Garrett Schlichte

Avoiding Ill-Advised Eggplant Emojis & 14 Other Rules for Using Venmo

Garrett Schlichte
Avoiding Ill-Advised Eggplant Emojis & 14 Other Rules for Using Venmo

Originally published by DC Inno on December 7, 2016

It is a generally accepted truth in America that millennials are single-handedly eroding away the delicate fabric of polite society. First, we came for cereal. As a surprise to no one, if it can’t be consumed while Tweeting, running on a treadmill, or as part of a bottomless brunch situation, we just aren’t interested. Then we came for Home Depot. While many claimed it was due to the drastic number of millennials not buying homes after a devastating recession, those in-the-know understand it was actually a result of our generation’s rejection of the cis-hetero-patriarchal-capitalist culture inherent to the home improvement business.

Now, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, millennials are coming for cash. Not money, per se; we aren’t making any of that. But specifically physical cash. Millennials don’t like it, they never have, and they probably never will. Sure, the U.S. Department of the Treasury attempted to lure us back in 2013 by making paper money more aesthetically pleasing. A rebrand worked for Old Spice, so surely it would work for good ol’ Benjamin. Wrong. They’ve even promised to include a rad woman of color on the $20 bill by 2020. Little do they know, by that time we will exclusively be bartering with locally sourced organic redbor kale and Kylie Jenner Lip Kits.

While we await that great revolution however, millennials are more and more regularly opting for P2P (peer to peer) payments such as Venmo. At the close of October, Time named Venmo one of the 50 best apps of the year. It’s convenient, it’s social and it’s done from our phones, which is obviously crucial. Yet, as with any uncharted territory, there must be an establishment of ground rules to maintain some semblance of order. Here are 15 helpful guidelines to follow in order to avoid being shunned by your fellow millennials:

  1. Be timely. I want to forget about that BOGO margarita work happy hour just as quickly as everyone else, and I certainly don’t want to be reminded of my third round nine days later. Anything past 48 hours is on you, and I will decline the charge.

  2. That being said, don’t wait to be Venmoed. Be assertive. If you don’t receive an expected charge, be an adult and make the payment on your own terms.

  3. Don’t disguise a Venmo charge with a kind gesture. If you’re heading back to the bar, don’t offer to grab someone another PBR and then charge them $5 the next day. First of all, no PBR is $5, and second of all, I’ll walk the four feet myself if that’s the case.

  4. The above includes offers of food to anyone after a night of drinking. Either be the hero who orders a large pizza for everyone, or the villain who keeps it all to themselves. Don’t request $2.88 at 3 a.m. because I fell for your pseudo-benevolence.

  5. Make someone’s day – there’s no better way to assuage someone’s Sunday Scaries than sending a surprise $4 Venmo payment for a latte.

  6. Don’t torture yourself. Yes, we all know you can see your ex’s payment history on Venmo; there’s no need to wonder who they’re splitting the bill for Thai food with.

  7. Get creative. Technically you could say you were requesting money for your utility bill, but why not attempt to convey that message via emoji? The only limit is your imagination. Plus Venmo will even help you out.

  8. Don’t get too creative though – as Venmo’s popularity grows, more and more users are popping up in the timeline. I don’t need my mom to see a $7.69 charge for **eggplant emojis**.

  9. Don’t leave people hanging. There’s a reminder button, but no one wants to be the person who has to use it. If you can’t make the payment right away, be responsible enough to check the next day.

  10. It’s okay to keep it private sometimes. If you’re lending a friend some money, use the privacy settings—not everyone needs to see how nice you are.

  11. Don’t forget tax and tip. If you’re old enough to use Venmo, you’re old enough to understand that a $15 meal doesn’t just cost $15.

  12. Be honest. While it might seem enticing to charge your best friend a couple bucks less than everyone else when splitting the bill, I can guarantee you it will seem infinitely less worth it once everyone else catches on.

  13. Don’t get carried away. It’s easy to forget you’re spending money when you’re out for the night if you don’t ever take out your card. However, you bank account will absolutely feel it the next day.

  14. Make sure you’re Venmoing the right person. There’s likely more than one person with the same name as your friend who just put the entire brunch bill on their card, so make sure you’ve got the username correct. Crafting a post-bottomless mimosas email to Customer Support isn’t how anyone wants to spend their brunch buzz.

  15. If you key your ex-boyfriend’s best friend’s car, don’t make the Venmo payment for the damage public. And definitely don’t say “I’m sorry” as the caption. (Given that this is based on a true story, it may not be applicable to the general public, but should serve as a cautionary tale.)