Chihiro’s father: “Don’t worry, you’ve got Daddy here. He’s got credit cards and cash.”
Chihiro’s father reassures Chihiro with these words early in the film, when the family explores the abandoned theme park. Chihiro’s parents find a food stall and begin eating, even though no one is present to give them permission, to serve them, or to accept their payment for the food. Although Chihiro’s father brazenly asserts that Chihiro shouldn’t worry, Chihiro follows her own instincts and refuses the food. Her instincts, not her father, keep her from being turned into a pig like her parents. Chihiro’s father claims to be her protector, but his greed and thoughtlessness suggest that Chihiro is perhaps even more adult than her parents are. She will eventually save them, not the other way around.
Chihiro’s father’s pride in his credit cards and cash, and his certainty that they can act as a kind of shield, foreshadows the spirit world’s rampant greed. Chihiro’s father thinks wealth can compensate for a lack of respect and good manners and that just because he has the money his hungers should be instantly gratified. Chihiro soon learns that money can’t solve every problem, and she wisely chooses duty over gold while working in the bathhouse. Those who give in to their greed are enslaved by it. In the end, both the food and the gold fail to satisfy.