Laughing all the way — Check me out

September 30, 2015

By Pat Detmer

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NEW — 2:41 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

Beginning in October, microchips will be embedded in our credit cards like they are in the rest of the known universe, and instead of swiping them, we will be inserting them into a slot and pulling them back out. In the near future, you still may need to sign your name, but at some point in time that will no longer be necessary.

DetmerColumn 20151000Soon, in fact, your very presence during checkout will be considered an outdated redundancy, and you’ll be vouching for payment via hologram, wherein you will mentally assure the clerk that you’re good for whatever you’ve purchased and will neurotransmit the money owed directly to the bank. And when the drone drops off whatever you’ve bought and flies away, you’ll also be able to use that same neurotransmitting ability to make it explode into a million tiny pieces. I’m really looking forward to that.

The article announcing this news — now over a year old — went on to assure me that banks were “educating their customers on how to use their new cards.” Although I have a horrible memory, I don’t remember a New Credit Card 101 Class being offered by my bank. Your bank may be different, but I doubt it.

I’m certainly OK with not signing my name. I’m so keyboard-based that my cursive has become illegible. And how can they possibly link my scrawl to anything legally binding anyway? When you get a new card, you’re expected to write your name on the back of it, on a two by three inch piece of plastic that was not created with ink receptivity in mind. Does it look anything like my signature? Of course not! And yet clerks will still peer at the illegible smudge as if they’re FBI agents about to crack a fraud ring.

And good riddance to the Tiny Credit Card Signing Podium! I’m grateful that it will no longer be a part of my shopping experience. Using it requires a level of patience that I no longer have, and honestly never did. I struggle with the slanted plastic face of it while gripping a stylus the size of a Shetland Pony foreleg, one that’s inevitably connected to the podium by a twisted wire measuring either three inches or six and a half feet long, and as I struggle, I wistfully think of the old days, when you could sign a flat piece of paper on a flat counter using a decent, unfettered writing instrument.

But soon, we shall simply insert a card, or “dip,” as another news article described it. Dip? Really?

However you do it, somebody, please, just check me out!

You can reach Pat Detmer — who knows full well that this makes her sound like a crotchety old lady, but doesn’t care — through www.patdetmer.com.

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