Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Too dumb to shop


This is not an encouraging development.

I tried to buy something at a local store yesterday. Like many others, they have launched a self service checkout isle. The idea is that you walk up with your items, scan them yourself, bag them yourself, pay, and leave.

As someone who does not find joy in retail interaction, this sounds ideal.

And it was, insofar as it went. Right up until I tried to give them some money. According to the diagram being displayed on the instruction screen, I was supposed to swipe the debit card on the keypad and then use the pad to enter my PIN.

So I did. Then I stared blankly at the screen while nothing happened. And then a twelve year old customer service girl came up to show me that it isn't that card reader (indicating the keypad) it's this card reader. (indicating one mounted on the side of the screen.) Barely surpressing a smirk. (Good job, Grandpa.)

So I paid and left with what minor dignity I could muster. I decided to grab dinner at the Harvey's in the same building. When I handed the cashier the debit card, she gave me the keypad. Then she asked for the card back because she spaced out and forgot to complete the transaction, and needed to start over.

I call it a draw.

I seriously don't know what I'm doing. I never know if the answer to 'Do you want your debit receipt?' Do I need it? Do I not? No matter where I'm shopping, I guess wrong. If I hand the cashier the debit card to swipe, they hand it back and indicate I'm to swipe it on the keypad. If I hang on to it, they need to swipe it on their register. I can't win.

Is this it for me? Do I seriously top out at paper money I can hold? I used to be able to do this stuff.


"The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom."
-H. L. Mencken

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