June 5th 2016

Today I was taking a payment at work (waiter, restaurant) and I asked the customer “Am I okay to use your contactless?” and said “Why? So you can overcharge me without me knowing?”

Hold the fuck up, love.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“The last time someone asked to use the contactless they charged me an extra £2 without me knowing it,” she said.

Hold the fuck up, love.

Firstly, I was offended that she’d think that I were the type to do that. Second, I wondered how she thought I’d do it without her noticing considering that the thing that comes after taking her payment is giving her a card receipt that says how much I charged her.

We’ve only had contactless capabilities on our card machines for a week, and I always ask “Is it okay…” in case, well, in case something like this happens. For me, I prefer for them to use contactless because it’s quicker and saves that awkward “press the green button to confirm the amount and then follow the instructions on screen” line I have to say, and the speed of the connection reduces the amount of time I have to fill with mundane chit chat about the weather. But some people get really funny about it. I’ve learnt not to ask old people because they don’t really know what I mean, bless them. Young people are fine with it because it’s instilled in their existence that everything must be done as quickly as possible and with as much technology, and as little human interaction as possible.

But this lady was a chavvy mum of two who clearly got very offended very fast when I asked her if I could.

I think my answer was something like “We’ll just do it the old fashioned way, then.”

I don’t know why they introduced contactless cards, I mean, I do – it’s for the reasons above about quicker and less painful interactions with strangers. But what kind of person thinks “You know what takes far too much hassle? Pressing them four keys when you’re paying for something. I’m getting RSI from it, I swear, Dave.” So then they invested a fuck tonne of money so you just wave your card in the general vicinity and it pays for everything. I’m sure it comes with security issues, one guy said to me “The thing I don’t get about contactless is ‘how do you know it’s me’?” Which is a fair point, but I wouldn’t know that you were “Mr F Simmons” is even if you knew the four digits that the card machine required you to know.

And now you can pay with your phone too, although nobody’s tried that with me yet. Technology’s great.

Until tomorrow, I’m waiting for the day when someone just places the machine to their forehead and it takes the payment.



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