“But my card’s chip and pin, what do I do?”

So, I’m at work and the chip and pin machine decides to stop working… after phoning the tech guys we thought it was sorted but no sooner had I called them to say it was working it stopped working! So, I did what I normally do when things stop working… unplugged it and counted to 10… plugged it back in and hey presto it works; for a while at least, I do the same thing about 4 times during the afternoon and then it just will not work at all. So, I make a pretty little sign that says “chip and pin not working, sorry for any inconvenience”.

Now, I actually expect people to realise that you can still pay by card… I mean had you not been able to pay by card I would have put up a sign saying “sorry no cards” or “cash only”.

I get a few customers who say “oh, can I pay in the other booth by card”… er yes but you can also pay me with your card, I just swipe it!!!

The best one of the afternoon was a man – late 20s possibly early 30s – he hands me his card, I swipe it and the piece of paper comes out of the printer for him to sign, I attach it to the little clipboard’s we have and pass him the clipboard/pen… he looks at me with a blank look on his face and says “but my cards chip and pin”, so I say “yes but my chip and pin machine isn’t working” (silently screaming “read the damned sign in the window infront of your face!!!!!”) and he says “but… but I don’t know what to do”. Oh my God, are you serious? I’ve just handed you a piece of paper and a pen with a line for signing… have you never paid by card and signed? I of course didn’t say this, I said “erm you need to sign”… he spends about another minute looking blankly at me and the paper and the pen… and, eventually realises neither will bite him and hey presto he signs the piece of paper!

I worry… a lot… it’s pretty much incomprehensible that anyone paying by card has never signed instead of chip and pin – I mean chip and pin hasn’t been around for that long in the UK anyway! What makes some of these situations worse is that these people are behind the wheel of a vehicle… am I just being daft?

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