Queueing. And debiting.

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Saturday started off well with breakfast at the Insomniac Capriform cafe. It was excellent even though I sort of made fun of the cook’s hat.  After breakfast and a short walk it was time for errands. Because that’s sort of what Saturdays are for.

The first errand involved groceries: lunch for the week, stuff like that; the exact details aren’t important. The only relevant thing was that there wasn’t much so it was off to the express line. That’s where we hit the first snag of the day: someone was paying with debit and everything ground to a halt.

I hate debit.

Well, I hate lots of things — some people say that I hate everything. But debit cards do drive me nuts. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, bankers want you to use them; that alone makes me suspicious. I mean, no one likes bankers. Everyone (except bankers) knows that. And if they want something it must be good for them and what’s good for them is often bad for everyone else. I know it makes everything a little more expensive, but I have this nagging feeling that there must be something else. There’s always something else.

Secondly, the technology of debit cards is a lot of things…..

including slow.

You’re behind someone at the supermarket and they’re trying to pay with debit. They swipe the card. Nothing happens. The cashier looks resigned and distracted at the same time and says something helpful like “Try it the other way around.” Trouble is, there are three other ways.  Inevitably (especially if I’m in a hurry) they try both wrong ones first.

And then starts the Dance of the PIN.

And god help us all if it’s a chip card.

But back to the supermarket. There were four people in front of us in the express line: a girl with a gerbera, an aging hippy with beef stew and a guy in a hat with barbecuables. (Except, it being January and all, he probably wasn’t going to barbecue them.) And someone so innocuous, so milquetoast, that I don’t even remember him. Or even if it was a him — it might have been Wendy Whitebread for all I can remember. First up was the guy in the hat. Debit. While he was staring at the machine, I might have seen a barbarian army massing in the parking lot to celebrate the seasons changing.

Well, maybe not, but it took a long time.

Next was Wendy. Debit again. There was time for her bread to rise, time for her to bake it, time for her and her family to eat it. Comparatively, the hippy was fairly quick — he actually had his card ready and got it right first time so we only had to wait for the machine to call The Bank and approve the transaction. Ditto for gerbera girl.

There were, of course, more errands which meant more lineups. Chard? One person in front…using debit. Slowly. Deceased icthyoids? Two people — miracle of miracles, only one using debit. Today I went out to get butter and milk (and buttermilk): one person. Using debit and splitting his/her order up into two payments so it would take longer.

Somewhere a banker is laughing at me.

The Author

Rose Glace is the pseudonym of nobody important.


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