So I’m growing increasingly concerned with a current trend I’m seeing at the supermarket. It’s the electronic signature pad that I have to sign when I pay with my credit card. And somehow, its supposed to make me feel safer. I’m still a little confused about how exactly this works, because as anyone who’s ever used an electronic signature pad can attest, they do not reproduce well.
For instance, lets suppose this is my real signature (which actually it isn’t because I’m not that stupid, but for the sake of argument…
Now, this is what the same signature would look like on an electronic signature pad:
Yeah. Exactly. And the best part about this is that I use it in the following ways: when i’m picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy (drug addicts), when i’m at the grocery store (munchie stoners), when i’m signing for packages (mad bombers?). And so far, my signature has never ever been rejected. Never. Even though whenever I’m doing something with my credit card the little signature pad beeps a couple of times going “waiting for approval” as though it’s actually getting approval for anything when we all know it isn’t. What the electronic signature pad is actually doing is trying not to look drunk. Like, you know how drunk people will try not to act drunk by trying to walk very purposefully? I know how this goes because I’ve been on both sides of the equations. When I’m drunk I’ll be thinking to myself “Wow. I’m doing really good. I’m totally fooling everyone!” and I’ve also been the person watching the drunk person walking and going “oh my god…that guy isn’t fooling anyone.”
Yeah. That’s how the electronic signature pads act when I’m trying to sign them. If they were people, they would definitely be drunk, or stoned, or on meth or something. Which is funny because the only person I’ve every met who I’m pretty sure was on meth was my waitress at the Denny’s in Bozeman, MT. And, no really, this relates, I promise.
So, a bunch of friends went out one night for dinner, and most all of us are a bit paranoid about living in the digital age, so we all have something to the effect of “check ID” written on our credit cards. Without recalling all the details of the evening that perhaps led me to believe our waitress was on meth, let me just recall this singularly awesome event. It came time to pay our bill, and there were about four of us. She apparently was at least capable of ringing us up separately, which was surprising. Then she surprised us again by coming back to the table and asking to see all of our ID’s. So we handed them over. She took looked at my ID, and checked it against my friend Matt’s credit card. And roundabout like that. And then handed my ID back to me with Matt’s credit card. Seriously. It was rad.
So, I think that the electronic signature pad (man, I’ve said that phrase a lot) is kind of like the meth waitress at Denny’s in Montana. It has the right idea, and maybe even good intentions, but somewhere along the lines, something goes horribly wrong.
That, in and of itself would be amusing enough. But the best part is that the credit cards are doing it all for my own protection. So they say. But I have to wonder. Especially since my credit card has a 100% fraud protection guarantee. Yeah, you might be thinking that this is actually a good thing. But think about it. The protection guarantees that if my credit card is ever charged without my knowledge or consent, I won’t be held responsible.
Oh really? Well that’s good because judging by the lacksidasicle attitude around here these days the chances of that happening are rather good. That’s like the crackpot doctor in the alley saying “well hey, if anything goes wrong with this discount liposuction, I’ll throw in a free bottox.” And you’re supposed to just think “Oh! That’s great. He’s obviously a really stand-up guy.”
Well hell. I’d rather the credit card company said “we’ll actually give a damn so that you’re never put in a situation where someone can use your credit card fraudulently in the first place and so you don’t have to spend an hour on the phone with customer service working all this out because you’re now afraid to use your credit card, but you really need to because otherwise they’ll be cutting off your power.”
Because really, if all it takes to validate my credit card is an illegible scribble, I’m pretty sure the whole baby is going out with the bathwater.