By Danny Tyree
I knew it wasn’t just me!
In recent weeks I’ve overheard multiple shoppers gripe about navigating the wildly dissimilar credit card setups at different establishments.
Credit card machines have gotten just as confusing as the clothing and footwear business, where arrogant designers create fashions with sizes that have no relation to other designers’ sizes. (“Do you want the size zero that is suitable for supermodels or the size zero that substitutes for a sofa cover?”)
I’m not in favor of price-fixing, but we could use some COLLUSION to get credit card reader hardware and software consistent.
Some stores compel you to scrawl a signature that would baffle a doctor. (“Teacher says, every time a customer scrawls his name, an angel gets an unsolicited prescription for Lipitor.”)
Others want you to verify the total in addition to signing. Too bad we don’t have a similar choice in approving the federal deficit. (“How much??? That ain’t right, y’all!”)
And some stores trust you implicitly, waiving the need for your John Hancock. (“While you’re at it, here’s my home wi-fi password, sir.”)
Some stores are laid back, while others demand, “Remove card QUICKLY!” I’m not sure if moving too slowly causes a rip in the space-time continuum or transfers your funds to a Nigerian dictator’s widow’s account or what, but they sure make it sound urgent.
Some clerks are more forgiving than others as you try to adapt to their peculiar needs.
Too many stores have a philosophy of “The customer is always right - unless the dumb (expletive deleted) is trying to swipe the card instead of inserting the chip! Sheesh!”
Ah, yes, the chip. I hate standing there with a foolish grin on my face only to discover the card isn’t placed snugly enough. I suspect this is a scam to force shoppers to buy a checkout lane copy of “Cosmopolitan” and figure out how to give the credit card reader a satisfying experience.
Even if you get with the program on chips, the business you patronize may not have a chip reader installed yet. A distressing number of establishments still have a faded little sign promising, “We’ll soon be able to read chips.” I would be more hopeful, but the signs are usually accompanied by Post-It notes of approximately the same age promising either “Kilroy was here” or “D. Boone killed a bar near here.”
Even though most clerks have internalized the routine, I still encounter credit card readers that prompt me to “Ask cashier to press the button.” What’s other duties will the corporate office dump on the consumer? (“Ask cashier to cease all Public Displays of Affection with his freaky girlfriend.”)
Some transactions are lightning-fast, while others take forever, leaving you to make awkward chitchat with the clerk. “Looks like rain.” “That’s what the forecaster said.” “Wonder if it was raining when D. Boone killed that bar?”
Some outlets must be using the Pony Express instead of the internet, and the rider is having a hard time getting dressed. (“Dang! They claimed these britches are size 36, but all I can do is blow my nose with ‘em.”)
Or maybe the credit card reader is saying, “Read it? Nah, I’ll wait until the movie comes out.”
It’s aggravating, but I’ll grudgingly admit we’re better off with the convenience of cards...
“Data breach on aisle 7!”