Electronic forms of payment may be silencing a Clemson University tradition.
Clemson Tigers football fans usually bring stacks of $2 bills stamped with a paw print to big away games, a tradition started to show the economic impact of the South Carolina school's rabid fans. A New York Times story played it up this week.
But with younger people using electronic forms of payments instead of cash, Marshall Pickens, a Park Sterling Bank branch manager, fears that this tradition may be pronounced DOA soon. Most of the customers who request $2 bills at his branch on Old Greenville Highway in Clemson were older, he says.
"The tradition is on the decline, and that's somewhat unfortunate," Pickens says. "Many places don't think about the traveling fans anymore."
The tradition took a second hit this year as well. Fewer of the school's fans traveled to the Orange Bowl in Miami against West Virginia University since it fell on a Wednesday, said Samuel Erwin, the president and chief executive of Palmetto Bank and a Clemson alumnus. (Those who did make the trip were disappointed as Clemson was thumped 70 to 33 in the game.)
Pickens' branch provided about $1,400 worth of $2 bills, much lower than other years, he says. Palmetto branches saw some requests for $2 bills, including one customer who picked up 50, but the bank did not place a special order to meet demand, Erwin says.
Pickens' branch collects the necessary $2 bills for the football season during the year. He said that about 70% of the $2 bills the branch sees already have the paw print. Stamping the money, which is considered defacing the bills, is technically illegal. Because of this, Pickens said his branch doesn't provide a stamp for customers to use.
"We will give them the $2 bills, but what customers do with it, well…" Pickens says with a laugh.