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Credit card to book a hostel

Early first decade 21st century —

If you have money in Portland Oregon you can get a place to sleep indoors. But if you don't also have a credit card, you might not be able to sleep anywhere good.

I first went to the Northwest Portland International Hostel & Guesthouse on Glisan and 18th Avenue, affiliated with Hosteling International. They had some beds available, and I said I'd like one. Okay, the guy said, we'll need photo I.D. and a credit card.

A credit card... can I pay cash? Yes, you can pay cash, but we need a credit card. There have been too many problems over the years.. risk versus reward of letting people blah blah blah....

What's wrong with this country?

Okay, allow me to break this down.

I went to a *hostel.* A hostel. They would not let me stay there without a credit card. And why? Because too many people over the years had what? stolen a book? Fallen on a table, a la Chris Farley? What horror of damage or theft could make such a draconian measure necessary or preferable?

We're going to need to keep your credit card number "on file."

I have to wonder at what point locking people out of systems is just plain fascist -- based upon the idea that stopping *everybody* from being free to do *any* harm is acceptable because at least then people won't be able to do any harm.