Those Chip Readers

Anybody else driven mad by the weirdness of the chip readers at stores across this fine continent?  When it comes time to tender your payment, you bust out your credit/debt card with the snazzy and ultra secure chip built in and then freeze — to chip or to swipe?  The chip reader slots are often out of my view as a tall person, so I end up feeling around like some kind of doctor to robots as I reach under the reader to examine for the right place.  How…rude.

Meanwhile the screen on the card reader is asking for money.  Lights blink and your stuff is bagged yet there you are — trying without success to jam the card into the thing.  After a few failures in many stores, I’ve started breaking the tension by asking the cashier a simple question: are we chippin’ or slidin’ today?

“Are we chippin’ or slidin’ today?”

So I chip and it works — like 60% of the time.  Or I slide and it works, but then it doesn’t work, and I try the chip.  And then the cashier tries the chip, muttering about these things not working.  The tension builds in the growing line behind me as I seriously consider becoming the kind of guy who carries around a wad of cabbage for day to day spending.  It’s just that most stores don’t take cabbage, except for your Canadian Farmer’s Markets, and that’s when they get you with the exchange rate.  What in the world is Bok Choy?

Am I alone in my struggles?  I dunno.  It seems like the thing that’s supposed to work isn’t working.  Things that are designed to work are supposed to work.  Why doesn’t this work?


I propose that we go back to the old credit card FWIP FWIP machine.  Remember what I’m talking about?  With the triplicate carbon papers and the raised card numbers to make a crude imprint from your “Bank Card”?  Here’s a picture:

Rusted from ambient moisture, yellowed from the sun, and incredibly reliable.

So maybe this isn’t a good idea, but it worked and we liked it that way.  Okay, so maybe we didn’t like it that way.  In fact, maybe I’m too spoiled by convenience to appreciate the wonder of money changing hands without me ever touching cabbage.  Or those filthy dollar bills.  Like they’ve been saying at Yahoo: “I bet we’ll have it all figured out a year from now.”

I bet we’ll have it all figured out a year from now   – Yahoo!


Ah, the price we pay… to make it easier to pay.  Not such a big problem after all, but a nice distraction in these days.  I’ll just take another sip of this Sumatra blend and call it a day.

At least coffee still works right.

About radamdavidson

When I'm not blogging, I'm hanging out with my family, pastoring a church, or listening to vinyl. I think and write about Jesus, music, communication, organizational leadership, family whatnot, and cultural artifacts from the 1980's -- mostly vintage boomboxes. You can read my blog at, watch [RadCast], a daily 3 minute video devotional, or find me on socials (@radamdavidson). I also help Pastors in their preaching and public speaking (
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