Aug 19, 2008
Have you ever purchased something with a credit card? Odds are that you have.
Then you should be familiar with the little credit card receipts you have to sign with some credit card purchases. They are usually a couple inches wide by a few inches long, printed on thermal paper (invented in Dayton, Ohio, by the way) and a pain in the butt on which to actually write. These slick little papers always want to slide around and ball point pens never want to produce any ink on them. It's a good thing the near ubiquitous digital signing screens have replaced printed paper at all but the smallest of retail shops.
Why? BECAUSE IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO SIGN THESE LITTLE *&%$ RECEIPTS USING ONLY ONE HAND AND WHEN SHOPPING WITH KIDS IT'S AN ALMOST CERTAINTY THAT I WILL ONLY HAVE ONE HAND AVAILABLE AT THE TIME I'M ASKED TO SIGN ONE OF THESE *&%$ THINGS.
Of all the challenges that come with taking any number of kids shopping, this one drives me the craziest. I can deal with doors not being held open when I'm struggling to even make unobstructed forward progress with two baby carriers and a two-year old. I can ignore the stares when a child screaming bloody murder is "disrupting" some other patron's shopping experience. I can smile when I've heard "you've got your hands full" for the thousandth time without ever actually receiving an additional helping hand.
But the one-handed-credit-card-receipt-signing is too much.
It's not that the task itself is frustrating. That doesn't bother me one bit. It's that the CLERKS, who have NOTHING to do until I sign that little paper, just stand there and watch! They wait. They stare. And the second it's signed they snatch it up and say "have a nice day."
Does it not occur to them to move their hand all of six inches forward, extend one finger, and steady the receipt as I attempt to scrawl my name on it? Not exactly a huge undertaking here. We're already standing face-to-face in close proximity -- that be the nature of the modern retail transaction. Is the 1/2 calorie expending of energy too much? Do they just enjoy watching me squirm? Is it just not in the job description? (Smile at the customer: Check. Say please and thank you: Check. Invite customer to come back: Check. Steady receipt while customer signs it: Hmmm. I don't see that anywhere in the manual. Must be above my pay grade.) Whatever the reason for the gross lack of consideration, I find this human experience disgusting.
But to the 1% of you sales clerks out there that actually reach out to their fellow human and hold that little receipt... THANK YOU.
And I'm sorry.
For you will be the collateral damage in my only chance at revenge. Until it expires, I'm only using my old credit card with the magnetic strip that has lost all functionality thereby requiring you, the clerks, to dust off the old manual credit card imprinter that physically imprints my credit card numbers on a special receipt. Yes, I know you barely remember how to use that machine and will likely need to call a manager for assistance and yes, I know it will probably take more than one attempt to get it right and yes, I know those special credit card slips are never conveniently at hand and you may even need to go the office to find some. But boy I like watching you squirm.