I don't think you are getting the point. The S/S cards work both to the benefit of the cruise line AND the passenger.
S/S cards are the most efficient way to process many, many drink orders. A gazillion years ago, I was a flight attendant. There was always some smart guy who would hand me a $50 for a $2 drink (it WAS a long time ago) and expect me to make change. If I didn't have the change in my "bank" which was the money from other passengers, I had to return his money and he got his drink for free. And, unless I could replace the "free" drink out of First Class Liqour, it came out of MY pocket.
I finally got uppity and said to people like that, "Sorry, but we can't make change for anything larger than a $5." It finally became corporate policy.
Asking servers who are already extremely busy to deal with making change is, to me, out of the question. There is the further problem that not everyone might be using US currency. People other than Americans DO cruise. It is completely unreasonable to expect bar servers to be up to date with exchange rates, etc. Can you reasonably expect someone from another country to know the difference between a US dollar, a Candian dollar, or an EC dollar? I don't think so.
While I appreciate your rant, I think you are going to have to go with the flow.
The casino question is something entirely different.
Following on, the idea of people using their S/S card to arm their safes is ignorance beyond belief. I use my "frequent eater" card from the local supermarket for safes that require cards. I far prefer a PIN. I agree that cabin numbers should NOT be put on the S/S cards. Bad security risk.
So, calm yourself and think about the larger implications.
With the Sail and Spend card you have an absolute bring-down of what you spent and what you didn't. With cash all you know is that it's not there any longer.
pamda -- CM First-Time Cruisers Editor