Valentine’s Day.
Now in the six years we’ve been dating, my girlfriend Meg and I have never taken Valentine’s Day too seriously. Probably because a.) that’s just not our style and b.) our anniversary is on February 12 (yes, I also noticed that date when I looked at the calendar).
Therefore, I didn’t think conducting the experiment this week would be too much of a problem. Meg is easygoing when it comes to celebrations, and would have been content to sit home with me, watch some television and order something from Foodler tonight to mark our Valentiniversary.
But I figured if I’m going to live a week on Bitcoin – why not try going on a date? And that’s exactly what we intend to do tonight.
In fact, my day of Bitcoin romance has already started. I’ve previously arranged to send Meg some flowers from CheapFlowers.com. The name is rather unfortunate, but it’s the only flower service I could find that accepted Bitcoin. Plus they assure me “The name ‘Cheapflowers.com’ will not be seen by the recipient or be shown on your credit card bill.”
As a quick aside, I have noticed that for industries which now rely on online comparison shopping portals, you can usually find one such portal that accepts Bitcoin. The flower industry has CheapFlowers, delivery restaurants have Foodler, hotel/flights have CheapAir.com (not sure if there’s any connection to CheapFlowers).
Anyhow, I’ll be meeting Meg at her workplace in Manhattan (getting there using my Bitcoin-purchased Metrocard), where we will then be heading to the movies. I was hoping one of the dozens of theaters in New York would accept Bitcoin, but found no such place. That being the case, I opted to use Gyft again and got myself an AMC gift card. We’ll be seeing The Lego Movie, which is apparently very good. It’s also suppose to be an interesting critique of consumerist culture, to the point that Fox Business deemed it anti-capitalist, but I’ll save a review for the Arts & Culture blog.
Finally we’ll be dining at Aperitivo in Park Slope, Brooklyn – one of the few restaurants in New York that accepts Bitcoin. Initially, my search for a restaurant led me to the Hudson Eatery in Manhattan, but when I called to make a reservation, the server informed me that they no longer accepted Bitcoin. She wasn’t sure why, but I assume it was because of the currency’s volatility. This experience also shows that before patronizing a Bitcoin merchant, one should always double check that they are still accepting the currency. The information on Reddit and Bitcoin message boards is never 100% accurate, and many businesses have already given up on the experiment.
My search eventually turned up Aperitivo, which was a welcome surprise as it’s fairly close to my apartment. When I called to make a reservation the manager/owner confirmed that they do accept Bitcoin, and seemed very excited that I would be using it.
For those who are wondering — outside of curiosity and offering customers another way to pay, the main reason some merchants are willing to embrace Bitcoin is the absence of transaction fees. Anyone who has ever run a small business can tell you that credit card fees can really add up.
The manager of Aperitivo told me I should let my servers know I’d be paying in Bitcoin before we sit down, because they have to contact him if he’s not at the restaurant. As the owner of the Bitcoin wallet, he’s the only one who can confirm if my payment has been made, so he has to make sure he’s available at the end of the meal.
I’m excited to see how the whole process works, and I’ll report back in my recap post on Monday. For now you’ll have to excuse me – I have to go get ready for my date.
Other Posts in the Bitcoin Series:
Jumping Into the Bitcoin Bubble
The Bitcoin Diaries Day 1: On Obtaining Bitcoin
The Bitcoin Diaries Day 2: You Will Not Starve on Bitcoin
The Bitcoin Diaries Day 3: Getting from A to BTC
The Bitcoin Diaries Day 4: What Do You Do For Recreation?